This week the spotlight is on the women in our business as we celebrate and raise awareness for International Women’s Day (IWD).
When did you join ABN AMRO?
Where did you come from?
Immediately after University I worked in the retail sector for Aldi UK running a number of their northern stores. After five years I decided on a career change and joined RBS Invoice Finance where I remained for the next 10 years. Whilst employed at RBS I was given the one off opportunity to set up a Manchester business accelerator for Entrepreneurial Spark where I worked as an enabler and partnership engineer, supporting and challenging entrepreneurs with a focus on getting them investment ready in order to scale up.
What is your role here at ABN AMRO?
I work as a Business Development Manager (BDM) in the SME mid-market space (structuring deals with funding up to £13m), sourcing new and nurturing existing introducers such as accountants, brokers and Corporate Finance specialists. Once introductions are sent through, I arrange an initial visit with the prospect to understand their funding requirement and business aspirations before structuring an appropriate funding solution from our extensive product suite.
What’s the biggest value-add your role brings to clients?
The most appropriate funding structure isn’t always immediately obvious to a business owner because of the wealth of information, products and funders out there. As the BDM on a deal you are the one main and consistent contact for the prospect right from the initial introductory meeting through to their first drawdown. Switching funders or acquiring a business can be a very stressful time for business owners and having regular contact with one person they can trust and speak to throughout the process is crucial. The win-win outcome is the provision of a credit facility that works for both them and ABN AMRO.
Who do you mainly interact with?
Externally, the job is a very social one with multiple interactions on a daily basis. My preference would be to visit new prospects every day, but in order to do that, I meet up with accountancy firms and their departments, such as restructuring and corporate finance to keep them up to date on any recent deals we have done and where we can look to support their clients. I also deal with a number of independent brokers and alternative funders who we can work alongside to structure an appropriate facility. Internally, the job requires slick communication with most of our internal departments to ensure everyone is working to the same goal, in particular our deal team, legal team and credit.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’m very people orientated and have a genuine interest in getting to know businesses and their owners. When you help them reach their business goals by providing funding with a structure that works it’s very rewarding. I am also yet to find two businesses that operate exactly the same, they each have their ‘quirks’ - it means I learn something new every day which keeps me on my toes!
What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme mean to you?
Business development has historically been a male dominated role and I like to challenge the stereotype of a ‘typical BDM’. Whilst the mix is slowly improving we still have a long way to go. I definitely think having a female on our BD team adds a different perspective, we assess things differently, have different emotions and I think it’s critical you have a mix of these when reviewing internal processes and strategies. It adds up to a more balanced approach to change and innovation which can only be for the better.
Who is a woman you admire and why?
It’s a cliché but I would have to say my mum. She ran her own very successful business throughout my childhood, which instilled in me the importance of having high standards in what you do at all times, alongside a ‘northern grit’ to dig deep and get things done even when times are tough.
Where do you live?
South Manchester in a village called Didsbury, although I grew up in the countryside in Lancashire so have yearnings to live in the Lake District later in life to enjoy the peace, quiet and mountains.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love running and try to fit it in most days; I find it helps to clear my mind of any stress. I’ve also taken up rock climbing, I wanted to try something new and have always loved hiking so it seemed an obvious choice. I’ve signed up to do the national three peaks in July so I hope it helps in some way! On the less healthy side, I love dining out so regularly try and eat at new restaurants.
What is your favourite film?
The Usual Suspects.
What is your favourite kind of meal?
In general it would be Thai, but my favourite dish of all time is Lobster a l’americaine from Paul Bocuse in Lyon.
What was your earliest ambition?
To be a tap dancer. I started very young, won lots of medals and then gave up. I can’t remember exactly why, but I thought ballet was cooler at the time! I still love the sound of tap and keep meaning to start it again, maybe 2019 is the year!