Maria has worked in financial services for more 25 years. She started her career as a mortgage broker at John Charcol and for the past six years has worked in various business development roles for a number lenders. In her role at Fiduciam Maria covers East Anglia, London, Herts and Cambridgeshire.
What brought you into financial services?
I was good with figures and people, having been a waitress whilst at College, and thought I wanted to be an accountant, until I did a work placement… so I became a mortgage broker to combine my skills and never looked back.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
I think a successful leader possesses a clear vision, has integrity, honesty, humility and a clear focus.Good leaders help other people reach their goals.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
Men judging a blonde female…especially when I was younger.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
Never give up on your goals, you will succeed with hard work and determination.
What's your own personal mantra?
Every day is a new challenge, enjoy the challenges.
What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
I work to live, not live to work.I am highly organised so can structure my work in a very proactive way, which helps.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Lead by example.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Lead by example, never say never, and don’t allow the fact you are female stop you doing anything.
What do you think is holding women back?
Nothing apart from themselves.
Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
I think that definite progress is being made, and it’s important that the progress continues, and women continue to strive to break it down.
What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?
To be brutally honest, I am disappointed that in this day and age we actually have the need for this, although I do understand that, unfortunately, we still do.
How do we encourage more women into financial services?
I think the balance is changing as new people join the industry and more females are shining out – I think this will encourage more women.
Companies also have a responsibility to encourage women by recognising the worth of those already working in the industry, promoting more women to management positions and increasing the presence of women at board level.If young women can see there is a chance for progression then it will inspire more to choose a career in financial services.
The gender pay gap is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?
Pay fairly based on experience and knowledge and not on whether the person is male or female.