Roz Cawood is Head of Sales for short-term lending at Masthaven Bank and has a wealth of experience in the specialist lending industry. Before joining Masthaven, Roz held roles at Legal & General, LendInvest and Precise.
At Masthaven Roz has played a key role in developing the lender’s bridging and development proposition, helping to drive education around bridging finance and evolve the sector.
What brought you into financial services?
I’ve been working in financial services since I was 18. I was looking for a stable career with good prospects - and I have never regretted my decision to choose financial services as a career.My first role was at a high street bank and I have held various roles within the sector, including time at Legal & General. I joined Masthaven four years ago as it seemed like an exciting and interesting challenger bank, and I’ve absolutely loved my time here.There are lots of exciting opportunities to continue to develop my career too.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
Successful leaders definitely share certain traits. It’s about being inspirational, leading by example and being able to communicate with the team at all different levels, from the most junior members of staff to the board of directors. Good leaders’ value and empower their teams to succeed – and that’s certainly how we try to work at Masthaven.
Women can be great leaders – in my opinion. Female leaders tend to be good communicators, they are good at multi-tasking and can be empathetic, while also being just as decisive and strong as their male counterparts.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
Financial services has traditionally been very male dominated, so, at times, you do have to deal with being the only female in the room, whether at a business meeting or at a social function. This can be quite daunting if you’re not used to it. However, things are changing and there is more diversity within the industry. Companies like Masthaven are making a concerted effort to recruit and retain the best and most diverse talent, to ensure that females within the business are properly supported and encouraged to progress. During my career I have been promoted several times - if you are good at what you do, you will be recognised.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
Always believe in yourself and your own abilities. If you don’t, then no one else will.
What's your own personal mantra?
Treat people as you like to be treated. Never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.
What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
Balancing work and home life can be very tough, especially if you have children. It’s a bonus if you have a supportive partner and family. Finding an employer that promotes work/life balance also really helps – it’s worth finding out about a company’s policies and culture in this area before you join.
Keeping a good work/life mix is about holding things in perspective, not being too hard on yourself, learning to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively. The trick is to learn to switch off so that you don’t take your home issues to work and vice versa.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I read The Five Minute Manager early on in my career and it said to take time every day to say hello to your team. I think that we can all get a little absorbed in our own world at times but making an effort to chat to people (and listening to their responses!) can have a really positive impact.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Make sure you acquire the right skills and apply yourself. Believe in yourself and there’s no reason why you won’t succeed.
What do you think is holding women back?
Lack of confidence and self-doubt are the things that I often see holding women back. If you don’t ask you don’t get - people make assumptions about others all the time so if you don’t tell people that you’re looking to progress then they’ll think you’re happy where you are.
Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
There is a glass ceiling in our industry, but it’s beginning to crack. There are now more women in senior positions within financial services and therefore more role models for younger women which is a positive change.
What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?
It’s a shame that in this day and age that we need a Women in Finance Charter, but it’s great that more firms are breaking down barriers and supporting more and more women into senior roles.
How do we encourage more women into financial services?
More needs to be done to showcase the diversity of roles within financial services of the industry and how it caters to a wide range of skills and knowledge such as marketing, IT, media, strategy, business, finance and sales.We are gradually freeing ourselves form the ‘male-dominated’ stereotype and, with more women in leadership roles, we can show tomorrow’s future female leaders that their ambitions can be fulfilled within the financial services sector.
The gender pay gap in FS is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?
Transparency is the way to solve the gender pay gap in financial services. Pay should be based on job role, the person’s skills, knowledge and ability, rather than whether they are male or female.