International Women’s Day 2022

Mar 8, 2022Press Release

International Women’s Day 2022

Anna Bennett, Marketing Director at Catalyst Property Finance
So, what’s it like to be a woman in specialist lending? Having held marketing positions in five specialist lending companies over the past 22 years, I have a good understanding of the benefits and challenges this sector presents to its female cohort.

Specialist lending remains undeniably male dominated; particularly the more senior roles, women are simply fewer in number andthat’s a shame. While I’m delighted to see the balance shifting towards an equal footing, more can be done to create an achievable working framework for women in finance. Improvements are needed to attract women to work in specialist lending and,particularly,to support career progression alongsideany family and caring responsibilities, through menopause and beyond.

Have I encountered the ‘Old Boy’s Club’ and ‘Locker Room Banter’? Yes! But I am quick to speak up and have my voice heard when needed. Being raised alongside two much older brothers was great preparation for sitting in a boardroom debateand knowing myopinions deserve equal attention to my male colleagues.And as long as the intention is good, I love a bit of office banter, it was one of the things I missed most during the pandemic.

If I were to give advice to women starting out in the sector, I would say to believe in yourself, speak up, put yourself forward and if you don’t feel respected, make a move.As in any industry, it’s vital to find a good team to work with and a supportive culture. I also suggest finding a mentor, I’ve had a few over the years, female and male, who have increased my specialist lending and marketing knowledge, shaping my ability to do my job better.

Personally, I have felt incredibly supported by the businesses I have worked with, all havetreated me equally and, over the last 13 years, all have offered me flexibility as a working parent.I thoroughly enjoy my career in specialist lending. At Catalyst, it’s creative, challenging, ever evolving, and rewarding. This is a great sector for the next generation of women to enter, we just need to make sure the framework is in place for them to fully thrive.