How it feels to be a #WRA23 finalist

Posted 2023

We’re thrilled to have unveiled our Women’s Recognition Awards finalists for 2023 – and what an incredible selection of women and businesses they are. We asked this year’s finalists how it feels to have made it to the final five in their category – here’s what some of them had to say...

Suzanne Latimer – Woman in Later Life Lending finalist

This is my third time being a finalist and it doesn’t get any less exciting! I am really proud to be named alongside other respected women in the finance industry.

Nicola Crosbie, Moran Wealth Management – Financial Adviser of the Year & Later Life Adviser of the Year finalist


Danielle Panteli, Timothy James & partners – Mortgage Adviser of the Year finalist

I’m shocked! I’ve never entered into any kind of award before, and didn't think I had a chance of making it as a finalist. I’m really proud to have been chosen - there are lots of amazing women doing great things in our industry.

Fran Green, more2life – Woman in Later Life Lending finalist

Humbling. There are some great women in our sector and to be called out to be amongst some of the best is a true honour.

Caroline Mirakian, United Trust Bank – Woman in Specialist Lending finalist

I am lost for words and hugely proud to have been shortlisted amongst hugely talented ladies who work hard every day to help our intermediary community meet customers aspirations whether to have a home or attain a home to rent. I'm so proud to be part of making a difference.

Collette Allen, SmartSearch – Woman in Fintech finalist

It’s a great feeling, and I have to give a shout out to the SmartSearch team which includes the amazing women I work with. I wouldn’t be in this position without their hard work and support. I feel very grateful to be shortlisted as I know there are lots of other brilliant businesswomen across our sector.

Vikki Jefferies, Primis – Woman in Management finalist

It feels so great. When you read through the names on each shortlist it’s a genuine honour to be part of this group. Such talent in our industry and it feels good to be part of that.

Emma Roberts, Connect for Intermediaries – Woman in the Mortgage Industry finalist

Absolutely phenomenal! It is such a big category and I am truly honoured to have been selected as a finalist alongside these other amazing women. I am sure the competition was tough so I am delighted.

Giovanna Streatfield, Fleet Mortgages – BDM of the Year finalist

It feels amazing to have become a finalist. I am looking forward to sharing the evening with all these incredible women.

Claire Smith, Mortgage Advice Bureau – Woman in Management finalist

I am feeling absolutely brilliant, shocked and humbled. As a newbie(ish) to the financial services world I cannot believe I have been recognised and listed in the same category as the other amazing women who have made it through.

Emma Barker, Together Money – Underwriter of the Year finalist

I am delighted to be shortlisted: knowing how many amazing women there are in his industry, being shortlisted is an honour.

Gemma Bennett, The Mortgage Mum – Mortgage Adviser of the Year finalist

These awards are so important, recognising women in this industry is powerful. To have the shortlist amounts so many incredible women in mortgages, feels a real honour. I’m humbled and very excited for the event!

Claire MacPhail, Barclays – BDM of the Year finalist

It feels a real honour and a fantastic achievement, it makes all the hard work both with brokers and internally worthwhile.

Emma Foster, Fluent Money – Protection Adviser of the Year finalist

This is an amazing feeling and was shocked to be selected as a finalist I never thought this would ever happen. Thank you!

Victoria Clark, The Later Life Lending Network – Woman in Later Life Lending finalist

I am very honoured to be a finalist in the Woman in Later Life Lending category, mostly due to the amazing names in the category and proud to be up there with them!

Joanne Legg, Protection Guru – Woman in Protection finalist

Absolutely ecstatic - this is what dreams are made of! It’s the only award I’ve ever wanted to be nominated for - to be a finalist, well, I’m speechless… which is a first!

Gemma Cuff, Gemstone Mortgages – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Best Customer Support finalist

It feels so wonderful to even be nominated, let alone for us to be a finalist. For my team to be recognised for their amazing hard work just means the world.

Christine Newell, Paradigm Mortgage Services – Woman in the Mortgage Industry finalist

Extremely proud and delighted to have put my inhibitions aside and applied and made the shortlist.

Rosie Lyon, Allied Irish Bank UK – Rising Star finalist

I am honoured to be a finalist and recognised for all the work that I do. It’s things like this that gives me the motivation to keep going to bring further change in the banking sector.

Michelle Gardner, HBSC – BDM of the Year finalist

I am absolutely delighted to be a finalist in this year's Financial Reporter Women's Recognition Awards. Being recognised for making a difference in our industry, is really exciting and I feel privileged, just to have made it to the finalists!

Samantha Williamson, Roma Finance – Underwriter of the Year finalist

Amazing! And quite humbling to receive such lovely borrower and colleague feedback.

Valeria Quintana Barbella, Fiduciam – Underwriter of the Year finalist

It's a great honour to be recognised and be featured with other excellent candidates in my category and the others. I'm very excited to share with all of them in the upcoming ceremony and be inspired by their track record and stories!

Jessica Ayres, Timothy James & Partners - Financial Adviser of the Year finalist

I am absolutely thrilled and surprised - and I'm excited to attend the event and be in a room filled with women from our industry.

Emily Gestetner, Enra Specialist Finance - Woman in Management finalist

We believe the Women's Recognition Awards support diversity and inclusion in the industry and it is an honour to be nominated to represent our business and help drive awareness.

Monica Bradley, MB Associates - Mortgage Adviser of the Year finalist

I know these are prestigious awards, so it's wonderful to be shortlisted and recognised in these women's awards in what is traditionally seen as a male-dominated industry. I have worked very hard in my sector over the past 30 years and it feels very rewarding to be recognised.

Angela Jarvis, Timothy James & Partners - Later Life Adviser of the Year finalist

I feel really honoured to be a finalist, it really wasn't expected. I had to be encouraged to enter by Jessica who nominated me and I am so glad I did! I love what I do and to be recognised for simply doing what I am passionate about it such a great feeling.

Shina Rathod, LV= GI - Marketer of the Year finalist

Being acknowledged as a finalist in the Women's Recognition Awards evokes a blend of emotions, including pride, excitement, and validation. This recognition signifies that my achievements, contributions, and hard work have been acknowledged and appreciated by others within the field and community.

It serves as evidence that my dedication and impact have been recognized. Moreover, being a finalist fills me with a sense of honour and inspiration as I become part of an exceptional group of women who have made a significant difference in our respective fields.

This recognition serves as a powerful motivator to continue my pursuit of excellence, push boundaries, and act as a role model for others. All in all, being a finalist in the Women's Recognition Awards is an immensely gratifying and uplifting experience, empowering me to persist in my quest for success and to continue making a meaningful impact.

Sara Palmer, The Mortgage Lender – Woman in the Mortgage Industry finalist

It makes me feel very proud to be recognised amongst such talented women in the industry I love.

Hayley Larham, Age Partnership – Later Life Adviser of the Year finalist

I am absolutely elated to become a finalist for the Later Life Advisor of the Year award. It is genuinely a real honour to be acknowledged alongside such incredibly talented women, I am overwhelmed with a sense of great pride for this recognition.

Sarah Tinkler, Clever Mortgages – Mortgage Adviser of the Year finalist

It really is amazing, I am truly honoured to be a finalist there are many incredible women in our industry and it is great to be recongnised.

Evdoxia Spyridopolou, Financial Expert Independent – Protection Adviser of the Year finalist

I was so surprised to be in the finalist list! This was my second year of participating in WRAs and didn't expect this. It was such an overwhelming joy for me to be in the finalists. I am deeply honoured and feel amazing to be among other hardworking and inspiring women!

Lisa Stone, Mortgage 1st – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Best Leadership finalists

Imposter syndrome! The fact that my name is listed as a finalist alongside some of the finest women in our industry doesn't seem real! Its the most amazing feeling!

Laura Smith, One Mortgage System – Rising Star finalist

It feels amazing to be a finalist! I am honoured to be recognised in a category along side these inspiring women.

Alex Upton, Hampshire Trust Bank – Spokesperson of the Year finalist

Three words, "A, MAZE, ZING!". Especially when you look at previous winners and other finalists. I am over the moon.

Atlyn Forde, Pepper Money – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: best Leadership finalist

I feel it is important to showcase the work that individuals are doing to make a positive difference in their organisations, but also in the industry as a whole. Being shortlisted makes me feel even more driven to continue creating awareness of DEI themes, sharing resources and best practice that has worked for me, so even more marginalised and under represented groups join the industry, are treated fairly and feel a sense of belonging.

Niki Cooke, Protection Guru – Woman in Protection finalist

I am completely humbled and overwhelmed at this amazing news! So many incredible women in the industry all striving for positive change, and I am honoured to be recognised as one of them.

Clare White, Hinckley & Rugby BS – Woman in the Mortgage Industry finalist

Being a 2023 Women's Recognition Awards finalist is a real honour. This recognition not only celebrates my individual accomplishments but also highlights the importance of gender equality and encourages more women to break barriers and strive for excellence. Being a finalist also reminds me of the support and encouragement I have received from mentors, colleagues, and loved ones, and is a testament to the power of collaboration and the collective effort required to drive positive change. I am grateful for the recognition and motivated to continue making a positive impact.