Why our finalists entered #WRA23

Posted 2023

There are lots of reasons to take part in the Women’s Recognition Awards – both as an entrant and in nominating someone else. We asked our finalists what made them enter or submit an application – and the answers show a real desire for women to be seen for their achievements, as well as plenty of support from peers and colleagues.

Suzanne Latimer – Woman in Later Life Lending finalist

I entered the awards to showcase the strong women we have in Pure Retirement as I wouldn't be where I am without a lot of them. This is also the only awards for women in the industry and I want Pure and lifetime mortgages to be showcased!

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

It offers a great platform to raise the profile of women in finance. Together, being unified and collective, we can change the world of finance!

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

My colleague Jessica Ayres put my name forward - it’s not something I’d think to do myself, but she actually stood over me to make sure I put the application in, so thank you Jessica.

Fran Green, more2life – Woman in Later Life Lending finalist

The later life lending market is one that continues to have an under-representation of women. I've been in financial services for 30 years and have seen equality evolve significantly but the later life lending market isn't where it should be and I wanted to support this platform in recognizing women's places in it and hopefully to encourage others to join.

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

I think so many of us work tirelessly everyday to make a difference and think by putting yourself forward, it shows others that they too should shout to the rooftops about their achievements as every step we make together makes big differences to our community and customers. We should be super proud of caring and making a difference.

Vikki Jefferies, Primis – Woman in Management finalist

These awards have real kudos and make a genuine impact for women in our industry. Recognition of how far we have come in equality is really evident in these awards, and that is something very important to me personally.

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

I received several nominations and submitted my application as a result because I feel that the work I do and my passion for this industry meant that I deserved a chance to be recognised.

Giovanna Streatfield, Fleet Mortgages – BDM of the Year finalist

I was nominated and I thought long and hard about it and to me, it’s not about winning (although that would be great!): it’s about being recognised as an influential woman on our industry; someone women can look up to and reach out to for support and guidance if needed.

Claire Smith, Mortgage Advice Bureau – Woman in Management finalist

I wanted to share our story so that other businesses could learn from what we have achieved, the journey we have been on and see the impact we have had on our colleagues and our business.

Emma Barker, Together Money – Underwriter of the Year finalist

I received a few nominations - if people think I deserved to be nominated I had to put myself forward.

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 has been a challenging and personally stretching last year and I felt that along with taking over a new portfolio and growing this in a really positive way along with the work that I had done around the Barclays Mortgage Insider Podcast and support I have been giving around a Learning and Development pillar made me a strong candidate this year.

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

I was nominated by management at Fluent Money, which was a nice surprise!

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

I entered because I was nominated by others but I wanted to go through with it to be ap art of an organisation highlighting woman in the industry and their significant achievements.

Joanne Legg, Protection Guru – Woman in Protection finalist

I was nominated by several mortgage advisers. This award is an award I feel so passionately about recognising woman in an industry that historically was male orientated. It’s a fantastic opportunity to recognise the fantastic female talent within the industry and admire it.

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

Our industry has always been very male dominant, so to be able to recognise the amazing efforts of talented women in our industry is just wonderful. I want to show the younger generation of female brokers that they too can take the jump from broker to principal and potentially have their own firm also, and the WRAs are a fantastic platform to do this on.

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

I keep telling other women to apply and be proud of their achievements but I haven't practiced what I preach so this year I took some of my own advice.

Rosie Lyon, Allied Irish Bank UK – Rising Star finalist

I entered the #WRA23 as I saw it advertised on LinkedIn. I felt if I was to get to the finals, that the platform would help showcase my work and my passion in the sector.

Michelle Gardner, HBSC – BDM of the Year finalist

I've been a BDM for 7 short years - I love what I do and I'm part of a team who do all they can to give great service - to be in with a chance of winning this award would be recognition for all our efforts

Samantha Williamson, Roma Finance – Underwriter of the Year finalist

Someone nominated me - I've no idea who but thank you, whoever you are!

Valeria Quintana Barbella, Fiduciam – Underwriter of the Year finalist

I usually don't like to talk about my achievements as I'm always working to better myself. However, this time, my company encouraged me to throw my name into the hat. It felt quite nice to have that external validation that you're doing things well and adding value to the team!

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

I was researching the topic of 'women in the financial services industry' for a presentation to school children, as part of an initiative I am working on with the Girls Learning Trust, and the WRA23 website came up. I was intrigued, and with the knowledge that we need to raise the profile of being an independent financial advisor as a career for women, decided to enter.

I also nominated two colleagues who now also find themselves finalists. I like to push and try different methods of raising women's profile in the industry and if that means effort and taking risk on my part then so be it. I didn't expect to be a finalist.

Emily Gestetner, Enra Specialist Finance - Woman in Management finalist

As someone who actively promotes training and development with our organisation, we believe these awards send the right message for the next generation of young females in our industry.

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

I am keen to raise my profile in the media and in the financial services industry, in general, to ensure that my business can appeal to a wider range of clients – I am well known in my local community for my work as an experienced mortgage adviser, but we can serve clients all over the UK, and I'm keen to become more widely known geographically so that we can help more people.

I also believe it is important to embrace and support initiatives and awards events that empower women. I have previously participated in online webinars aimed at women talking about how to be successful in business and exploring strategies that can be effective for business growth. I would like to inspire other women to achieve their goals and live their best lives.

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

I was nominated by a colleague who encouraged me to enter. I truly believe that women make excellent advisers and I have enjoyed seeing more and more women in the industry. However, there is still progress to be made and I want to be involved in driving that change. Events like this are really important in this process.

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

I entered the awards because I wanted my accomplishments, contributions, and efforts to be recognized and appreciated by others. I believed that my hard work and dedication deserved acknowledgment, and I sought validation for the impact I've made in my field. Additionally, the opportunity to be recognized alongside other exceptional women and serve as a role model has motivated me to participate in the awards.

Overall, I saw the awards as a platform to showcase my achievements and inspire others while striving for continued success and making a meaningful difference.

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

I have been committed to the industry for almost 30 years so why not put myself forward for such as prestigious award!

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

I decided to participate in this award because my goal is to advocate for change that benefits both clients and industry professionals. I strongly believe that equity release is not merely a financial solution but a powerful tool capable of enhancing lives and providing opportunities for a brighter future. Through raising awareness and reshaping perceptions, my dedication lies in transforming equity release into an empowering option rather than a product of last resort. I am determined to drive a shift in attitudes within the industry and among customers, unlocking the true potential of equity release and revolutionising retirement planning.

My firm conviction is that by promoting a more positive and accurate understanding of equity release, I can empower individuals to make well-informed choices regarding their financial well-being in later stages of life. My passion for this cause knows no bounds, and my hope in entering this award is to inspire more people to share the same vision. Together, we can create positive change and foster a future where equity release is embraced as a valuable resource for securing a fulfilling and financially sound retirement.

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

I was nominated and that was a real privilege and honour.

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

Since I have committed to be a protection adviser, I am working really hard to financially protect the families I talk with. With this job, I have found my true meaning in life, a reason to become the best I can be, the way to channel my genial interest to help others into action. I am proud for the job I am doing and believe I entered the WRA23 because I am doing an exceptional job on my field of work.

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

There are so many great woman in our industry. Women I've looked up to and been inspired by for many years so to have the opportunity to be part of an event that celebrates those woman, I had no hesitation in submitting an entry. I had nothing to lose! To then be listed as a finalist amongst all those amazing women is incredible.

Laura Smith, One Mortgage System – Rising Star finalist

As a woman in business, I am deeply passionate about empowering other women to succeed and advocate for gender equality in the workplace. I firmly believe that by uplifting and supporting women, we can create a more inclusive and diverse business environment and these awards do an amazing job of supporting that.

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

As a women from a minority group, my aim is to encourage more people in financial services and beyond, to understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion and to do the work in their organisations to make a difference. By being shortlisted and by winning (which would be amazing), I would have the opportunity to influence even more people and to get more organisations to create inclusive workplace environments.

Niki Cooke, Protection Guru – Woman in Protection finalist

I am passionate about lobbying for positive changes in the industry for subjects such as menopause. And want to share with the industry that we can all accomplish so many great things together.

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

I was unexpectedly nominated by a peer and felt incredibly honoured and overjoyed by the recognition. Being acknowledged as an advocate for Women in the Mortgage Industry is something to be really proud of, and I wanted to use this opportunity to encourage others to break barriers and pave the way for greater gender diversity and inclusion in the field.