4 women growing businesses and careers in a pandemic
Meet four inspiring ladies of mortgage broking. We’ve been blown away and utterly inspired by their response to COVID-19, and how they’ve pressed on to make the most of this year, despite its setbacks.
Holly Bundy, owner of Bundy Financial Services
Like most brokerages in Victoria, Bundy Financial Services found itself flat out in the wake of the first pandemic lockdown this year.
“We were inundated with client calls and emails and had to be very proactive to make sure our clients knew what help and support was available to them,” Holly Bundy, owner of the business, said.
We’ve watched Holly go from strength to strength in 2020. She’s had her work cut out for her managing her existing team’s needs during this trying time, while also engaging Platinum People Group to help hire new team members to meet client demand.
“More so than ever, we’ve had to check in with our staff and make sure they weren’t experiencing ‘COVID burnout’,” she said. “Many of our staff – including myself – have needed some time out due to the stress of isolation and working from home.”
This concern for people’s welfare has made Bundy Financial an employer of choice in 2020, which will no doubt extend into the future as ‘work from home’ becomes a serious consideration for the team.
Holly was surprised at how adaptive her business was to remote working needs.
“I would have never considered the idea of letting my staff work from home and we now know that as a business it works!” she said. “This might result in more work life balance in the new year for our staff, with the opportunity to work from home.”
She’s positive about the future: “The next 12 months will be about making sure we keep working on our processes. If we keep up the same behaviours every day we will continue to grow as a business, allowing us to add more staff to our team.”
Wendy Di Giovanni, owner of CDG Finance
We’ve been impressed at how Wendy, owner of CDG Finance, has focused on growing her business and just found a way to make things work during this pandemic. All the while, she’s gained some interesting insights into how the industry works under pressure.
“Broker support services have all had to relocate to a home based model, resulting in huge delays and in some cases a complete inability to access the information we need,” she said. “I’ve found the inability to access information really difficult, particularly when a lot of what we do is very time sensitive.”
But despite the challenges it’s posed for brokers, Wendy has found comfort in certain amazing support people.
“I continue to come across really remarkable individuals who humanise the process and make our working lives more bearable,” she said. “At the end of the day, this pandemic threw us all into one giant chaotic boat and sent us out to sea – I’d want those individuals in my boat!”
Wendy noted the strange timing of the pandemic.
“The irony of this pandemic relative to our industry,” she explained, “is that on one hand we have access to rates that are virtually unprecedented, and along with that the opportunity to facilitate some really competitive mortgages. On the other, we are dealing with adversely affected clients and a real estate industry both forced into a perpetual holding pattern with no real certainty about the outcome.”
In the wake of COVID-19, Wendy is positive about the future.
“Our ultimate objective is to relieve ourselves of the administrative tasks within the business and spend more time F2F with our clients, listening to their needs and really understanding and appreciating their objectives. We also want to focus on fostering new business opportunities to utilise and share the wealth of knowledge gathered over the last 2 decades. As business owners, we appreciate and implicitly understand how a small business operates – and have first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations that go with the territory. It requires a lot of discipline but in turn, provides a certain freedom one doesn’t have working for someone else.”
Eva Loisance, Senior Mortgage Broker at Finni Mortgages
Making a career leap in the midst of an uncertain time didn’t scare Eva. She’s pushed herself to advance and grow her career during COVID-19, and it’s been a pleasure to watch this driven and successful woman make the most of opportunities in 2020.
One of the biggest surprises for her this year has been the increase in workload.
“When the pandemic first started, I thought we would struggle getting business, and that overall revenue would decrease,” she said. “I was probably influenced by the media and the uncertainty. I thought buying a house or investment wouldn’t be a priority for people. However it was quite the opposite!”
Eva and her team at Finni Mortgages have risen to the challenge and evolved to meet changing client needs.
“We had to adapt to manage a large volume of enquiries for astute investors seeing opportunities to invest, as well as a new type of customer for me: financial distress and existing customers that needed help with their current lending due to job loss or tenants no longer being able to pay rent. I also saw first home buyers trying to secure their spot in the property market motivated by the new grants available.”
How has she stayed positive during this time?
“I had to remain confident in what our industry can do and achieve, while remembering that great opportunities exist in crisis for those who look,” Eva told us. “Looking past what we are being fed by the media was essential for me.”
Plus, she’s taken away some great learnings from this whole situation.
“Working from home 100% of the time taught me how to communicate better with our teammates and clients,” she said. “I also gained new organisational skills and found new and more efficient ways of dealing with documents and submissions, which have assisted the speed of the work dramatically.”
Perhaps most importantly, Eva learned that “magic happens outside of your comfort zone.”
We love that.
Daisy Stevens, Credit Adviser at Finance Path
Like so many, Daisy has sadly been separated from her family this year due to state border closures.
“I miss them and will very much treasure the opportunity when we can catch up again!” she told us.
Yet Daisy has been supported and lifted up by a different type of ‘family’ throughout this time.
“What’s really gotten me through is my colleagues and my network, including my clients,” she said. “We’ve all been going through the same things and it’s been important to share with one another what we’ve been struggling with.”
She’s tackled the challenges of COVID-19 head-on, keeping very active on social media to keep clients updated, encouraged and inspired. (Go and check out her awesome Instagram feed!)
Daisy admitted that the loss of control and uncertainty has been another challenge for her.
“I like to be in control. I often work in absolutes and yes or no’s!” she said. “Over the last 3–6 months there have been aspects of work life which we haven’t had full control over.
It’s been important to communicate that policy is a changing beast at the moment and so the rules and typical credit criteria that once was defined and definite, just hasn’t been.”
Speed has been crucial: “We’ve let our clients know that if they want to complete a change, the quicker we get it done the quicker we can eliminate the possible change.”
But despite these challenges, this has been an amazing year for Daisy, and we’re so excited to see what her future holds.
“This period has given me so much perspective and love for the job I do each day!” she said. “I want to continue to develop my skills and knowledge so I can continue to foster those relationships with my clients, to understand and achieve their ‘great’.”
2020 has been a challenging year for so many of us. We’re honoured to have been able to work with amazing women like Holly, Wendy, Eva and Daisy who really shine a light on women in finance.
If you’d like support growing your career or business, we’d love to work with you. Reach out for a free consultation with one of our recruitment consultants today.
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