Detail your approach to thought leadership and how it influences your industry and/or organisation.
Unique guidance: Many women in this industry often perceive entry into the property market or the mortgage broking field as a daunting challenge or even an impossibility. My objective is to equip them with the necessary tools and guidance so that their dream can become a reality. My aspiration has never been to function solely as a transactional broker within this industry. Instead, I set out to instigate transformation by emphasising customer service, education, and inspiration. I’ve assumed leadership roles in specialised niches, specifically targeting people with financial uncertainties. My aim isn’t to dictate how things should be done; rather, I’m dedicated to illustrating the precise steps for accomplishing their goals.
Inspire and influence: I have set about changing the stereotypical approach to the finance industry with a softer approach to Cherry Lending & Finance. When I entered this career, I was aware of its heavily male-dominated nature. At that time, only 10% of mortgage brokers were female. Although there has been progress, with the percentage rising to around 25%, it is still far from ideal. With my company, Cherry Lending & Finance, I aimed to demonstrate that this industry is inclusive and welcomes everyone. I wanted to prove to everyone that women can thrive in this business just as much as men can. In a bid to counter the industry’s historically stern approach, I adopted a more delicate approach to branding, infusing a playful essence into my company’s name and logo. My overarching intention was to ignite inspiration and reshape the broader perception of this industry.
Through my other business, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, I want to influence and inspire women to excel in their business. I want to show them how important it is to network, and funnel opportunities into their business. It is through thought leadership that I continue to expand, grow, and improve my business.
Highlight the initiatives you have developed in your organisation, detailing the success of these initiatives.
Diverging from the commonplace emphasis on relentless hustle within the industry, my focus pivots toward education, a principle anchored in my firm belief that knowledge holds transformative power. To that end, I’ve crafted two comprehensive guides tailored to assist individuals facing unique circumstances. The first, a First Home Buyers Guide, stands as a resource for clients venturing into the complexities of their initial home purchase. The second, an Emergency Service Worker Buying Guide, is designed to offer support and insights for those dedicated to emergency services, aiding them in navigating the intricacies of securing financing. I offer these resources and accompanying fact sheets free of charge, as part of my commitment to providing informative and educational content.
Moreover, my commitment to empowering women is evident through my involvement with my other company, Girls Just Want To Have Fun. This platform is not merely a business venture but a testament to my dedication to fostering female confidence and inspiring them to pursue their goals in life. By providing a supportive environment and offering resources and guidance, I empower women to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential. I want them to know that they, too, can become a mortgage broker, and that this job isn’t only for men.
I have now also come into a partnership with Emergency Services Property Advisers (ESPA), who provide free property advocacy services to Victorian emergency service workers & their families, and I’m excited to see where this opportunity and collaboration takes me.
What has been your biggest success?
This year marked a significant milestone as I secured ownership of my own office. This achievement holds importance for a small business owner with only six years in the field, and it’s a source of immense pride for me. Equally gratifying is the recognition I’ve received as an emerging industry authority across various domains. Transitioning from a position of relative success, I’ve evolved into a figure whom others look up to, particularly within the realm of female brokerage.
I’ve achieved significant milestones that I am incredibly proud of. These include participating in the ‘Empower Series’ webinars for female Connective brokers, engaging in the ‘Emerging Leaders’ program, being a guest on podcasts like ‘The Adviser’s Elite Broker’ and ‘Building Doors,’ and receiving recognition as one of MPA’s Elite Women of 2023, all of which show my active involvement and dedication in the industry.
I am pleased to say that I have managed to build a sustainable business that’s continuing to grow, without having to sacrifice my ethics. This is a business that has seen substantial growth over the years, has continued to expand and evolve, and has become a pillar of strength for many people.
Demonstrate the tactics and strategies used to positively shape the culture of your industry and/or organisation.
When I entered this career, I was aware of its heavily male-dominated nature. At that time, only 10% of mortgage brokers were female. Although there has been progress, with the percentage rising to around 25%, it is still far from ideal. With my company, Cherry Lending & Finance, I aimed to demonstrate that this industry is inclusive and welcomes everyone. I wanted to prove to everyone that women can thrive in this business just as much as men can. To challenge the industry’s traditionally harsh image, I took a softer approach to branding, infusing a playful touch into my name and logo. My intention was to inspire others and reshape the perception of the industry. I want to be a catalyst for change.
By launching Girls Just Want To Have Fun, to work alongside Cherry Lending & Finance, I have given many females a voice, and the opportunity to see their worth. There is a pressing concern within the broking industry regarding the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, and I am pleased to be a catalyst for the change I wish to see. Given the industry’s current male-dominated landscape, I am actively engaged in efforts to increase female participation. I have been actively involved in the ‘Empower Series’ webinars for female Connective brokers, and I have been a part of the ‘Emerging Leaders’ program – both giving me a platform to positively shape the culture of my industry.
To address this issue, my strategy involves consistently providing encouragement and support, and serving as a role model for aspiring women professionals. I am dedicated to fostering inclusivity through my involvement in both Cherry Lending & Finance and Girls Just Want To Have Fun, where I strive to educate and empower as many women as possible. Through these ventures, my goal is to enable women to attain financial freedom and find personal motivation. I am deeply involved with Connective, actively collaborating to onboard new female brokers into the field while also providing inspiration and support to those who are already a part of the industry.
Describe how you inspire and motivate people in your workplace and your contribution to the development of the community.
The workplace isn’t just confined to the walls of my office. To me, it’s broader than that. My workplace includes my clients, and the community of women who look to me for inspiration and education. I have been actively involved in the ‘Empower Series’ webinars for female Connective brokers, and I have been a part of the ‘Emerging Leaders’ program. Along with this, I have been a guest on podcasts, and have actively engaged in the community. I believe strongly in the power of collaboration, and as much as I give to other people, they give me just as much back.
Furthermore, giving back to the community is a core principle that guides my business endeavours. I am proud to have organised an International Women’s Day event through Girls Just Want To Have Fun, which resulted in raising $2,200 for Safe Haven Community. This event, designed to celebrate professional women and female founders, exemplifies my dedication to empowering women and supporting their journey towards achieving their full potential.
Through both Cherry Lending & Finance and Girls Just Want To Have Fun, my mission remains unwavering: to assist women in attaining financial freedom and personal motivation. These examples serve as a testament to my thought leadership, as I consistently translate my vision into actionable initiatives.
Highlight any innovation attributable to you and how it has impacted your organisation.
I believe in always thinking creatively and finding new ways to innovate and grow. When I started in the industry, I was well-aware of the stigma attached to it, but I was determined not to let that stop me from being an amazing mortgage broker. I was concerned that so many people didn’t feel they would ever be in the position to own a home, and instead of focusing on those who were financially ready for it, I took it upon myself to educate and empower those who were struggling. I personally have had to fight my way to the top, so I was fully aware of the power that education, innovation, and a ‘never give up’ attitude can have.
Once I established this part of my business, I knew I couldn’t get complacent, which is why I had to keep finding innovative ways to stay ahead.
With my other venture, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, I organised an amazing event that brought together sixty incredible women. Many of them were new to me, but through this event, I gained new clients and leads, and formed a community around these women. This has led to growth in my Cherry Lending & Finance business and has established me as an expert and leader in the industry.
Being a self-employed female business owner in a male-dominated field, I’m showing these women that anything is achievable with the right approach.
Detail one major obstacle you have overcome, and how your leadership ensured a favourable outcome.
There is a pressing concern within the broking industry regarding the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, and this is something I have always wanted to change. Given the industry’s current male-dominated landscape, I am actively engaged in efforts to increase female participation.
To address this issue, my strategy involves consistently providing encouragement and support, and serving as a role model for aspiring women professionals. I am dedicated to fostering inclusivity through my involvement in both Cherry Lending & Finance, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, and Connective, where I strive to educate and empower as many women as possible. Through these ventures, my ultimate goal is to enable women to attain financial freedom and find personal motivation.
Furthermore, I have capitalised on this opportunity by attracting more clients through my distinctive approach. By incorporating a nurturing perspective into my business practices, I deliver exceptional customer support, and kindness, and inject an element of fun into an industry that is often perceived as monotonous and uninspiring.
Demonstrate how you have been recognised as a leader in the industry. Have you participated in talks? Have you been invited to speak? Have you been quoted as a person of note within the financial industry?
As a woman of influence I have achieved a lot with Cherry Lending & Finance and, in a short space of time, I’m proud to say I have been the finalist for the following awards:
- Entrepreneur of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2022.
- Thought leader of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2022.
- Marketing professional of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2022.
- Empowerment award, Connective Excellence Awards 2022.
- Mortgage and finance broker of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2021.
- Entrepreneur of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2021.
- Rising star, The Adviser Australian Broking Awards 2021.
- Customer service individual award, MFAA Excellence Awards 2021.
- Rising star, Better Business Awards 2021.
- Best customer service (individual), Better Business Awards 2021.
- Customer service individual award, MFAA Excellence Awards 2020.
- Marketing professional of the year, Women in Finance Awards 2020.
- MPA, Elite Women, 2023
Along with these awards, I have also been lucky enough to be featured on the following podcasts to mostly talk about my passion for mortgage broking and the importance of empowering women to take control of their finances:
- The Creative Collective
- Kickass Radio
- Elite Broker
- The Dynamic Leader
- Building Doors
More recently I have been asked to speak on webinars as part of the ‘Empowerment Series’ for female brokers with Connective, and have also been chosen as one of their top brokers to be a part of their ‘Emerging Leaders Program’.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to be seen as a thought leader in many avenues, and I have been able to access a wide range of opportunities through awards, podcasts, Connective, and the Emerging Leaders Program, and have even been asked to be an MC at events. I am incredibly proud of myself and believe that Cherry Lending & Finance is going places.