In our new, Covid-secure world, the way we do business has changed, but we haven’t. Getting to know our clients and building strong and hopefully long-lasting relationships is still part of our DNA, it’s just a little bit tougher on a Teams call. So, we’re taking the opportunity to introduce, or in some cases, reintroduce, our Commercial Lending team to you.
In part one of our ‘Introducing...’ series, we talk to relationship manager, Jill Woodward, to find out what motivates her and how she can help you.
Jill is a relationship manager for the Commercial Lending department and, in late 2020, she joined our specialist Portfolio Buy-to-Let team. Here, Jill explains what led her into financial services and how she can help you:
How did you start out in finance?
I started out in branch banking with Bank of Scotland. After completing my Chartered Banker qualification, I worked for the Credit Sanctioning department in Glasgow Chief Office, which provided a great grounding in a variety of lending situations. I dealt with all sorts, from salmon farming to fishing, quite different to what I’m doing today! After a spell there, I moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I joined the Mergers and Acquisitions team. I came to Wales in 2002 and became a member of the Real Estate team at HBOS, which is where I really became interested in property development and investment.
How did you start your career in Hodge?
I joined Hodge in August 2019 after nearly seven years in a similar role at the Principality Building Society. I felt ready for a new challenge, and Hodge’s growth plans provided the perfect platform to utilise my skills and experience.
What does a normal day at Hodge look like for you?
We’re a small team of six very different, but like-minded individuals, with a unique balance of skills and experience. We work in a very collegiate way, where peer review is an integral part of how we operate; everyone is keen to contribute and support one another. Honesty and transparency are key, and there are very few subjects, if any, that are off limits!
As a relationship manager, I really enjoy the fact no two days look the same, it’s great getting to know new clients and building lasting relationships with existing ones. In the Buy-to-Let team, I largely focus on three key areas:
What’s your advice for anyone hoping to embark on a career in banking today?
The world of banking and finance is now much more disparate, with challenger banks and numerous fintech platforms creating wider opportunities. The days of starting your career in branch banking are pretty much consigned to history, so focus on what interests you.
Be prepared to be flexible, both in terms of role and geographic location; be selective in the challenges and opportunities you accept – you don’t have to say yes to everything!
Finally, don’t rush your career – take time to learn your subject in-depth, and enjoy the journey. After all, you’ll potentially be working for a greater number of years than any previous generation, so don’t be in a hurry to “peak” too early in life. Accept that sometimes a sideways move is the right thing to do to keep a sense of proportion between career and personal life. Be discerning – building a network of people on LinkedIn is relatively easy, but it’s important to focus on who can offer real support and sound advice that’ll benefit you in your chosen career.
Finally, what’s your top tip for working from home?
Be disciplined but retain flexibility – shape your day to suit the business needs of colleagues and clients, making sure you carve out appropriate “me” time; take a proper lunch break, and enjoy the freedom that this opportunity gives us all, be it a morning run, lunchtime swim, or afternoon walk.