In August we welcomed Christie Cook as managing director of retail at Hodge. Christie has an abundance of industry experience, knowledge and skill, but most importantly, she brought with her values and principles that align perfectly with the Hodge culture. Among these are recognising the importance of a healthy work-life balance, embracing learning and development and spending more time getting to know our colleagues.
In the evolving landscape of the financial services sector, Christie explains how a career in finance has shaped her understanding and appreciation ‘life beyond the desk’.
When I reflect back on my career, I’m both incredibly proud and surprised at how far we’ve come in the financial services sector. It took a global pandemic to change the way we work and to change it for the better.
We’ve grown to appreciate that life isn't just about what happens at your desk. The rigid structures and nine to five office hours have given way to a more flexible approach that benefits both employees and employers. It’s also helped the dialogue about our personal lives which fosters a healthier work environment. Seeing people adapt their hours, log off a little earlier to take their child to football club, work from home more to avoid the commute and spend that time walking the dog and of course being in the office to appreciate the value of face-to-face meetings and collaboration time. It’s a big step in the right direction.
I’m a huge champion of equality and career progression and this no doubt, is down to my own challenges. I didn’t fit the traditional mould when I started out in finance. I didn’t come into the sector with qualifications others had. I was a woman in a male dominated environment. I was a mother who had commitments outside of my employment.
The strides that have been made in gender equality and social mobility within the industry is brilliant, but we’re only in the middle of a long journey.
I’ve seen the tough bits too, like when amazing colleagues hit rough patches and felt like walking away from the finance rollercoaster. That’s why we need more support, especially during the tricky mid-career phase and for parents returning to work.
As managers, leaders and employers, we need to make sure individuals feel valued daily, it’s a key part of our role to listen and develop their confidence and lift people up.
It’s broadened my understanding, from sales to product management. It’s allowed me to explore new career paths. If I could give one piece of advice, to anyone, of any age, it would be to keep learning, keep growing.
Finance isn't just about numbers. It's about understanding people and their goals and then helping them get there. The mortgage world is so emotive, you’re helping people move into a home, we’re really there in the moments that matter.
As we move into 2024 and beyond, we can all continue to strive forward. A career isn't just about climbing the corporate ladder; it's about reshaping finance into a friendlier, more inclusive space. Being part of the journey, understanding people, their stories, and making finance a whole lot more human.
Christie Cook has joined Hodge’s senior management team as its managing director of retail in August 2023. Christie leads on all Mortgages and Savings related business at Hodge, covering off product, distribution, marketing, customer origination, underwriting and first line risk issues in the process.
Christie has extensive experience in the mortgage market, as she is the former head of mortgages at Nottingham Building Society, has occupied head of product roles with Glenhawk Financial Services and the Bank of Ireland, as well as being a former operations manager for Kensington Mortgages and Lehmans.