Cheadle based lender, Together, have sponsored a panel discussion on workplace equality at a Women in Specialist Lending Event.
Speakers including actor Nicola Thorp (pictured), Fiona Hoyle, head of consumer and mortgage finance at the Finance and Leasing Association, Debbie Burton, CEO at lender Central Trust Limited, Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s member for housing and regeneration and Joanna Kingston-Davies, COO at solicitors Jackson Lees Group.
The event, held in Manchester, was funded by Together which is also the founding member. The first in a series of networking opportunities to champion women’s contributions to the industry, WISE was set up to encourage personal and career development among like-minded specialist finance leaders.
Nicola, who famously battled ‘sexist’ workplace uniform rules, said businesses need to do more to tackle gender imbalance, particularly at the top level. She said: “It’s about making space and not taking space, making the workplace truly diverse and equal”. Nicola, who played Nicola Rubinstein in Coronation Street, said this could only be achieved through even more women championing their own talents and abilities – and recognising each other’s achievements.
Nicola, a campaigner for gender equality, hit the headlines in 2016 when she revealed she’d been sent home without pay for refusing to wear high heels. Following the discussion, Nicola said:
I was keen to get involved with the WISE launch, especially in light of this month’s International Women’s Day, because I see it as a fantastic opportunity to recognise the achievements of women within the specialist lending sector. It was a wonderful event that addressed issues and concerns faced by women.
“Female focused networking groups are essential if we are going to see equal gender representations at all levels of the industry.”
Tracey Bailey, head of lending transformation at Together and executive sponsor of WISE, said it was “encouraging” to see support from Nicola and other like-minded women – and men – in the specialist lending sector. She said:
We had a fantastic turnout for the WISE launch and the feedback has been greatly positive. Our vision is to grow the initiative as wide as possible and support each other, personally and professionally, through an inclusive networking community – creating more opportunities for women in specialist lending.”