industry establiSHEd: Ronnie Liza Woods, MT Finance
We’re joined by MT Finance’s Ronnie Liza Woods for today’s industry establiSHEd series. Having joined the business in 2017 as a recent graduate, Ronnie has worked her way up from Loan Administrator to Senior Underwriter – Team Leader in less than five years. She details her career journey, the best advice she’s ever received and why Cher would make the perfect dinner guest.
How did you start your career?
“I took a gap year after college, working in a wealth management firm in the City before moving on to read history at university. Whilst it wasn’t a very natural path to take, I knew I would probably work in finance in some way, shape or form afterwards. I was lucky enough to land an interview at MT Finance for the role of Loan Administrator the day after my graduation ceremony and I left with a really good feeling about the company. I had never heard of bridging finance before my interview and if I’m completely honest, it took me a few months to get my head around it!
“After settling into my role, an opportunity in the underwriting department came up and I was invited to join the team as the then third member. I felt an almost instant click and have never looked back!”
What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
“The most challenging aspect was learning to trust my own judgement. There are a lot of nuances in underwriting and like most things, it is the knowledge and experience that you accumulate with time which aids your confidence in dealing with them. I have been lucky enough to work in an environment where knowledge is shared freely across every level of the business and things like age or lack of experience are not treated as a hindrance, which in turn speeds up the learning process.”
And what has been the most rewarding?
“The unregulated side of the business that I work in means that our lending is for business purposes and with that, you see a variety of circumstances and opportunities that have led somebody to MT Finance. These have been particularly varied during the pandemic. Among other things, we have helped clients open their first restaurant and create pop-ups in lockdown – it feels great to be part of that journey and to help clients during a really difficult time. We lend with integrity and behind the scenes there is always somebody rooting for the client to succeed.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Say no more often. Prior to March 2020, I was out most nights of the week and rarely paused for a break. Being forced to slow things down over lockdown helped me realise I needed to create some balance in my life. Saying no to ‘fun’ things so you can go to the gym or even get a good night’s sleep may be seen by some as a bit ‘boring’, but I am starting to embrace it. Experiencing the joy of missing out – JOMO – is a real thing!”
Who were mentors that encouraged you?
“In your working life, there is usually one stand-out person who you recognise as being invaluable to your journey and professional development. For me, that person is Lenka [Pajkošová], who took me under her wing straight away and taught me basically everything I know. It wouldn’t be possible to thank her enough for the time she has given me, along with the years of friendship that have come with her mentoring.
“Generally speaking, I am very fortunate to have been surrounded by many interesting women who have encouraged and inspired me at different points in my life.”
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
What fact would people be surprised to know about you?
“The fact that I was not named after a very famous guitarist from The Rolling Stones! Admittedly, my dad is a fan and we have seen them in concert together.”
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
“If I had to narrow it down to three women, I think it would have to be Margaret Atwood, Katherine Ryan and Cher. They are all incredibly talented, interesting women. I am a big fan of each and have seen Katherine Ryan and Cher live before. I think everyone should see Cher live at least once in their lifetime if they have the opportunity.”