A Queensland broker has launched a mentorship program for young women looking to enter the financial services sector, both as an acknowledgement of the additional roadblocks female industry entrants may encounter, as well as an homage to the assistance she herself received when starting her career.
Brisbane-based finance broker Cara Giovinazzo started the program at CGIO Finance, with Maddy Watt the first woman to be offered the opportunity.
“I know firsthand how challenging it is to be taken seriously as a young female and also how hard it can be for opportunities to be available,” said Giovinazzo.
When starting her finance career a decade ago, Giovinazzo was a beneficiary of a home lending program at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).
“I was fortunate to obtain the position I did at the Commonwealth Bank, and most young women have it a lot harder than I did,” she said.
“Given the amount of experience I now have, I want to pass this knowledge on to other young women and help them grow into amazing, confident finance brokers.
“I am hoping to offer one of these mentorships every year to young women wanting to get experience and their foot in the door in the finance and broking industry.”
Originally, Watt applied for a position as a mortgage broker with CGIO Finance, but she did not have the experience or qualifications for the advertised position.
“However, she reminded me of myself when I started,” said Giovinazzo.
“I remember how hard it was at that age, and also how lucky I was to get my foot in the door.”
“This not only gave me the idea to give Maddy a role at CGIO Finance, but to also mentor her so she can grow and develop the skills to be a successful mortgage broker.”
Currently, Watt is working in the office as a credit analyst and has also enrolled for a diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broking.
Over the course of her mentorship, she will be taught the basics of home lending; once she has gained a better understanding of the technical side, she will hit the road with Giovinazzo to learn how to conduct client interviews and make recommendations.
“It's my goal that in a year's time she will graduate from the program and be offered a full-time role as a finance broker here at CGIO Finance,” Giovinazzo said.