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  • Women in Leasing - Special Report

  • Media: Leasing World

    Date: May 2010

    Article: Women in Leasing - Special Report


    Katherine Amin, Recruitment Director - New Leaf Search

    Jane Theobald, Recruitment Director - New Leaf Search


    "It’s all down to the makeup of the individual"
    Katherine Amin and Jane Theobald, directors of New Leaf Search, feel that success traits are not gender specific

    After graduating from University, I began my leasing career in a sales capacity with Barclays Mercantile, I then moved to De Lage Landen and finally Capital Bank after which I decided to make my move into recruitment with international recruitment firm Humana, specialising in their finance and leasing division. 

    Jane (Theobald) on the other hand entered the travel industry after graduating, before embarking on a career in recruitment with THC, where she specialised in Banking and Finance.

    It was after this that our career paths converged, as we both independently moved to Morgan Chase, which at the time, was arguably the flagship recruitment company in the leasing sector. We both excelled there; the market was thriving; we were building a good network of contacts and with each successful assignment our profile and credibility improved.  

    We specialised in hi-tech vendor programmes, medical, public sector, general assets, motor and contract-hire. Although we worked independently of each other, it was within a team environment and this is when we began to appreciate each other’s skills and qualities.

    We established ourselves as proven recruiters in a very male dominated office environment, which was also reflected in the external leasing market as a whole. The jury’s out as to whether being female impacted upon our achievements or not. Was there a perception of having to work harder and smarter than our male counterparts?  Probably yes. Was their parity in pay structures? Probably not. Was there more management guidance and assistance to male colleagues? Probably yes.

    We were both subsequently headhunted by Jonathan Wren to develop their UK recruitment programme across all small and middle ticket leasing sectors as well as increasing their profile within the European vendor and captive space. By now, we’d racked up 20 year’s leasing recruitment experience between us and during this time developed an acute understanding of client and candidate needs and how best to meet them; through excellence in service, high  levels of professionalism, ethics and integrity and of course, the ability to deliver results consistently.

    Recognising customer needs is the absolute reason why we started in business. The number one thought before New Leaf Search was even conceived was the notion that ‘we could do this better’. The ability to generate revenue and profits was a secondary notion – simply a by product. New Leaf Search was established in 2004 and since then, by reputation, we’ve established ourselves as the leading provider of asset finance and leasing recruitment solutions across EMEA.

    January this year saw the completion of our sixth year in business. During this time we have shown year on year growth with just one minor blip caused by the recent economy. However, during this time we have established a strong brand presence in our target market, we have best in class marketing and advertising, we were the first agency in our niche to become ISO 9001certified and full members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, our candidate database has nearly doubled every 2 years, we acquired a competitor database with extensive European reach; we’ve also invested in cutting edge IT as well as launching a best in class website.

    So yes, we’re very proud of our achievements. It is very difficult to decipher between entrepreneurial drive and women’s instinct – but I would guess that the former is the key element and the latter very much secondary.

    It must also be noted that we have both become Mums recently and children have had a direct impact on our work-life balance. The challenge that women face when choosing to have a career and family is juggling the two successfully.

    Do women lose their edge after having children? Some by their own admission do. Others may even succumb to the overwhelming maternal instinct to become full time Mums. For Katherine and me however, motherhood has made us even more focused and determined to succeed.

    You have to be prepared to go the extra mile, but what successful person doesn’t?  The great thing is that it has been possible to achieve a good work-life balance and make a success of both.

    It is obvious to anyone in the leasing industry that we work in a very male dominated environment.  The leasing industry is not alone.  Men dominate the business landscape from law firms to accountancy firms but I’m not convinced that the gender imbalance is a sign that sexism is rife in the workplace. 

    Whether you are man or woman, you have to be focussed, committed and professional to succeed. Sometimes women can drive home an advantage in creating, developing and fostering relationships as well as translating their femininity into effective networking, excellent listening and communication skills and empathetic behaviour. 

    Their much written and talked about multi-tasking and organisational skills can also be a differentiator and some of these attributes have indeed been useful to us in our recruitment careers but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they’re outside the realm of men.

    Successful women in the leasing industry aren’t crusaders for feminism or campaigners for equality. They’re simply where they are because of drive and ambition, irrespective of whether they are a senior executive at a global corporate or running a small business.

    Yes, success traits we believe aren’t gender specific. Men are better than women at some things and women outshine their male counterparts at others. It’s down to the makeup of the individual, not their gender.

    For us, it’s been a number of things including our ambition and inner drive to transform ideas into reality; customer focus; continual striving for improvement and differentiation; hard work; commitment and teamworking – all within a positive environment.

    It would be wonderful to readdress the disproportionate representation of women in the leasing world. This can only be achieved by leasing companies attracting and increasing their intake levels of women in junior roles and then investing in them by nurturing and honing their business management skills.

    Increasing retention rates after maternity leave is also a key factor. However, we cannot hide from recent reports and studies that show women still have to overcome gender discrimination at all levels. Hopefully, with time and a possible ‘fourth wave of feminism’ we can break through this glass ceiling and reach parity.

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