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Feature by Annie Kane - November 11, 2019

A winning team

We often hear how having a strong support network and rock-solid working relationships can lead to success, and this is clearly demonstrated by two winners of the Women in Finance Awards 2019 from the mortgage broking industry, Tanya Sale and Madeleine Dart. We caught up with the outsource financial duo to find out what they attribute to their success.

Chief Executive Officer of the Year

Tanya Sale, outsource financial

What do you attribute to your success?

My 3 Ps: partners, passion and my people.

Partners refer to our brokers. I always ensure our members feel like we are their business partners – there to support not only their success and growth, but also their hardships and struggles. It is through these partnerships that we have built strong relationships, trust, loyalty and, thus, success.

Anyone who meets me tends to use the word “passionate”. I’m sure it’s used as a euphemism half the time, but I always take it as a compliment! My passion for my members and company is infectious and filters throughout my all-star team (my people). I believe this shared enthusiasm drives our success every day.

As CEO, what achievements/actions are you most proud of this year?

This year has been so challenging in light of the [banking] royal commission threatening our industry. First and foremost, I was proud of how we, as an industry, banded together so fiercely to ensure we were heard and the relevant political parties were properly educated. Together we were formidable!

It was also important for me, as a leader, to guide the team and members through this disconcerting time; it is terrifying when your livelihood is in jeopardy. I wanted to ensure I was proactively doing everything possible, to alleviate any panic, so I travelled around to our members and made myself available, ensuring I was always calm, positive and rational.

What made me proud is how our members then embraced this disruption as an opportunity.

What do you think good leadership looks like?

Empowerment. I do not believe in micromanagement, but rather providing frequent feedback, mentoring and coaching to those who need it.

I believe an effective leader needs to be confident that their team will follow direction and make assertive decisions that keep the company on the trajectory that has been set.

I lead outsource with a positive approach, staying calm under pressure and keeping the motivation level high. This energy allows us to achieve our goals and overcome challenges easily.

Additionally, an open-door policy makes a good leader approachable at any time for guidance. I extend this policy to our members as well. I find being available creates a “lead by example” influence that flows down to my team.

Your EA took home the Women in Finance Award for Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant of the Year. What makes her a winner in your eyes?

I was so excited and proud that Madeleine won that award. Madeleine’s passion, values, work ethic and personality make her a living, breathing embodiment of outsource financial.

There are so many elements that make Madeleine a winner in my eyes!

From an operational perspective, her innovation, creativity, organisation and attention to detail flows throughout the team and enhances our company overall.

From a relationship management perspective, the way Madeleine interacts with people is engaging, empathetic and positive. I am a massive fan of Madeleine’s, and she certainly keeps me on my toes!

I’m a strong believer that actions speak louder than words, and Madeleine is the epitome of that!

What is on the horizon for you for the next 12 months?

On an industry level, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the legislation of best interests duty is structured correctly, and the best outcome is attained for brokers and consumers alike.

In relation to the consumer, I will be getting involved with more opportunities to educate the consumer. For example, projects similar to my involvement with the current Channel 9 television program, Secrets of the Money Masters.

And last (but certainly not least!), outsource financial. Regarding the company, we are focusing on strengthening the referrer model component of the business and also have sustainable growth strategies well underway for our broker side of the business.

We’re well and truly ready to embrace our next growth phase – and the excitement is palpable!

Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant of the Year

Madeleine Dart, outsource financial

What do you attribute to your success?

When you drill right down to it, I believe that mind frame and relationships are the key factors to my success as an executive assistant.

My fellow EAs/PAs will know that some days are exceptional and others are… definitely not. Being in a positive frame of mind is such a powerful tool to employ, as it has the ability to shrink mountains into molehills and help you tackle challenges confidently.

We are all in the business of relationships. As such, we rely on those relationships to be symbiotic. The connections I have formed in this industry have all been founded on authenticity, transparency, understanding, respect… and LAUGHS! All are mutually beneficial and contribute greatly to my successes, both small and large.

What has been the highlight of your career this year?

Without a doubt, it was the Women in Finance Awards! And yes, I can practically feel everyone rolling their eyes and saying “how original”… but there is no comparison!

Firstly, the fact that my CEO (Tanya Sale) and I both won our respective categories and were able to share the experience together made it incredibly memorable and special, as we are very much a team.

And secondly, the support I experienced from stakeholders, business partners, peers, members, the team – and even from professionals I didn’t know – was such an affirmation of how I approach my role. I was quite overwhelmed. It inspires me to want to do more for outsource and our incredible industry!

What tips do you have for other assistants in the mortgage space?

I have three key tips that have served me well!

Ask questions! We learn every day, but you cannot expect to know what you’ve never been taught – so don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed to ask. Actually, I find people respect you more for it.

Underpromise and overdeliver. We dislike people who consistently disappoint us with unrealistic time frames – we’ve all experienced this. Don’t be that person. Ensure you provide realistic timelines for you and clients/business partners/stakeholders.

Listen to understand, not to answer. A little bit of empathy goes a LONG way! It is important to ensure you are truly hearing what someone is telling you, so you can deliver exactly what they need. Whether it be a confused client or headstrong business partner, people want to feel heard and understood.