Women pursuing a career in any predominantly male industry are going to face challenges. The general perception of the private lending industry makes it rather unusual to see a 30-something year old female in a C-suite position. However, that is why I feel compelled to talk about my experience: I sincerely hope to inspire other women to consider a career in private lending.
Serendipity or Fate?
My start in private lending was quite honestly a case of being at the right place at the right time. In 2013, I was a recent college grad with a B.S. in Advertising that had just moved from Boston to Connecticut and taken a job as an executive assistant within the ticketing industry. I had no idea what the future had in store for me, but I knew I wanted to move into a role where I could put my degree to use. I took it upon myself to connect with a female executive within the company who was responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing a major ticketing industry conference. She took me under her wing, mentored me, and provided me with insight as to how I could get out of my current position and into a more marketing-focused career.
Through a series of truly serendipitous events, a member of her conference staff broke their leg and my mentor desperately needed a replacement. I was chosen as the replacement and my career path took a complete detour when I ran into a loan officer from RCN.
RCN was in the process of setting up an office in Nevada, and I had the good fortune of running into one of RCN’s Loan Officers at the closing event for the ticketing conference. What a loan officer was doing at a ticketing conference closing party, I will never really know, but that individual mentioned that RCN was looking for a Marketing Associate, and the position had been vacant for three months. After discussing my background, he introduced me to then Managing Director, and current CEO, Jeff Tesch, and before I had even left Las Vegas, I had an interview lined up for the Marketing Associate position for RCN Capital and the rest is history.
So, while my start in the Private Lending industry was due to a bit of luck and good timing, my climb up the ladder from an entry-level Marketing Associate to CMO was no fluke. Even though I had limited knowledge of the space when I started, I took it upon myself to immerse myself in the industry and learn as much as I could so that I would ultimately succeed in my role at RCN. Properly applying my background in advertising and marketing to this space was really no different than any other once I had an understanding of all of the facets of the private lending industry. However, my time in private lending has been far from smooth sailing.
The Need for Expert Guidance
The best advice I could offer any woman joining the industry would be: find a good mentor. While true in any circumstance, a mentor in this field can go a long way towards your ultimate success as they will help pave the way for your acceptance and trust in the industry. They will help you not only elevate your knowledge of this space, but they can also help you make important connections. The Private Lending industry still heavily relies on who you know to gain traction and visibility. Having someone that can speak to your skill set and open lines of communication with the right people can help you grow your career and get to that next level more quickly.
Another piece of advice I want to impart upon the young women of private lending is to always believe in yourself. It unfortunately isn’t uncommon to be doubted in this industry, so proving yourself may seem a little harder than it is for our male counterparts. It’s essential to learn to strike a balance between keeping an open mind and being confident in your ideas. Use any negative experiences as motivation to keep bettering yourself and climb higher. Don’t be afraid to push back and most importantly be confident in yourself and the knowledge and experience you bring.
Though it may seem like a “man’s industry”, the women of private lending are strong, confident, and ready to make a name for ourselves (or already have!). Becoming successful despite the barriers and stigmas in our way is incredibly rewarding, and it shows young women yearning for an entrance into this space that it can be done.
Once you immerse yourself into a role you love, regardless of the industry, the possibilities are limitless. Through experience, I understand that getting there can be an uphill battle without professional guidance. If you are in need of a mentor, and I say this in all seriousness, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I will be happy to do what I can. I would be honored to provide others in this industry with the resources and mentorship that I was so fortunate to receive along the way.