Maree Cridland, business development manager (BDM) for Generation Life, is the winner of Money Management’s and Super Review's Women in Financial Services award for BDM of the year, a significant achievement for someone only in their second year in the role.
Judges noted her client-focused mantra, going above and beyond in her role by finishing second in inflows with a new panel of advisers.
She was promoted to the role as the company was going through a rebrand with a whole new management team being put in place.
“It’s really integral you have a phenomenal leadership team and the team around you, otherwise it’s really hard to succeed if you don’t have that support,” Cridland said.
“I understand what it’s like now, when people get onto a podium and they have an entire team to thank, because they’ve given me every single opportunity to succeed.
“Through winning this award, I dedicate it unequivocally to them because they’ve just given me every tool to be able to be the best BDM I can be.”
For women thinking of getting into the industry, she said now was the best time to do it.
“I’ve noticed, especially over the last two years, there’s a lot of women out there who are really passionate about educating women in the public about financial literacy and taking ownership of their finances,” Cridland said.
“It’s becoming an empowering and encouraging place where women should be able to enter this industry and feel completely comfortable in what they’re doing.
“You feel like they’re making a difference in their role and in their everyday life as well.”
She said despite the odd adviser who still viewed her as a woman and thought she shouldn’t be in her role, she thinks women have become well-respected in the industry.
She took inspiration from her bosses, co-chief executive and managing directors Lucy Foster and Catherine van der Veen – co-winners of the Life Insurance Executive award – and their approach to work/life balance.
“They’re women who job share, doing a [chief executive] role three days a week being able to balance home and family life, while being in a pioneering career at an excellent company,” Cridland said.
“It just shows how far the industry is coming and to work under those two women is really phenomenal.”
Foster and van der Veen said they wished they could clone Cridland and described her as their brand personified.