Inspirational Woman : Lauren Couch | Chief Revenue Officer, Growth Lending

Lauren is the Chief Revenue Officer of Growth Lending, a funding partner for high-growth businesses. Based at the firm’s Bristol office, her responsibilities include maximising the profit of the company, acting as a national spokesperson, pioneering new business and portfolio strategies, nurturing talent, and enhancing the client experience.

Prior to her role at Growth Lending, Lauren gained experience running corporate and commercial portfolios and heading regional teams.

Lauren enjoys spending time with her partner and son and as a working parent, is passionate about supporting the drive for better work-life balance and childcare support.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your current role:

I’m Chief Revenue Officer at Growth Lending, an alternative lender supporting high-growth businesses with funding solutions. We are a global business with offices in the UK, South Africa, the Philippines and now the US, following an exciting period of international expansion.

I’ve worked in financial services for the past 22 years, in roles spanning commercial banking, invoice finance, venture debt and private equity. Previously I worked at RBS, but I have been part of the Growth Lending Group’s senior team since 2019.

Outside of work, I enjoy travelling, reading, art and spending time with my family. I’m a proud mum of a five-year-old boy and live in the centre of Bristol.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, but I did find a notebook from my parents from when I was seven which said that I wanted to be a Bank Manager. I’m from a small town and I have a vague memory of my dad wearing a suit to visit the Bank Manager and thinking that was great, so I think that’s where it stemmed from.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

After 17 years at RBS, I took redundancy when I was pregnant. This meant that I had to reinvent myself after I had my son – it was both liberating and terrifying.

How did you persevere through the tough times?

By being able to pivot at short notice and not being afraid to change plans. The pandemic and subsequent cost-of-living crisis have taught me that you must listen to what customers want and deliver that, rather than expecting them to fit in with what you have always done. Being adaptable is key.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

It was becoming the Managing Director of Growth Lending in 2020. I juggled leading the business through the pandemic and the challenges that this created, with raising my very spirited two-year-old.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Awareness of my own strengths and delegating to others when they are simply better than me!

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Mentoring is an excellent way of developing yourself in a safe environment. Often, we are too close to situations to be objective and have an independent, trusted sounding board is invaluable. I have been mentored in the past and will continue to be a mentee until I retire! Particularly in finance, positive female role models are really important.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

School timetables. It’s challenging to manage the six-week summer holiday without very deep pockets and maximum parent guilt. When you have two full-time working parents, society expects the mum to work part-time to accommodate holidays and school pick-ups. I would love for this to be an equal expectation amongst genders, but it is probably better (and more realistic) that the school system is revised!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Don’t wear so much fake tan…. no seriously…… don’t be frightened to look stupid as actually, no one cares.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The next challenge is expanding Growth Lending into Europe and Asia following the success of our recent expansion into the US. I want the company to continue to be a disruptive force in the financial industry, helping SMEs to reach their growth potential. Personally, I hope to achieve a happy family as well as a happy career.

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