Women in Finance Awards 2022: Meet the Winners

by Malavika Santhebennur13 minute read

More than 680 people from the finance industry were in attendance to cheer on a total of 249 finalists competing for the Women in Finance Awards 2022, run with the support of principal partner Mortgage Choice. We unpack what happened on the day

Partnered by Mortgage Choice


Partner message

At Mortgage Choice, we’re passionate about showcasing our brokers’ achievements. We founded the Mortgage Choice Aspire program with a threefold goal: to support and promote the female talent in our broker network, to inspire women in our network to take the next step in their careers, and to help address the gender imbalance in our industry.

We are proud to be the principal partner of the Women in Finance Awards for the next two years and to recognise the talent and achievement of women in traditionally male-dominated industries like mortgage broking. 

We believe increasing the visibility of the diverse talent that exists in these industries will help attract the next generation of women looking to join the industry.

Anthony Waldron
CEO, financial services and Mortgage Choice 

REA Group


The Adviser’s parent company, Momentum Media, hosted the sixth annual Women in Finance Awards cocktail luncheon on Thursday, 3 November at The Star in Sydney to celebrate the successes of the leading women in the finance industry.

Run with the support of principal partner Mortgage Choice (part of REA Group), the Women in Finance Awards program recognised the outstanding contributions of the women going above and beyond for their clients in 2022, all while propelling the finance industry forward.

The awards were open to chief executives, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators, mentors, thought leaders as well as the young leaders of tomorrow.

The keynote speech was delivered by Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, co-founder, editor and CEO at female finance publication Financy — who unpacked her own journey from finance journalist to CEO — and the challenges and opportunities she’s faced along the way.

Stand-up comedian, author, radio, and television presenter Cal Wilson provided the entertainment while attendees let their hair down, networked with the industry, and celebrated the successes of their peers.

Overall, there were 29 winners at this year’s Women in Finance Awards, including five from the broking industry.

All eyes were on who would receive the prestigious Women in Finance Excellence Award (awarded to the highest-scoring winner from the individual award categories).

Paula Nassif, senior associate at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, won the 2022 Excellence Award after picking up the Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year award earlier in the day. In her acceptance speech, Ms Nassif exemplified her dedication to her clients, by simply stating: “Thank you very much, and sorry to make it short, I’m late for a meeting.”

In the following article, we list all the winners of the 2022 awards and catch up with some of the winners from this sector to find out more about what they attribute their success to.

Congratulations to all the winners and Thank you to all our partners

And the winners are....



Quickfire Q&As with the winners from the broking industry


Mortgage Broker of the Year

Winner: Louisa Sanghera, Zippy Financial

To what do you attribute your success?

I don’t focus on the outcome for our business but solely on the needs and desires of each client. I try and be honest, transparent, and give realistic, strategic advice that really adds value.

I make sure our clients feel safe, secure, fully informed, and confident we are in their corner. Client relationships are personal and genuine, centred around giving an amazing experience, which routinely leads to multiple referrals.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in business and how did you overcome it?

Staffing has always been the biggest challenge; from agencies that produced low-calibre candidates, to offshore staff, which proved to be a false economy due to errors and double-checking of work. 

We now have a team of experienced, Australian, multiskilled processors, who work beautifully as a cohesive team.

How do you think the industry can support more women in finance? 

I’ve always been passionate about this. I feel more principals need to allow flexible hours and home working to attract mums. There are some incredibly talented and dedicated women out there, who want to work but are not given a chance due to their family situation. 


Commercial Finance Broker of the Year

Winner: Melissa Ashcroft, AAA Financial Group

What do you attribute to your success?

I have a strong work ethic and I am completely self-motivated. I know that may sound strange, but I am completely driven to ensure I get the best outcome; whether that is managing the AAA Financial Group and its partners, introducers, and staff or ensuring settlement success whether it’s a big or small loan. The day I don’t want to do it is the day I move on…

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in business?

My biggest challenge has been realising that my dreams for this business may not be realised as soon as I want them… I have learned it is a marathon, not a sprint! Saying that, I think overcoming any challenge has to do with your attitude to it; you could be really morose, pissed off or upset about certain people, decisions, or an event or you can choose not to be.

How do you think the industry can support more women in finance?

It is about not seeing each other as competitors, but as equals. As there are a lot less of us, (well it certainly feels like that in commercial finance) we support each other by shout-outs on LinkedIn, sending someone a lender’s contact details, turning up to an event, and engaging with people you would not ordinarily. We really owe it to ourselves to have some fun along the way… and listen to more Beyoncé!


Mentor of the Year

Winner: Heather Gallagher, outsource Financial 

What do you attribute to your success?

I have a mantra which is to say yes to opportunities and then figure out how you are going to make it a success. If you wait until you know enough or you are enough, it is usually too late. 

I have also been lucky to have amazing female leaders like my current CEO Tanya Sale and others, who have given me the chance to follow my passions and provide me the support to achieve my dreams.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in business and how did you overcome it?

Earlier in my career, I thought I had to look a certain way, act a certain way, and strive for certain goals in order to excel. However, when I started being honest with myself about where my passions lay (i.e. education), embraced my quirks, and my authentic self; that’s when success really started to come.

How do you think the industry can support more women in finance?

There are two things I think are key. 

Most importantly is for those of us who are successful to be visible, so they can act as an example of what is possible for the next generation of women in finance. 

The other thing we, as an industry, need to do better is educate younger women on what an autonomous and liberating industry, mortgage broking is.


Office Administrator of the Year

Winner: Erin Macdonald, Yakka Finance 

What are your top tips for operational excellence?

My top tips would be to be organised, have high attention to detail, and always be thinking ahead of what needs to be actioned. 

I always look for ways to improve our company’s process to make them more streamlined.

How do you think the industry can support more women in finance?

Having workshops for women on professional development, how to build their brand etc. 

A mentoring program would be amazing to have the ability to learn from some of the best women currently in the industry.


Employer of the Year (SME)

Winner: Entourage Finance

How do you encourage gender diversity/equality in your business?

We have a gender diversity strategy implemented in the business, including in our hiring strategy. This means we hire the best person for the job irrespective of their gender, ethnicity/race, or sexuality. We’ve hired lots of incredible women into the business; seven of our amazing women are now award-winners within the industry.

We also ensure we offer support around additional paid maternity leave, promoting from within, and flexible work arrangements. 

How do you think the industry can support more women in finance?

Ensuring women continue to be promoted into leadership roles is important. We can’t just have the same people running banks, brokerages, and aggregators across the board. Promoting top females from within and across organisations ensures their unique skills, experience, and insights are going to be included in decision-making and policy creation. 

Our team hosts a monthly walk for women in the industry to network and engage with each other, a women-led initiative we support and promote.


[Related: In Focus: Supporting the next generation of women in finance]


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