Get to know the Lexington team
We continue our Staff Spotlight series, speaking to director, Sinead Johnson.
What is your specialism?
I joined Lexington at the start of 2022 as the organisation’s first Chartered Banker, after spending more than 20 years working for high street banks.
My specialism is debt advisory – due to my relevant background, I’m able to advise businesses on what available funding is out there, not just from high street banks but also from the challenger banks and alternative debt funders – it’s great to be able to share that knowledge with business owners who are busy running their own organisations.
I’ve always been in a client-facing role and really enjoy working with businesses owners. I’m a bit of a social butterfly – I love bringing people together and finding suitable funding solutions which often requires a lot of project management, making my role extremely interesting.
What does a typical day look like for you? What are your core responsibilities?
I was recruited to join the Lexington team as a Director. My main responsibility is leading on debt advisory, but I also support the succession planning for the organisation, development of our branding, marketing, people management, and all the good things that come with working for a business that is entrepreneurial and continues to growing quickly!
I like to think I bring a different dynamic to the team being a female in what is generally a male dominated industry. I also bring a different dimension and skillset which Lexington was looking to strengthen.
How has your first year at Lexington been?
It’s been amazing! It’s great to have come out of a organisations that, rightly so, have many layers of bureaucracy and come into a business where I can be more impactful and quickly make a difference. It is really invigorating. It’s pleasure to work with such a dynamic team who are so collaborative in all that we do.
The business is still relatively young so it hadn’t, for example, developed a charity event programme which has always been an important focus of mine, so I was really proud to organise Lexington’s first charity day where we hiked the Three South Wales Peaks which included Pen-y-fan. It was great that we managed to raise a substantial amount of money for Cancer Research, while doing something together as a team. We ran a number of charity donation drop off’s across the South West in the lead up to Christmas and look to continue to give back to local communities and charities close to our hearts. The next challenge we have planned is a charity hike up Snowdonia in the Spring.
I’m also leading on the completion of one of Lexington’s largest ever transactions, which is extremely exciting for the company as a whole.
What is the best aspect of your job?
Working with business owners who are looking to grow, develop and who are passionate about what they do, like we are!
We, as individuals at Lexington, are typically from the big four accountancy practices or banks. We’ve all trained and worked in a corporate environment, but we all know how difficult it can be when under the constraints of those organisations to build deeper relationships with clients. We feel that working in a smaller, more nimble environment such as in Lexington, gives us the edge and freedom to deliver a much more personal, empathetic and meaningful approach to the advice we provide.
For example, when business owners sell a business, it’s a very emotional journey for them. At Lexington, we generally feel we have more empathy with our clients and are always on hand to have the difficult and, at times, frank conversations with them and take the emotion out of the transaction and help them stay steady during the bumps in the road – and that’s an aspect that I’m really enjoying.
What would you say to someone looking to pursue a career in corporate finance?
Most definitely you have to have a strong understanding of the numbers. There are also characteristics you can’t train someone to have – you need to be proactive in maintaining relationships and building a professional network.
If you’re coming out of University or have a qualification relevant to this space, such as business, economics, accountancy or maths, we are proactively recruiting graduates. Those we already have in the team make an incredible contribution that we really value. We support our graduates through accreditations like ACA or ACCA.
We involve all our graduates in what we do day-to-day and practical work is a great way to learn, where you can be in the office picking up nuggets of information along the way. It really is a fantastic way to get exposure and build your commercial knowledge quickly.
Where is your favourite place in the world? Why?
I have a massive passion for anything Spanish – the food, drink and country itself. Further afield, I really love Asia and Indonesia – the people are humble, the architecture is fantastic and the beaches and food are amazing.
I try to tick a couple of places off my list every year. My next trip will be working my way up the wild Atlantic way in Southern Ireland, over eight days. My mum’s side of the family is Irish and from Galway, so while I often go there to see family, I’ve never ventured much further afield, so I’m really looking forward to exploring the parts of Ireland I haven’t yet seen!