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A day in the life of… Samantha Ward, head of commercial, Dudley Building Society

My alarm goes off at…

…early o’clock and is usually set by my son, which means crack-of-dawn weekends and rushing-around weekdays.

I cannot leave the house without…

…having at least three cups of tea.

I travel to work…

…via the school gates. My son dictates the agenda, so either talking about the mysteries of life or listening to music, ranging from Disney and The Greatest Showman to his current favourite, Let’s Get Ridiculous by Redfoo. I am not a typical professional and I turn up to work a bit ’gangsta’ style with music full-blast, but it usually gets my adrenaline going for the day ahead.

The main purpose of my job…

…is to move the society forward. The results of our efforts dictate the future of the society; no pressure there then…

I joined…

…in September 2001. Ready for the second year of A-Levels, I sat in the sixth form common room and thought ‘I do not want to do this anymore’, so off I headed to the career adviser’s meeting room and she told me about a junior role at Dudley Building Society.

I had not a clue what I wanted to do in life but whatever it was, I wanted to be the best.

I thought ‘why not?’ and left school that very day and joined the Dudley.

My typical day involves…

…My role is very strategic and when I am in the office, my favourite part is challenging my team, whether it is where value can be added or why we are doing something the way we do it.

My second role is as mum to my boy, the greatest achievement in my life and the one that keeps me grounded. No matter what has happened that day, the cuddle I get when I walk in the door is the best feeling in the world.

People may not know that I’m responsible for…

…the profit and loss for the society. I also oversee all marketing, product and business development across residential mortgages and savings.

A common misconception about my job is…

…there is often confusion in the marketplace about my job title, with the assumption that we have entered into commercial lending. We have not. Being head of commercial is basically making sure that all the activities we do and services we offer are commercially viable and make sense.

My favourite work memory is…

…graduating in banking practice and financial services management with my baby in my arms. I am passionate about the fact you can be a woman with children and still have a career. You just need to find the right employer.

A perk of the job is…

…when we reached £400m in asset size. We talked about gifts but what we concluded was that time is the most valuable thing we can give back, so everyone had an extra day off with the proviso that they spent it doing either something they loved, having a new experience, or spending time with their family.

To unwind after work, I like to

…spend time with my family. My husband recently surprised me with a bike and I have thoroughly loved getting out and about. Just the three of us, usually a football and snacks and we are set!

My role in five words is…

…passionately moving the society forward.

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