Women in Business Finance

Business Money editor Bob Lefroy in conversation with Martine Catton, Catalyst’s Sales and Marketing Director

Q: What were your childhood ambitions?
A: As a child I wanted to be a Barrister. I’m of a certain age and some readers may remember in the 1970’s a lunchtime programme called ‘Crown Court’. Watching this programme I became fascinated with the law, so much so I wrote to the law society at the age of 7 to ask them what I needed to do to become a barrister. They sent a great letter back but said it wasn’t what I knew more about “who” I knew! Weren’t the 70’s great?!


Q: What qualities do you most admire in others?
A: I most admire honesty, straight talking with sincerity and a sense of humour. If you have these qualities then there is no doubt that we could be friends!

Q: What has been the biggest change within the factoring industry during your career?
A: Without doubt it has been the emergence of the alternative finance market. It’s opened up a new world of financial products and solutions that are available to SMEs; it allows them to be in control of their finances, access money quickly and utilise mobile technology. That’s why I chose to move to Catalyst when I did. It’s a great opportunity to effect change in the market.


Q: What social activity gives you the most satisfying break from a busy career?
A: I love all things Italy. Food, wine, weather, what’s not to love?! Family time is precious and I treasure the time we get together. Life is pretty busy when you have a husband, a daughter, 2 step children and 2 rescued greyhounds to look after!

Q: What is your view of the current UK economic environment?
A: Well I only have a paragraph but suffice to say the word on everyone’s lips is Brexit. There is evidence of a tangible impact being felt on current spending and many businesses are holding back on investment. This has a knock on effect for us all. Leaving the EU could be complicated and will almost certainly be a shock to our economy. PWC and the CBI report leaving could lead to a potential technical recession. The good news is interest rates are not forecast to increase until maybe Q2 2017 but household spending is certainly the main driver in growth for the remainder of this year.

Q: With whom would you like to be stranded on a desert island?
A: Ray Mears, he would know what to do, he could rustle up a shower, shelter, food and water in a flash and then search for the items needed to get us home on a raft! I think Bear Grylls may struggle; the film crew strategically place everything he needs! Ray’s the man!

Q: What motivates you in daily life?
A: People motivate me. Always have. Be that my family and friends, my colleagues, my team, our introducers…. everyone is different and I am passionate about people development and the psychology of what makes people tick. I’d couple that with still learning every day. I love a good self development book!


Q: What historical figure would you most like to have been and why?
A: There are so many. It’s a really hard question. Maybe Queen Elizabeth I. She was a very strong woman or maybe Christopher Columbus, all that travel and exploration although I get very sea sick so maybe we wouldn’t have discovered too much had I been him!

Q: What are your favourite books?
A: My absolute favourite fictional book is To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee…..”You never really understand a person….until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” It has lessons in respect, integrity, empathy and much more. As for my non fiction choice, ‘The Sales Acceleration Formula’ by Mark Roberge, its a book that can be picked up and put down and used as reference in many situations.


Q: When are you happiest?
A: I’m generally a happy person. You get to choose your mood as they say! Did that sound too corny? I thoroughly enjoy being at work but of course I am happiest when I am in Italy with my daughter and my husband, the sun is shining and we are exploring and finding new places to visit.


Q: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your life so far?
A: Becoming a parent without a shadow of a doubt. I worked until my due date so wasn’t quite prepared for motherhood! Becoming a mum was and still is the biggest influence on my life and is by far, the most important job I have. I am a mum first. I am really proud to see her growing into a bright, opinionated, quick witted and beautiful young woman.


This piece was first published in Business Money May edition in the 'Women in Business Finance Feature'.

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