Women in broking stack2

Name: Nickie Conde

Job title: Sales Channel Lead – Broker, Arval

How long in role: 14 months

Current drive? BMW 330e

LAST year Nickie Conde passed a big milestone – a quarter of a century in automotive. And much of that has been working with the broker market. 

So, how did Nickie get started in automotive? As a freshly qualified English graduate, she was unsure of her career path – other than being extremely clear that it wouldn’t be teaching. Post university, Nickie moved home and took a temporary job with Ford Rental to ‘tide her over’; it was the start of something big, because she never has never left the motoring sector since. Nickie explains why:

‘For me, it’s not about a passion for cars, it’s the brilliant people and characters that keep me here. It can be hard and fast paced, but it’s good fun too. I always do my job with a smile on my face, no two days are the same and you never know what will come next. Broking is where my heart lies – I wholeheartedly recommend it!’

Nickie’s temporary stint at Ford Rental ended up lasting eight years as she progressed through the business ending up as National Corporate Account Manager. From Ford, Nickie moved on to working for leasing companies. First up was seven years at LeasePlan, where she held Account Manager and Relationship Manager positions. And then came almost a decade at Alphabet, which Nickie cites as a ‘real career highlight’ as she helped set up its broker channel from scratch. 

Then last year, the position of Broker Sales Channel Lead for Arval UK came up and Nickie says she just had to apply for the role which was ‘as if I’d written my own job spec’. The position includes all the elements she loves, as well as a great company culture. Nickie relishes the variety – she is regularly out on the road seeing brokers, she gets to enjoy the buzz of the Swindon office and also has the flexibility to work from home. 

Throughout her career, Nickie feels she has been well supported by managers who ‘pushed her to do more than I thought I could’. Which also might be why she unexpectedly ended up in sales:

‘I was actually quite shy when I started out – my younger self would never have believed I would work in sales! I view it more as a relationship management role – if you can ‘do people’ you can ‘do sales’. Women tend to do really well but they don’t always put themselves forward as they think they aren’t ‘salesy’ enough. As an industry, we need to encourage more women in.’

When Nickie started out in automotive, she says ‘you could count the women at industry dinners on one hand’, but the balance is better now. Four out of five of her current team are female and she feels the broker channel across many funders has good female representation. Nickie is delighted to see the progress of the industry over the years, commenting:

‘When I started in sales in the early 2000s I did come up against people who didn’t give myself or other female colleagues the respect that we deserved – I’m pleased to say those individuals are now few and far between. I’ve been very fortunate with the teams I’ve worked in, and I have to say that it has often been male colleagues who have been my biggest champions. It’s great to see women championing other women in this industry but we shouldn’t neglect the men supporting women too, of which there are many.’

And finally, any nuggets of wisdom for the next generation of women in automotive?

‘The best piece of advice I can give is to be unapologetically yourself, there is no mould to fit into. It is absolutely ok to be authentically you and progress as far as you wish. If you demonstrate your value, that will get recognised. Finally, building your network and reputation across the industry will lead to opportunity. It certainly did for me.’

About Arval

Arval UK, part of the Arval Group, is a major actor in full-service vehicle leasing and a specialist in mobility solutions. As a BNP Paribas Group company, Arval funds around 192,000 cars and vans in the UK at the end of December 2023. Focused on customer experience, Arval UK has specialist teams dedicated to supporting a broad range of customers including individuals and small businesses with a single vehicle, through to FTSE 100 companies with thousands. It provides a comprehensive range of flexible solutions, products and services including vehicle funding, vehicle maintenance, accident management, breakdown service, short and medium term rental, insured lease vehicles, full outsourcing, salary sacrifice and consultancy services. arval.co.uk

More On Our Women in Broking Series

Women in Broking is our regular series of features highlighting some of the great women who are so influential in the leasing broker sector – a sector that has been male dominated for too long. The series celebrates the Women in Broking – both those working in brokerages and those working with the broker channel – and hopes to encourage more women to have a successful career in the leasing broker market.

Supported by Drivalia

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