Spotlight on our female brokers leading the way

On this #internationalwomensday2022 we have decided to shine a spotlight on our wonderful female brokers across the country.

Our female brokers make up a third of our broking team and in an industry that has traditionally been known as a male dominated space we believe that having a diverse and inclusive team strengthens our workforce!

Read on to discover what drew this group of women to this field, why they love what they do and more…

Gretchen Clarke

What inspired you to become a mortgage broker?

I love helping people! I had originally wanted to be a Teacher and by chance I got a receptionist position after University in a finance company.  I loved the fast pace and the energy and decided that this was for me.

What is the best bit of the job? 

People’s stories – as a broker, you play a vital role in making the dream home happen their investment strategy roll out. The best bits are the moments where you share in that excitement. Or, when you know you have guided good people to an outcome that they would not have had without your knowledge. The most rewarding part is when they come back again a few years later, because life has changed and they want to upgrade (or make a big change). Or, they trusted you so much that they then send their family and friends to you to help out.

What are some of the highlights of your career? 

Definitely having a long-term clients children come back to me – I knew them as kids and am now helping them as young adults. That is a big highlight! 

What are some of the challenges that you have overcome along the way?

Solving the puzzle – when you have a client who really needs your help with complex needs. Placing them to a lender and coming up with the best strategy for what they immediately require (with a looming deadline) can be the biggest challenge of the job. 

I could also say the constant changing landscape of our industry is a big challenge, but change is guaranteed and you really do need to accept it and adjust.

Why should other women become a mortgage broker? 

It’s a very rewarding job! I am really passionate about financial services (lending in particular) being accessible and easily understood by everyone. Women are so well placed to provide this guidance and care to people – it’s all about the detail and the story. 

Pennie Brown

What inspired you to become a mortgage broker?

I had worked in banking and finance for 17 years with one of the majors. I wanted to branch out and challenge myself outside of my comfort zone. I wanted flexibility to be with my children. I wanted to be able to run my own business and be committed to my clients in a way I couldn’t be working for a major institution.

What is the best bit of the job? 

Every client has a different goal. And every time you help fulfil that goal, its an awesome experience. I particularly love working with First Home Owners because it is much about being there to support and educate them on the process, as to help them with their finance.

What are some of the highlights of your career? 

My very first loan as a broker was a debt consolidation loan. It was for a family with two young daughters who were struggling keeping up with their multiple credit card payments. They admitted to me they were on the verge of losing control financially. We were able to consolidate everything into a single repayment and give them more money back into their family budget. They wrote me a thank you card which said “you have no idea how much you have helped our family”. That was the most rewarding part.

What are some of the challenges that you have overcome along the way?

I loved my career in banking and found it very rewarding. I did a variety of roles which included leading staff, training and coaching, and customer facing as well. I felt towards the end that my values no longer aligned with some of the things I was seeing and hearing. Staff just under way too much pressure and leadership almost unable to respond due to the nature of the organisation. Everyone had a boss who was simply carrying out the orders of the boss above them. It was challenging to push myself to leave the security of what I had always known. You need to back yourself though. Do what feels right in your gut. In 1st Street I’ve found an organisation completely in sync with me and my values.

Why should other women become a mortgage broker? 

As a mortgage broker there is a huge amount of responsibility and accountability that goes with your role. You are it. You are facing the client and you are responsible for helping them during a time when they really need your expertise. If you like to feel accountable and you like helping people, and you enjoy problem solving, this may be the perfect job for you. Specifically for women, the flexibility it gives you to work the hours you need to around other life pressures such as family, or health and fitness, or whatever you need, is amazing. I have also found this such a supportive and inclusive industry.  

Mardee Blackwood

Being a mortgage broker means having the power to help others, which not only inspired me to join the industry but is one of the best parts of the job. It is a role which offers immense job satisfaction. As a mortgage broker, you are a business owner, communicator, researcher and consultant – the diversity of this career is amazingly stimulating & satisfying.

The many benefits of this rewarding career are:

  • Job Satisfaction
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Diversity – never a dull moment, and always ready for a challenge
  • Providing excellent service – standing out from the crowd.

Melanie Imbruglia

What inspired you to become a mortgage broker? 

I had a passion for finance previously working at CBA as a teller. My step mum was a mortgage broker so I followed in her footsteps.

What is the best bit of the job? 

The best part of the job for me is guiding people purchasing their home, whether it’s their first home or their forever home, it’s so rewarding helping and assisting people. I also enjoy the refinance process as we can save substantial amounts of money per year with a simple refinance.

What are some of the highlights of your career? 

The absolute highlight would be helping my friends finance their first house purchases.   

What are some of the challenges that you have overcome along the way?

There has been a lot of challenges with policy changes and new rules being brought in by the regulators. As long as you have a good team and a good processes these have been a relatively easy tasks to overcome.

Why should other women become a mortgage broker?

If you’re a woman and you are a mum or wanting to become a mum in the future. Being a mortgage broker is flexible so you can work from home and be flexible with the hours you work.

Our service is completely


Yes, that’s right. You pay zero, zip, nada.

1st Street’s premium service comes at no cost to you! 1st Street is paid by the lender when your loan settles, however, this will not affect your interest rate or loan fees! It is often more cost-effective for a mortgage broker to process a loan rather than the lenders processing it themselves in-house. In fact, we often find that we can save you money by negotiating on your behalf.


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