"How I came to run a multi-million-pound city company"
- 15.04.2021 05:42 pm
Mia Drennan is the founder and Group President of Glas, the pioneering loan administration company that is a powerhouse performer in financial markets
The non-bank loan agency has just hired its 100th employee – with 40 new hirings during the pandemic – and opened a new office in Frankfurt as it expands its network of global offices.
Glas, which has worked on high profile deals to structure finance and administer loans for Virgin Atlantic Pizza Express, Flybe. J. C. Penney and Carillion, has built its success on independent expertise and intuitive understanding of finance.
But it is also driven by the empowering example of Mia Drennan who left school with two O-Levels to pursue an art degree. With no career direction in mind after graduating, she worked as a holiday rep in Corfu, a stint mainly photocopying at a graphic designer firm and at a call centre – ‘wearing a headset with people swearing at me all day’ – before responding to an advert for temporary staff at a City accountancy.
Mia worked, watched and learned to grow as a financial expert and progressed through the ranks to run departments at Citibank and then run a successful City recruitment agency. But she had also spotted a gap in the market that would revolutionise debt administration.
The tasks of managing syndicates, facilitating loans and administering complex deals was traditionally exiled as a back office function but Mia devised a fresh, client-facing approach that energised the sector by introducing progressive techniques that drove benefits across all aspects of non-bank loan arrangements.
The idea did not resonate immediately and Mia, and her small set-up team, had to go through 400 meetings before securing the first deal in 2011. Glas had lift off and has grown to be a respected, independent force.
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur but I never knew it. I was just doing it for other people,” says Mia, whose first steps into business were at a time when women were a rarity in the City and their professional development was stifled.
Mia’s story is one of hard work, vision and the willingness to back her beliefs. She is keen that her example inspires others to follow suit and to give hope to people who feel they are in ‘dead-end jobs’.
“I hope I can inspire young people, women in particular, to stay strong and work hard for what they want,” she says. “I’ve had many times where I’ve been written off but proved people wrong. And not many would have given me a chance of an art student who was a holiday rep and call centre worker making it in the City.”