Recently we ran a brilliantly empowering and motivating event on how women can thrive in the age of FinTech.
We spoke with Christy Fung, VP of Customer Success at Checkout.com – a leading international provider of online payment solutions, and Emma Amato, Product Operations Lead at Truelayer – the largest open banking provider in the UK about what women can do to excel and be seen and heard in Fintech.
Here’s our summary of some of their most thought-provoking and valuable insights. And if you’d like to see the whole conversation, please click here.
So, what makes FinTech so exciting?
In the well-put words of Emma: “Women did not have a voice when the finance industry was being shaped, and I think we did not do so well out of that! Now we have the fintech revolution in front of us and it’s creating this really rare opportunity where we’re able to be a part of re-shaping the finance industry. As women, we have an imperative not just to have a voice but to be a driving force of that change.”
5 further reasons:
- There is truly something for eveyone, no matter what your experience or interests
- It’s an industry that impacts every single person’s life
- It’s all about democratising the industry – making it more accessible for every single person
- It’s a super fast-moving industry, great for those who like to be challenged and grow quickly
- You get to have a tangible impact on how powerful products are being created, often at speed
Having women in leadership roles is more important than ever; what can companies do to encourage this more?
Firstly and most importantly: shine the spotlight on your female leaders across the business. Both Emma and Christy talked about the importance of having role models within the business. For Emma, it’s important to see female leaders who are well-rounded, displaying strength and ambition but still being well-liked. Meanwhile, Christy reminded us that ‘You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Quote: Jim Rohn
Here are four more things companies can do:
- Set ambitious targets when it comes to diversity across your hiring
- Give women support structures that allow them to thrive in the business
- Sponsor and advocate for diversity groups throughout the organisation
- Be explicit about your allyship and support for inclusion and diversity
“We all have unconscious biases that we are often not even aware of. Someone comes in with a different perspective who unpacks those biases for you and holds a mirror up to what you are doing. And that’s what makes diversity and inclusion in FinTech so important.”
So how can women deal with gender bias that they experience?
- Overcoming your own personal gender bias is super important. Self-doubt can cause your own unconscious bias. Be really aware of your own limiting thoughts and try to overcome them. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg was cited by Christy as a great resource for getting inspiration on how to back yourself.
- Speak up and speak out, but…
- Remember that it is not your responsibility to change someone’s mind
- Chase the opportunities in companies that support and celebrate women
- Don’t waste time applying for or working for businesses that don’t!
- Remind yourself that your skills are most definitely sought after, across the tech industry
- Focus on the skills YOU DO HAVE, rather than the ones you don’t. Just do it!
Checkout.com actually hired Christy when she was 3 months pregnant; in her own words “it says a lot about the company and its support for women’s success in the industry.”
It’s super hard to predict, fast-moving and fast-paced. Here’s why the Open Banking industry is the future!
It’s the innovation on which all other fintech innovation will soon be built. It’s pretty much defining an industry. In just 4 years it has grown into a booming industry, incredibly quickly. It’s literally the future of finance, and specifically around digital payments. The UK is actually about a year ahead of the recent of the world, so you have an opportunity to be involved in setting precedents in the industry.
What types of roles and skills are most in-demand in FinTech?
- Problem-solving – this is at the core of fintech
- Crypto – as a new currency and asset class
- Curiosity – the industry changes so quickly, you’ll never know about everything – so always keep learning
Finally: What advice can we give to those who are starting out or considering careers in tech?
- Network and connect with other women to become part of a community
- Make sure you have identified every single one of your skills and can talk or write comfortably about them
- Identify what makes you, you. Every single one of us is different and brings something unique to a prospective employer. Make sure you can articulate that clearly.
- Ask as many questions as you can – and don’t be apologetic about it! Often those you’re asking the question to will learn something from the conversation you have with them
- Be proactive! Don’t be afraid to send speculative emails to hiring teams; you could be reaching out at just the right time. Also – make sure to contact people in the industry; get to know them, ask questions, offer help.