This October at The Fintech Times is all about the incredible women working in the fintech industry. With women still forming only around 30 per cent of the workforce, it’s important to spotlight those who are working to make a change and blazing a path for those to follow. Some influential women in fintech give their advice to aspiring women in the sector.
Having spoken about how women in fintech have been smashing the ‘glass ceiling’, we turn our attention to advice for women looking to do the same. Here Einat Steklov, Marina Goche, Katarina Andersson, Lisa Gold Schier and Janthana Kaenprakhamroy share their advice to aspiring women in the fintech industry.
Einat Steklov, founder and CEO at Kashable, a financial wellness company
“It’s easy for doubt to be cast on women – believe in yourself and what you’re doing! Remember that you don’t have to have all the details planned out before you start – sometimes it’s best to dive in, take risks and accept challenges that come your way.
“Surround yourself with the right people that truly believe in advancing you and your business. Join clubs to meet other women in the fintech industry, find a mentor that understands the industry, your market or how to raise capital and ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and learn as you go – the rest will fall into place.”
Marina Goche, CEO at Sentifi, alternative data analytics provider
“Women make up approximately 50 per cent of the world’s population and yet only six per cent of fintechs have female CEOs. It is encouraging to see this trend changing. However, it would be naive to think that women do not face any challenges in realising their full potential, even today.”
Goche continued to give her best points to aspiring women in fintech: “Some key principles that I think are helpful to excel:
- “Don’t hesitate to take on new challenges as great growth comes from being uncomfortable. When there isn’t a precedent for solving problems, the odds are stacked against you and you need to define a new path yourself. These are hallmark moments for growth. Place yourself squarely in the path of these opportunities.
- “Take on roles with international, multi-gender, age and cultural exposure. Diversity in thinking enriches the solutions that can be defined and there is nothing that kills innovation faster than singular thinking. Embrace diversity to formulate richer solutions.
- “Understand that progression means greater responsibility and develop the skills to accurately evaluate and manage the critical path. When your focus is on the critical path, your compass will be pointed in the right direction to guide not only your team but yourself, even amidst the ever-present noise that threatens to distract you. Ensuring distraction is marginalised and results are optimised is a learnt skill.”
Katarina Andersson, senior vice president of AI and capture solutions at Medius, the payment software provider
“First of all, I would say be brave! Never be afraid to speak your mind, especially in industries like technology and fintech which tend to be dominated by men. I received my first pay cheque in 1998, and at that time it was very difficult for women in the industry.
“However, I feel that today companies are beginning to see the benefits of having women around – it provides a different approach and a different way of thinking. Utilise your cultural differences to be a change-maker.
“At the same time, and in a way which may feel counterintuitive, you must learn to listen.
“If you’re talking all the time, you can miss out on knowledge and on gaining a deeper understanding of the environment around you. Listening is how you learn.”
Lisa Gold Schier, chief strategy officer at ASA Technologies, a software and marketing solution provider
“Never forget the importance of having diverse views around the table, and part of doing so means proactively seeking out those different perspectives. This often can be done through creating networks and supporting one another.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to other women in the industry, junior or senior, to share advice, and insights, ask questions and gain perspectives.
“I believe in women supporting women; speak on panels, nominate each other for opportunities, support each other on social media and at industry events.”
Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, founder and CEO of Tapoly, an on-demand insurance provider
Finally, Kaenprakhamroy gave her advice to aspiring women in fintech: “Finding a mentor within the industry who can support you with your aspirations will definitely help. Aside from their connections and insight, mentors can also provide invaluable support during challenging times and be a sounding board. LinkedIn is a great place to start when looking for inspirational women in the industry to connect with.”
“I would also encourage women to expand their knowledge about the sector as much as possible – read articles and listen to podcasts to broaden your knowledge. Alongside this, attend virtual and in-person industry and networking events because you never know who you might meet or be introduced to that could open the next door.”
“Finally, don’t ever believe that your gender will hold you back or be a barrier to your fintech career. Most of us will have moments when we doubt our own abilities, experience imposter syndrome, or lack self-confidence in our careers, but we are all capable of so much and should feel empowered to go after our dream roles. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, try new things and always do what you love.”