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.
Here, we speak to Yassamin Issapour, Lisa Fischer, Laura Rofe, Nikhita Hyett, Annabelle Thomas and Lindsay Ross as they share how they are championing women in the fintech industry.
Yassamin Issapour, CFO and co-founder, Agora
“Fintech is a forward-facing industry that embraces innovation and is committed to improving financial services and society. We can and must do more to champion women at all levels.
“As the co-founder of a fintech, I am committed to hiring women and candidates of diverse backgrounds. I know small things can add up to a big change,” says Issapour.
“All our job descriptions are gender-neutral, we foster alternative sources of recruitment and are conscious of the interview process to ensure we increase the number of women in senior management roles,” she continues.
“It’s important that women make their voices heard. I take every opportunity I can to speak at industry events on panels about how we can reach a gender-neutral future for financial services.
“Evidence shows that firms with more women in senior roles outperform their peers, and we at agora are doing our part to make this more common.
“When we founded agora, we decided to lower the investment ticket minimum in an early investment round to give access to anyone, particularly women investors looking to build a portfolio of investments.”
Lisa Fischer, chief growth and lending officer, Mission Lane
“In many industries, including finance and technology, women, and especially women of color, are severely underrepresented,” Fischer comments.
“It’s not enough to just have women in the room. We have to come together to support each other, establish relationships with each other, and be each other’s mentors.”
“Now that I serve in a leadership role,” she continues, “I try to serve as a mentor to share my experience, be a soundboard and advisor, and most importantly, a friend to women new to the fintech world.
“While the fintech industry still has strides to make towards equal representation, establishing opportunities for mentorship among women, and for women to share their voices are both key to jumpstarting empowerment in fintech.”
Laura Rofe, director of partner development, PPRO
“I think that we should be championing women across the industry every day and in any way we are able to; every action can make a difference and there are just so many ways that we can support each other,” explains Rofe.
“I strongly believe that to achieve greater gender equality, we need to work hard on educating men and women in the industry.”
“One area of focus I have is on supporting women who are at the point of making career decisions. I’m a trustee for a UK youth charity, Sculpt, and this year, we ran a series of webinars focusing on educating young women on why they should consider fintech as a career path,” continues Rofe.
“I’m also a mentor to young women in a UK charity mentoring programme, where I provide guidance and support to students who have an interest in the finance and technology space.
“I’ve also been working with many influencers across the industry and getting involved with podcasts and round tables, discussing topics such as the impact of remote working on women and walking the talk and taking action to create gender equality.
“We don’t all have to be in the ‘spotlight’ to champion change, but every step counts and it is about participation and being involved.”
“And finally, raising and creating awareness when I do see a lack of diversity and gender imbalance in certain situations,” she adds.
“I do what I can to ensure that we have female representation at events and meetings, so women always have a seat at the table.
“Championing women is not something we focus on when it is a hot topic of we’re celebrating International Women’s Day, we need to be pushing the agenda forward every day.
“At PPRO, we’ve published our second ESG report, outlining how we’re creating a diverse and supportive workplace, which I’ve been involved in driving forward.”
Nikhita Hyett, managing director, Europe, BlueSnap
“Having worked in fintech for a few years, I know the value and importance of looking to role models and mentors for support when making career decisions,” Hyett says.
“I’ve been lucky to work with some inspiring, brilliant women in recent years and I would say that my mentors have been instrumental in my fintech career progression. They supported me in developing myself in this industry, building a network and always encouraged me to be myself.”
“I’ve chosen to work for a company where there are senior women in leadership positions and as the European managing director of BlueSnap, my position reflects our company culture of equality,” she continues. “My team is made up of extremely smart and hardworking colleagues of all genders.”
“Given that the average percentage of female employment in fintech is 30 per cent, it’s important to us to continue the dialogue about diversity in the workplace as there is still a lot more work to be done.”
Annabelle Thomas, customer support manager, Token.io
Thomas explains: “I believe I’m championing women in the fintech industry by treating all my colleagues equally, regardless of gender.
“I ensure my team is offered equal learning and development opportunities and access to coaching and development sessions.”
“It’s important to create an environment based on trust and respect, where team members feel comfortable raising their concerns with me or a member of HR if they ever feel they are a target of discrimination,” she continues.
“My team is gender diverse and, when recruiting for new roles, I’m pleased to say that, so far, the candidate pool has not been heavily male-dominated.
“If it were, I’d look to work with our chief people officer and recruitment teams about how we can encourage more diverse applicants.”
Lindsay Ross, CHRO, Bitpanda
“Traditionally, the investment world is (still) clearly masculine, yes; but we want to spearhead change in the entire industry — from the way we educate about investing to the way we lead,” comments Ross.
“As one of several ‘women’ executives at Bitpanda, I believe we have a diverse and inclusive environment that empowers women here,” she continues. “Through initiatives such as our ‘Women in Tech Mentorship Programme’, we offer direct support for women to strengthen their confidence, setting them up as active agents in their career growth.”
“In general, I think it’s important that we all do more to encourage women to speak up for themselves and fight for what they believe in. After all, women belong in any industry they want to be in, just as men do.”