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 Trish Cox, Michelle Merrow, Sarah Lambert and Amelie Arras, as they share their career journeys and whether they expected to end up in fintech.
Trish Cox, head of operations at Galileo Financial Technologies
“Although I never expected to end up in fintech, I’ve long been drawn to technology’s pivotal role in driving better user experiences. My extensive tenure in business operations has taught me that when people from diverse backgrounds collaborate on solutions and focus on the end customer, the outcome is better for everyone. This is especially true in fintech.
“As a woman who has held several senior leadership roles in traditionally male-dominated fields— technology and management consulting, financial services and healthcare — I’ve seen how creating opportunities for more voices to have direct roles in developing financial solutions improves customers’ outcomes. Leveraging technology to improve customer experiences created a natural career path for me into fintech.
“I joined Galileo in 2020 as head of operations, but my career has taught me the value of being able to tailor similar solutions to customers with unique needs. All customers want to feel valued and heard, and financial services is no exception.
“My career journey into fintech has allowed me to show how women’s voices in technology are critical to customer and business success. For example, I’ve championed the “Voice of the Customer” programme at Galileo that collects, analyses and reacts to client feedback. These insights help us transform how fintechs operate by relying on real customer input.”
Michelle Merrow, PMO manager of Afficiency
“When I was in high school, I wanted to be an actuary, so I thought I would end up in insurance, but I took a slightly different path at the start of my career. I majored in social services with a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Social Work.
When my social work career began, I learned the position didn’t suit me, so I transitioned into an entry-level role in insurance, where I worked in a call centre environment. Eventually, I started at MetLife to work my way up to a case manager in the life underwriting area.
From there, I became more curious about the life insurance systems and why they don’t always work the way they’re supposed to. I got involved in a project, which led me to the role of subject matter expert, then onto business analyst and project manager. During this time, I became involved in automated underwriting/digital projects, something which has piqued my interest since I started in the industry.
“Following MetLife, I worked in various positions within the insurance, technology and financial services industry before joining Afficiency in October 2021. At MetLife, I worked with Afficiency’s CEO, Mark Scafaro, and Afficiency’s COO, Carl Ruppin. Therefore, when I began my role at Afficiency, I knew I could continue our great work together to build digital platforms and automate the life insurance buying process.
“My social work training has impacted all areas of my life without exception, including my career in insurance. It really taught me about the importance of human relationships because while we may be working in a digital world, there are real people that are affected by the work that we do, and it is important to keep that impact in mind.”
Sarah Lambert, senior vice president at Buckzy Payments
“I’ve spent most of the last 20-plus years in product marketing for different SaaS/ tech companies, so when I was approached about the opportunity with Buckzy – my first fintech – it was due to that background in product marketing because my skillset is somewhat rare in Toronto. I wasn’t looking to move into a new industry, but I decided to take a leap of faith because it was an opportunity to learn a whole new universe; plus, all of the leaders I met at Buckzy were smart, collaborative and kind.
“In the fintech arena, the payments space is unique and to be perfectly honest, complex. The CEO and I agreed it was easier for me to learn the payments space – and the buyers – on the job instead of trying to find someone with payment’s experience who needed to learn marketing. Lastly, I saw the potential to become a part of a community that doesn’t have a lot of female representation and wanted to do what I could to connect with and support other women in the space. I’ve been lucky to connect with so many brilliant and welcoming people across the globe who have been open to sharing their knowledge and collaborating to build something new.”
Amelie Arras, marketing director, Zumo
“I always thought I’d be a fighter pilot! But when I look back on my childhood, it makes sense that I ended up in fintech. I was always interested in how my dad did the finances at home, and worked out his projections. Financial wellness was a big thing in our house – though much of the advice he gave me at the time isn’t so relevant today, given how the traditional financial system has deteriorated. I’d see my money devaluating!
“I started my career at a luxury magazine, and then worked at a sales and marketing agency where we successfully bid to do the branding for AEVI, which was at the time the cashless payment unit at Wincor Nixdorf. I have absolutely loved my journey so far; I’ve met some incredible minds that have kindly gone the extra mile to help me in my career.”