This October at The Fintech Times is all about shining a spotlight on the incredible women working in the fintech industry, sharing their greatest achievements, their biggest challenges and how they can make a difference fostering women’s careers.
Though progress has been made to reduce the gender gap in fintech, the industry still has far to go until it hits true representation and champions full equality.
To help highlight the influential and significant contributions of women to the industry, we asked influential fintech leaders (who just so happen to be women) to signpost the support available to aspiring women in fintech
Advance in the industry
Jena Gruenebaum, director of client advocacy at Marygold & Co., a fintech and banking services apps, said:
“There are several global organisations, such as She Loves Tech, Fintech Women and Female Innovators Lab by Barclays, that lend support, organise events, and offer cash prizes and grants to women-led startups or women in tech. I would also encourage looking into local organisations — especially if you live in a larger city. There are often innovation labs or university programs that are free or low-cost to help women looking to get into tech or advance within the industry. They can provide in-person networking and training.”
Equity in finance
Misty Beaulieu, head of operations & risk, North America, at Worldline, the 4th largest payments company, said:
“The Global Association of Women in Payments is a popular association for women in our organisation and in the payments industry. It offers some great mentorship, educational, and leadership programs which provide career growth and networking opportunities for women. 100 Women in Finance in another excellent organisation that women can look to for support in achieving their professional potential, with a global network of leaders and peers, education, and professional programs.
“Women in Capital Markets aims to increase equity across the finance industry through a large network of finance professionals with mentoring and professional development programming. And Women in Fintech is a network focused on improving diversity in the industry by advancing women through events, education, and through highlighting role models in the industry. There are many opportunities available, and it is worthwhile to check within your own organisation for what they may offer. For example, at Worldline, we offer all our employees access to an online learning portal, as well as a comprehensive professional development program to obtain accreditations, certification, or studies.”
Amanda Reierson, CMO at credit-first fintech Avant, said:
“There are a lot of organisations out there that promote women on boards and provide valuable resources that I’ve found helpful in the past.. There are also separate organisations that focus on women in leadership. These organisations are helping create community among women who are striving to continue the momentum we’ve seen for our peers in the industry, particularly within leadership.
“For me personally, I’ve found that networking is so important – staying connected with people you have worked with over the years and nurturing those relationships. I still have some amazing women that I started my career with at the Los Angeles Times that I am proud to call friends. Additionally, I’ve found that seeking out media resources, like podcasts, has been really helpful. Listening to interviews from women who have been there and exploring both new and old concepts keeps me inspired and working on areas of improvement that I have. And you don’t have to go to a seminar to get the advice, I can get it while I’m walking my dog – time well spent!”
Lauren McCollom, Director of Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) at Grasshopper Bank
“There are many organisations that cater to female founders, women in fintech or finance, as well as small groups of like-minded women who get together and share ideas. Some that come to mind are SoGal Ventures, Elpha, Golden Seeds, online publications such as Femstreet, and local meetups and influencers on social media platforms. I think the focus of anyone seeking to get ahead should look towards female leaders and colleagues they’ve worked with, communities they are part of, and organisations that advocate for female inclusion and offer support rather than those that require payment to participate.”
Engage with organisations
Carrie Colbert, CEO at venture capital company, Curate Capital, said:
“In the fintech sector, there is a growing awareness of the importance of gender diversity. Women looking to advance their careers in fintech should explore various resources and initiatives. Several accelerators, programs, and initiatives are tailored to support women, such as:
“FemTech Leaders: This community connects and empowers women in fintech, providing networking opportunities and mentorship programs.
“Fintech-focused Incubators: Look for incubators like Female Innovators Lab by BofA and Anthemis’ Female Innovators Program, offering resources and funding for female entrepreneurs.
“Online Communities: Platforms like LinkedIn groups and forums dedicated to women in fintech facilitate networking and knowledge exchange.
“Diversity and Inclusion Conferences: Attend events like the Women in Fintech Forum to connect with industry leaders and gain insights.
“It’s crucial for women to actively seek out these resources and engage with organisations that champion gender diversity in fintech.”
Be your own advocate
Meghan Holmes, COO at Advyzon Investment Management, said:
“I appreciate and recognise the value of women focused events and networking opportunities and recommend women proactively seek opportunities available to them. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with others in their industry (or even outside of it) to identify different networking and career development opportunities that may be of interest.
“Many larger companies have their own internal programs, but also have partnerships with different third-party female-focused groups that allow employees to interact with others both inside and outside of their company. Be your own advocate and ask those in your organisation what’s available. If there’s nothing, maybe that’s your opportunity to make some change and start a program. If you’d find it valuable, my guess is others in your organisation will too.
“I’d also recommend challenging yourself to pursue additional opportunities that are not solely women focused. Accept that it’s going to be uncomfortable being the one woman in the room, and do it anyways. Once you do it, bring other women along with you.”