Amnah Ajmal – Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019

This article features an interview with Amnah Ajmal, Group Executive for Products & Innovation, North America at Mastercard, one of our Top 100 Women in Fintech.

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This interview is part of a series of interviews featuring female Fintech leaders globally. LATTICE80, in partnership with Miss Kaya, recently published our Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019 list.The effort reflects our efforts in women empowerment and support in a field where women continue to be underrepresented. Check out the full list for 2018 here as well. 

Miss Kaya is a lifestyle driven financial platform for the modern woman that aims to empower them to carve their own financial freedom through technologically-empowered financial tools. The mission is to provide the modern women globally with the support, resources, and community they need to live the lifestyle that they want.

Disclaimer: Th interviews are published on a rolling basis and the order by which they are published by no means representative of any rankings.

This article features an interview with Amnah Ajmal, Group Executive for Products & Innovation, North America at Mastercard.

1. Tell us more about what you do and how did you move into Fintech?

I head the product organization for North America at Mastercard, a technology company connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses across the globe. I started my career with Citigroup working across multiple markets in Middle East and Europe heading the credit cards and lending business. I subsequently moved to Standard Chartered Bank and headed the retail bank business for one of their large market in Asia. A key component of my journey and success in roles has been the relentless focus on innovating consumer experience that has ultimately resulted in achieving significant  top line growth.

In my current role, I am responsible for creating sustainable differentiation for Mastercard and for our customers. I passionately believe innovation in today’s world is all about collaboration and co-creation. At Mastercard, we are focused on partnering with fintechs to create unique consumer experiences. Our API (Application Program Interface) based solutions enable our customers to seamlessly integrate our capabilities to provide seamless experience to their cardholders. It’s a very exciting space to be working in and I feel really fortunate to be able to get to do what I absolutely love – leverage technology to consistently enhance and improve customer experience.

2. What does being a woman in Fintech mean to you?

I am fortunate to work for Mastercard, a company that walks the talk in terms of driving gender balance and providing opportunities for everyone to play a role in the vast digital shift that is taking place in our industry and in the world right now. That said, as we look out over the broader fintech landscape the representation of women is lacking and it is my hope to see this continue to change. Perseverance will get us there and my hope is that in the short term the day will come where a woman wouldn’t even be asked this question.

3. What challenges do you think women face in Fintech?

I come from a family where no woman has ever worked, so I understand what it means to break the glass ceiling. As women we need the courage, passion and perseverance to change this biased thinking.

However, the challenges for women in fintech start far before they even reach the workforce because they haven’t had the exposure to STEM educational opportunities and they don’t have mentors or role models to look up to who provide that inspiration. But the world is changing and those opportunities are emerging. Mastercard’s Girls4Tech program helps bridge the gap between opportunity, awareness and readiness. Companies are also taking a proactive stance to help create opportunities for women in fintech. In fact, here at Mastercard 60 percent of female employees work in technology. Once we remove the roadblocks for women we open the door for them to help drive impact.

4. What advice would you give to other women starting out and growing their careers in Fintech?

Reinvent yourself every now and then! Unlearn everything you have learnt. I had to do that. Running a P&L in a bank is different than working in a technology company. In today’s fast-paced world with all the fascinating technologies around us, its easy to be overwhelmed but you don’t have to become an expert on every new technology. You have to understand how you can leverage technology to make consumers’ life simpler. A true obsession and passion for consumer experience is a must to grow in the Fintech space.

5. What are 3 keywords to describe Fintech for 2019

LEGO, speed, deep.