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.
1. Tell us more about what you do and how did you move into Fintech?
As a FinTech Leader, I am responsible for building cooperation models between banks and fintechs, particularly with regard to the Open Banking projects. I have been driving innovation in the FinTech industry and leading the FinTech agenda within Financial Services Advisory. As an Advisor, I have been constantly working with different industry stakeholders – corporate clients, start-ups, VC investors, accelerators (e.g. PwC Scaleup Hub). I am also Expert/Jury Member of EIC/EASME “SME Instrument” EU program financing innovative solutions across Europe. I am doing my best to share expertise and contribute to building the collaborative and inclusive FinTech ecosystem, particularly in the Open Banking, Payments and Bot/AI technologies.
My professional career began at Citibank in the e-Business division. I have been responsible for innovative financial solutions, namely online, e-commerce, mobile payments. We introduced one of the first online payment gateways in the CEEMEA region as well as the first digital wallet and the mobile payment platform. At T-Mobile, I also managed the implementation of the first local mobile banking apps and the first local mobile payments initiative.
I have been always dealing with innovation in financial services, even before the term “FinTech” was coined. In terms of expertise, I was told to have a great combination of the banking and telecommunications industries that has been quite unique at that time. Today I bring this unique value – almost 20-year experience in the field of innovative digital payment solutions and digitally enabled financial products – to the table, being part of the global FinTech community.
2. What does being a woman in Fintech mean to you?
First of all, I am really excited about the innovation in the industry. I truly value having access to innovative solutions, being able to witness the trends, speaking at industry conference and events. There is a lot of technological changes happening at a fast pace in front of our eyes. In this respect, I would not make any difference between male and female perspectives.
On the other hand, we still have a lot to be done in terms of diversity and inclusiveness within the sector. I am an advocate for building a collaborative and inclusive Fintech community based on diversity, transparency and fairness. It establishes a solid basis for attracting and retaining talent, which is one of the key challenges for the FinTech industry.
3. What challenges do you think women face in Fintech?
The higher you get, the more difficult and challenging it becomes and there are fewer women, it obviously holds true not only for the Fintech industry. As a female at the top, you may often feel isolated and left on your own. Speaking from experience, at the beginning of my career, when I was employed as a product manager in a male-dominated working environment, I haven’t faced any barriers or obstacles to communicate and cooperate with men, or to be promoted, either. We treated each other equally with full respect, and it came naturally. When I became a CEO of the local payment company, ten years later, the story was slightly different. It has been much more demanding to interact with other men at the management as well as supervisory board levels. Despite my bigger experience and better expertise.
4. What advice would you give to other women starting out and growing their careers in Fintech?
- Be prepared to take risk.
- Find a sponsor, somebody who believes in your potential, supports and promotes your work, who knows your strengths and competences and will pave the way for you. More than role models or mentors we need sponsors, both females and males. ”Mentors help talented employees navigate the path to success. Sponsors help push them to the next level.” (“Seeing is believing: Clearing the barriers to women’s progress in financial services” PwC, 2018)
- Build your network. Stand out from the crowd. Be visible.
5. What are 3 keywords to describe Fintech for 2019?
I am hungry for use cases…
- Open Banking