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?
I was an Advocate and Solicitor in the fields of corporate, litigation, human rights and family law and had the experience of running a law firm as a Partner in Malaysia. By day I was a lawyer, by night (or evening), I was actively involved in raising funds for non-profit, organizing a musical for charity (performed a dance in that musical too) and hosting monthly networking events for entrepreneurs.
I have also dabbled in the startup field and project management that enables me to travel between the worlds of tech and legal. This journey created a path for me to specialize in regulated tech and build tech ecosystems such as fintech and lawtech.
I started in 2015 in the startup world after getting shortlisted to pitch for my product in Hong Kong and Singapore as the only representative from Malaysia.
Shortly after that, I was invited to form the team as I was given the opportunity to join the government agency (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation – MDEC) to build a robust and sustainable fintech ecosystem in Malaysia from ground zero. That included drawing up my job scope for fintech as one of the early pioneers in the fintech team. One of my earliest task is to create an organisation-to-organisation relationship for MDEC and both regulators ( Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission) to drive the fintech and innovation ecosystem together in Malaysia. This was vital to drive digital economy which was pivotal to the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone, a crucial contributor to sectors like e-commerce and logistics. Another milestone is helping fintech companies launch in Malaysia whether local or international in order to strengthen the fintech contribution to the country’s GDP.This includes landing Supercharger fintech accelerator to launch in Malaysia to make a stand that Malaysia is ripe for fintech industries and players as we steer the industry and stakeholders to speed up the adoption of fintech and create a conducive environment.
I am currently the Director of Operations which covers the compliance, operations, regulatory and expansion plans in MyMy Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd, an ASEAN-based Fintech focused on digitising payments and financial Inclusion which is headquartered in Malaysia.
2. What does being a woman in fintech mean to you?
I am humbled to be part of the story that shapes the Malaysia fintech ecosystem as well as being named as one of the Top 14 Fintech Influencer in Malaysia. Tackling financial inclusion in the realm of finance, banking and fintech is one of the most vital yet difficult problem statements. How do we make finance and fintech more inclusive in our era of technological advances today especially in target areas and markets where they have ignored, neglected or less prioritised? The focus is on inclusive. We should take a step back before marching on to solve the bigger picture which is to evaluate whether in the first place, do we embody and practice inclusivity. If we don’t, how do we actually understand the essence and principles of inclusivity, how are we going to apply inclusivity in finance, banking and fintech worlds? That is what being a woman in fintech means to me. To draw inclusivity and diversity perspectives and knowledge to solve the biggest pains in the finance and banking worlds by combining forces that starts from the people and talents first that contributes to the very solution and products in the fintech realm.
3. What challenges do you think women face in Fintech?
It is vital to acknowledge that in different parts of the worlds, women play different roles in their lives and workplace while taking into account of the background, race, religion, culture, economy and age. That being said, we should avoid applying a sweeping or general approach to solving all problems. The difficulty is to have the courage and determination to assimilate our values and principles in our career and personal development in fintech while being part of fighting the old legacy systems, in-built and inherited way of doing things in the financial and banking world. The focus should be how do we take part of unbundling and reinventing this fintech world which I am part of and making an impact in.
4. What advice would you give to other women starting out and growing their careers in Fintech?
It really looks like a different game and landscape that has too many moving parts in this fast paced era. This may be daunting and confusing for some of us regardless of which industry and profession we started out from. However, that can be shaped as an opportunity for us to foster and seize. We must first understand our personality, what we want to solve and achieve in the fintech world. By pinning down how we work, who we want to work with and the impact we want to make, it is easier to design your growth, development and career paths by mapping out your priorities. In my eyes, the world offers possibilities in terms of designing and personalizing who and how you want to play a role in fintech, you just got to be creative and try hard enough in your journey.
5. What are 3 keywords to describe Fintech for 2019?
Regulatory, Innovation, and Inclusivity