Anthemis

DiversiTech Hub speak to Jillian Williams, a 26 year old Principal at Anthemis Group.

How long have you worked in FinTech?

3.5 years 

Did you aim to work in FinTech?

I started in investment banking at Barclays focused on financial institutions. While there, there was a lot of discussion around understanding how FinTech fit into the traditional sub-sectors of the banking groups. Was it Tech or financial services? With that, I began exploring the space and digging dipper into the future of financial services. 

What attracted you to FinTech as an industry?

Financial services are the nervous system of almost every industry. No matter the sector, there is some portion of finance that is involved in the process and it is something that plays a role in every individual’s life.

Despite that, the system is very broken, on for both the businesses in the space as well as the consumer. Further, it is a space that has been ignored by technology for a lot longer than other sectors despite the clear challenges and hurdles that exist. 

What do you do in your current role?

My role includes attending conferences, conducting due diligence, meeting with startups and working with our portfolio companies. 

Do you enjoy your job?

I enjoy my job because I love working with founders that are trying to change the world in some way, usually relating to some problem they directly faced and are passionate about.

Whether it is meeting with founders and hearing their ideas on how different industries can be revamped, improved, or created or if it’s working with portfolio companies to execute the vision, it is exciting to be a small part developing where the world is going. 

We recently did some market research that suggested those in their 20s feel unrepresented in FinTech media and at events – do you think this is true?

I think it is true to an extent however given most of the consumer facing technologies are focused on millennials and I believe this trend is changing at a decent pace. 

I believe that traditionally, compared to some of the other tech sectors, the demographic of those in the FinTech space are older for a few reasons.

One is that typically the founders are older given they are building a company based on their experience in some financial institution or some large financial event that happened in their life, both of which usually occur later in life. Another reason is that the incumbents in the space are actively involved and because of that the average age skews older. 

What can companies do to make you feel more represented?

As teams consider diversity in all ways (gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age) the network they are creating will automatically reflect a more diverse group of people and increase representation. 

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

Diversity and inclusion means not only making sure you have representation from people with different backgrounds, but also making sure there is a sense of belonging and not that someone is there just to represent a type of person. 

Do you think companies would gain more by listening more to your age group and if so, why?

I definitely think so. I believe a reason some startups fail is because they make assumptions around a specific group of people without knowing anything about them.

I think you see this a lot in terms of startups targeting women as their end customer however the entire team building it is male.

If you don’t understand the thinking, motivation, and challenges of a specific type of person then you cannot build a solutions for them. This trend also includes focusing on different age ranges. 

Have you ever experienced sexism in your career?

I have often been the only female in a room and assumptions have been made about my role. However, I will say I have not experienced direct sexism. 

What do you think of the gender landscape in fitech?

I believe, like the rest of tech broadly there is still a lot that can be done. One of the challenges is taking to sectors (finance and technology) that both lack diversity and putting them together, the problem only gets worse. 

Do you feel you have enough exposure to successful women in this industry to inspire you?

There are some, yes, and I believe it definitely helps to work at a firm whose investment team is c. 50/50 in terms of gender split. With that said, much of the industry is still very much skewed and while I do have exposure I believe there is always room for more. 

Would you like a female mentor in the industry if one was available and if so why?

Yes I believe it is always helpful to have at least one of your mentors look like you because they can have more directly comparable experiences and can help you navigate based on how they handles situations in their history. 

Where do you want you career to take you in the next 5 years?

I would like to stay in the VC space and continue to grow as an early stage investor. 

How would you describe FinTech as an industry to someone at the beginning of their career?

The FinTech space is one with a lot of opportunity. Financial services powers almost everything we do in society and yet it is still very behind in terms of how technology can improve efficiencies and experiences. 

What advice would you give someone looking for their first job?

Find something you are passionate about and where you think you can learn a ton because early in your career you will be asked to work a lot and if you are not excited about what you are doing and if you are not gaining something from it, the work will become increasingly challenging and unenjoyable.  

We love a bit of reverse mentoring, what advice would you give to someone at the top of their career about looking after their employees?

Remember what I was like when you were more junior and think about what advice and guidance you would have appreciated. Sharing your experiences can be invaluable for junior employees.





 


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