How long have you worked in FinTech?
Just over 4.5 years.
Did you aim to work in FinTech?
I stumbled into FinTech through an internship after university where I was subsequently offered a job. I have worked in FinTech ever since.
The first company I worked for offered voice recording technology to banks and investment firms. After that I worked within the Cinnober Group, delivering regulatory reporting services to banks and brokers and technology platforms to clearing houses and exchanges. This led me to where I am today, at SteelEye, where we deliver a range of compliance solutions to financial firms, consolidating data from a range of sources to help firms gain enhanced insight while meeting their regulatory obligations.
What attracted you to FinTech as an industry?
The speed of change within FinTech has always been appealing to me. The industry is solving problems today that didn’t exist 5 years ago and will solve new problems in 5 years that don’t exist today. It is as though we are watching the evolution of financial services in real time.
There is so much innovation in this space. We are at a very interesting time with regards to how financial firms operate, with more regulatory demands than ever. On the back of this we have seen a technology boom, with a plethora of new innovative and intelligent solutions helping firms comply smarter and more effectively.
What do you do in your current role?
I head up the marketing at SteelEye.
SteelEye is a start-up which is revolutionising the Regulatory Technology space by going beyond just compliance to look at how we can turn our regulatory obligations for record keeping, surveillance and reporting into an opportunity.
As a start-up, a large part of my job is establishing marketing processes and procedures for growth. From a strategic perspective, I also look at lot at how clients are using our services, what we can be doing better with regards to marketing and communications, and what additional value we can bring to the market in the future.
Day-to-day elements include product positioning & messaging, public relations, digital strategy and planning, content creation, social media, and so on.
Do you enjoy your job?
I love my job and SteelEye is a great company to work for, providing the fast-paced environment I thrive in.
Working in a FinTech start-up means no day is the same. Some people love this, and some don’t. For me it is ideal since I love to see momentum and progress, and the impact of my contribution. Each day I leave the office I feel like I have achieved something new.
In larger corporation there is often a lot more bureaucracy and red tape, limiting speed of change. I think this is why we see more innovation coming out of smaller firms/start-ups, since they are able to respond to market demand and regulatory changes quickly.
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 this is true to some extent, likely due to the fact that media/event’s organisers will tend to look for experienced professionals, and there is a limit to how much experience you can have in your 20s. However, there is a lot that can be learned from people in their 20s, especially considering how differently younger generations interact with their world around them as a result of digitalisation and social media.
What can companies do to make you feel more represented?
Inclusion has always been very important to me. Looping younger people into meeting and asking for their opinion are important elements.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
Diversity and inclusion are the key to creativity. The more diverse views and opinions you can get in a room the better. In order to progress and improve we need to be surrounded by people with different experiences and views who are willing to challenge the status quo.
Do you feel you are included / listened to in your workplace?
I have never been shy or scared to speak my mind. If I have an opinion, I tend to make sure it is heard. As a result, I have always felt listened to and included in the workplace.
Do you think companies would gain more by listening more to your age group and if so, why?
A lot can be learned from the Millennial generation. People of my generation have a completely different way of engaging with the world. Digitalisation and the social media boom have changed how we communicate, consume news, shop, interact with friends and even date. We are also seeing a shift in priorities, with people in the millennial generation prioritising a good work life balance above all else. Business will need to adjust and adapt to this because if we have millennial employees that also means we have millennial clients.
Have you ever experienced sexism in your career?
I have never experienced intentional sexism, but in previous roles there have definitely been times where I have felt excluded because I am a woman. I see it happening less and less with business related matters, but women are still being excluded from things like the weekly pub session – something I thought was very unfair when I started my career. Because work often carries into the pub, women are actually missing out on work discussions and opportunities by not being invited. That’s not to say that everyone has to go to the pub, that’s up to each individual, but everyone should be given the option. Firms need to make a conscious effort to promote inclusion in the office as well as outside for true equality.
What do you think of the gender landscape in FinTech?
I think we still have a long way to go, but there is a lot of pressure on firms to their improve diversity, which can actually represent an opportunity for women to advance.
Do you feel you have enough exposure to successful women in this industry to inspire you?
I think we have some great organisations for women, such as E2W, Women in FinTech, WILD (women in listed derivatives) which provides exposure to successful women. I am also pleased to see more female representation at industry events and on panels.
Would you like a female mentor in the industry if one was available and if so why?
Any opportunity to learn from someone more experienced is great.
Where do you want you career to take you in the next 5 years?
Very difficult question. My main objective is to continue to develop and learn. In five years’ time, I want to be in a position where I feel inspired and can inspire others. Hopefully with a bit more knowledge and experience than I have today.
How would you describe FinTech as an industry to someone at the beginning of their career?
An evolving industry full of opportunity. A great place to get exposure to technology and finance, allowing young people to gain wide experience with many possible paths.
What advice would you give someone looking for their first job?
For me there were two choices when looking for my first job:
1) Go into a large organisation
2) you go into a start-up. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
A large organisation with a strong brand will boost your CV for years to come and provide you with the foundation and processes that you can leverage with you for the rest of your career. In a small / start-up environment on the other hand, you will learn quickly, be given a lot of responsibility, and be have the ability to progress quickly in your career. But there is no hiding and you must be self-motivated, driven and have the ability able to work autonomously. Some people like the comfort that a larger company can provide, whilst others prefer working in a more dynamic, fast-moving environment.
The advice I would give to someone starting out is therefore to consider what kind of firm they could see themselves in and go from there.
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?
1. Micromanagement is the death of motivation – trust and empower your employees to do their job to their full ability. Set the expectations and then give responsibility and autonomy to meet them.
2. Allow your employees to find their own way, make their own mistakes and find their own solutions. Guide, teach and help where required, but try to build self-sufficient employees.
3. Invest in your most precious resource - have fun, organise many socials, go to the pub, have banter in the office.
Marketing Director for SteelEye
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