The Future of Financial Services is Female

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We have all heard the phrase ‘the future is female’, and for financial services, we at FGS couldn’t agree more! We are all at different stages in our career from coordinators to senior executives, but the one thing that has brought us together is our love for finance and FinTech! In honour of International Women’s Day, we reached out to our team and our partners in the ecosystem to ask: what does it mean to be a woman in financial services and to share any advice that they might have for future generations entering the field. Read on to hear the stories of some incredible women and men in financial services, and join us in celebrating women who are driving change forward.

Melika Hope

Intuit Canada
Head of Product, Small Business & Self Employed Group 
LinkedIn
Melika Hope_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has your experience been as a woman in financial services?
“Mainly positive! There have definitely been challenges, and it’s never easy being an ‘other’ in any environment. However, I like to use it as an opportunity to differentiate myself even more and always try to let my work speak for itself.”
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“Do it. If it’s your passion, pursue it and don’t look back. There are so many impressive women in this industry, so try to find a mentor who can help guide you through new experiences. When that isn’t possible, operate with integrity and be true to your personal values and you will succeed!”

Sue Britton

FinTech Growth Syndicate
Founder and CEO 
LinkedIn
Sue Britton_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important? 
“Every day, but especially today on International Women’s Day, we celebrate women who are taking action for equality, raising awareness against bias, and challenging gender stereotypes. International Women’s Day means something different to each person, but the goal of equality belongs to everyone.” 
 

Anna Foat

Sun Life Financial 
Director, Global Digitial Transformation Office 
LinkedIn
Anna Foat_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has your experience been as a woman in financial services?
“It’s possible to leverage what might seem as outsider status to effect positive change if you have the gumption to live with being underestimated at least initially – because it can be the ultimate secret weapon to success.”
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“Jump in the deep end head first! We need you. Your perspective and input are critical. Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Then get to work to change the ratio.”

Juanita Gledhill

FinTech Growth Syndicate  
Human Resources Partner 
LinkedIn
Juanita Gledhill_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important?
“Because women cover the spectrum from achieving new formally impossible achievements, to still being sold in human trafficking, but mostly because they were once considered property like furniture and many still are – we MUST celebrate them so hope may live on for all women.” 

Elliott Fienberg

FinTech Growth Syndicate
Innovation Specialist 
LinkedIn
Elliott Fienberg_FInTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important?
“International Women’s Day is important to me because it’s a chance to celebrate all the fearless women I’ve had the chance to work with over the years. That’s why I say if you want to get something done ask a busy person, but if you want it to be successful put a woman in charge.”

Kate Grant

FinTech Growth Syndicate  
Director, FinTech Ecosystem 
LinkedIn
Kate Grant_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has your experience been as a woman in financial services?
“Being women in tech can be hard, recently, there has been a lot of action and chatter around diversity and inclusion, or D&I as many call it. I cannot express how happy I am these conversations are happening. People are standing up and taking action. While there are still some outliers that are ignoring this, the path is going in the right direction, we are getting there as a cohesive group. We are doing the right things by having everyone’s voice heard around the table.”
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“My advice for those entering the field FinTech, Finance or even tech generally is to ask for what you wanted don’t be afraid. You are just as good as anyone else around the table, go out there and get it. Find yourself a good mentor, someone who can guide you and keep you on the right path.”

Fate Saghir

Mackenzie Investments  
Head, SRI Investments 
LinkedIn 
Fate Saghir_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has your experience been as a woman in financial services?
“Overall my experience has been very positive. I’ve been exposed to the good and the bad; luckily I was able to navigate the bad. I’ve learned a ton and have had some supportive sponsors and mentors which is so important when trying to figure out your career.”
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“Go for it! This is such a critical industry and Canada is one of the best countries in the world to be in it. I would caution to select a firm that aligns with your values. Don’t go for the first job offer that you receive, make sure you’re working for a place that will value the knowledge that you bring to the table.”

Fruzan Nijrabi

FinTech Growth Syndicate 
Marketing Manager
LinkedIn
Fruzan Nijrabi_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important?
“International Women’s Day celebrates women paving the way in business, politics, academia, and society overall. It is important to shine a light on women and their achievements and raise awareness on issues we face today on gender imbalance and inequality worldwide.”

 

Ettan Romm

FinTech Growth Syndicate
Innovation Lead
LinkedIn
Ettan Romm_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important?
“International Women’s Day for me has deep importance and impact as a father of two daughters. I have a duty and obligation to show respect and recognize the contributions and sacrifices that are made by women, especially their mother and grandmothers who had trailblazed their path to greatness and turn all of their dreams into reality.”  

Elisabeth Laett

Holt Accelerator 
Managing Partner
LinkedIn
Elisabeth Laett_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has been your experience as a women in financial services? 
“Throughout my career I have often been the only women in the meeting room, which thankfully based on my upbringing never intimidated me. My father might have liked to have a son, but instead raised three girls to view us as equals on all levels, which was great but it meant that we also had to get our hands dirty, such as changing carburetors and spark plugs and wielding chain saws at the country place. We learn early that anything a boy could do a girl could equally do as well and vice versa.
I have always been technology focused in my career, thus taking advantage of the technology revolution in financial services was a natural evolution for me. I find that the environment for women in the financial services industry is better than other industries that I have experienced.” 
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“I am not sure if it is limited to financial services. I think for women it is about understanding their fears regarding taking bigger risks. This can be challenging as these are where the barriers start to come into play. If we do not have a 100% government funded maternity leave, women can be more expensive to employ as most companies top up the difference in the 50% of what the government pays for maternity leave. The good news is that things are changing and as we get more women in leadership roles we can better prioritize as well as impact the changes that will allow us to flourish on an equal level with our male counterparts.” 

Rachel Corvinelli

FinTech Growth Syndicate
Marketing and Communications Manager
LinkedIn
Rachel Corvinelli_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day important?
“International Women’s Day is important to me because it provides an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements as well as highlight the inequality that women face on a daily basis. By having a platform to share experiences, stories and advice, International Women’s Day is a day that inspires everyone to push for a brighter future.” 

Aamna Zia

Flare Systems 
Head of Growth and Finance 
LinkedIn
Aamna Zia_FinTech Growth Syndicate
What has been your experience as a women in financial services?
“As a woman, I find that there are both opportunities and needs. Working in financial services has been very rewarding especially when within a bank or in a FinTech, you are building solutions to improve financial inclusion.
The finance industry has often been a lonely and intimidating place. I’ve often found myself in boardrooms of some of the largest companies as the only woman at the table. As a leader, I believe that the financial services sector and FinTechs have the opportunity to drive not only financial inclusion but also drive change in business culture. By taking the lead on having more women in leadership and on boards, the financial services sector can set a great example.”
What advice would you give to women who are interested in a career in financial services?
“Don’t feel intimidated and ask for help. Find your supporters and mentors who can help you succeed and pay it forward.” 

Ainsley Murray

FinTech Growth Syndicate 
External Relations Manager 
LinkedIn
Ainsley Murray_FinTech Growth Syndicate
Why is International Women’s Day Important?
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate how women have impacted the world through business, politics, science, along with countless other ways that are inspiring a positive change in the world. International Women’s Day is an important part of raising women’s visibility and forging an equal world for women.”

FinTech Growth Syndicate (FGS) is an innovation advisory firm that is on a mission to re-shape the future of finance. At FGS, we believe that the future of finance cannot happen without equality and inclusion. 

We’re a dynamic team of FinTech experts, innovators, and designers who use research, knowledge, and insight to advise clients on the best FinTech solutions available. We help companies who realize the need for change, create solutions to get there. We believe there’s always a better way. 

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