This October at The Fintech Times is all about shining a spotlight on the incredible women working in the fintech industry, sharing their greatest achievements, their biggest challenges and how they can make a difference through mentorship and collaboration.
Though progress has been made to reduce the gender gap in fintech, the industry still has far to go until it hits true representation and champions full equality.
To help highlight the influential and significant contributions of women to the industry, we asked influential fintech leaders (who just so happen to be women) to share their thoughts on the importance of mentorship and knowledge sharing when fostering women’s talent in the industry.
A diverse future
Eliza Arnold, Founder at 401k provider, Arnie, said:
“Mentorship and knowledge sharing are invaluable. They offer women in fintech tailored guidance, insights from experienced professionals, and a chance to broaden their horizons. In an industry that is often male-dominated, fostering women’s talent through mentorship can pave the way for their success and build a more diverse future for fintech.”
Navigate the challenges
Jena Gruenebaum, director of client advocacy at Marygold & Co., an all-in-one banking and payment services app, said:
“The goal of mentorship should be to provide guidance, support and encouragement. For women in fintech, it can enhance confidence in their abilities and underscore that they absolutely belong at the table. Mentors can also help navigate the systemic challenges women face across many industries, like overcoming biases and balancing personal and professional workloads in a way that often doesn’t affect men to the same degree. Women who have come before them and advanced their careers can be crucial in providing guidance.”
Lifeblood of progress
Lissele Pratt, co-founder of payments and banking solutions provider, Capitalixe, said:
“Mentorship and knowledge sharing are the lifeblood of progress in the fintech industry, especially when fostering women’s talent. Let me be clear: They’re not just important. They’re absolutely crucial. In an industry that’s historically been dominated by men, mentorship becomes a powerful tool for levelling the playing field.
“It’s not just about imparting technical skills. No, mentoring is about sharing the unwritten rules, the unspoken nuances, and the invaluable insights that can only come from experience. Mentors essentially tell budding female fintechers, “You belong here, and I’m here to help you succeed.” Mentoring relationships tend to involve members of the same gender. This highlights the need for more women to step into mentorship roles, providing guidance, support, and a clear path for the next generation of women in fintech.”
A pivotal role
Jodi Neiding, vice president, Americas banking portfolio at financial transaction systems provider, Diebold Nixdorf, said:
“In a safe environment, mentorship allows women to focus on personal and professional growth. It also enables open discussion on gender-related challenges they face at the workplace, offering valuable advice on career advancement. Frequently, mentees may feel uncomfortable reporting these challenges to their leaders, but mentors can objectively address and manage these issues, even allowing for anonymous discussions.
“Mentorship plays a pivotal role in advocating for women in the workplace. Often, women need to self-promote themselves or may feel uncomfortable promoting their successes. As a result, their contributions can sometimes be overlooked, especially when peers actively self-promote their work.”
A Trusting Relationship
Amanda Reierson, CMO at credit-first fintech Avant, said:
“Mentorship is key. Some of the most influential people in my career have taken a personal interest in my development and were advocates for me when there were not a lot of women at the table. I now am committed to paying that effort forward; I take particular care to empower women at every level within the organisation to advocate for themselves and their achievements.
“An important trait as a mentor and a leader is to be vulnerable. I’m happy to transparently share my experiences with both challenges and successes so others can learn from them This is a challenging attribute to incorporate into work life, but I think others can leapfrog forward if they can learn from – rather than replicate – my mistakes. And it can set the tone for a trusting relationship.”
Preetha Pulusani, CEO of DeepTarget, a digital marketing platform for financial institutions, said:
“Based on my own experience, mentorship is crucial in advancing talent of any type in the industry. Women’s talent in particular can flourish with the right mentors.
“Mentors with seasoned experience and related wisdom provide a trusted ear when you need professional advice. In my own case, my mentors were rather senior in the company, with an eye for leadership potential, talent and identifying barriers in the way of leveraging this talent. They offered up their time and guidance, with patient listening skills. They even ran interference within the organisation when it was merited. You felt like they truly had your back.
“When that type of mentorship is available, you feel like it’s possible to aim high and even move mountains! From their wisdom, I gained confidence in my own abilities enabling me to take calculated risks in navigating my career path and choices. My mentors were an invaluable asset indeed.
“Mentorship is a winning strategy to close the gender gap in business leadership which can lead to more diverse perspectives and more successful organisations. Having women in leadership serve as role models and mentors can be game-changing for women as they progress from the early stages of their careers.”