Reflections on Women in FinTech

By Sophie Bialaszewski, Head of People Transformation, Lloyds Banking Group

I can recommend starting your day with a group of talented men and women who want to come together to challenge the status quo. It’s a motivator! This is how my day started last Wednesday with the launch of the inaugural women in FinTech peer to peer working group.

We had a full house with representations from the big banks, consultancies, legal firms, RegTechs, FinTechs, InsurTechs and challengers. We started the morning with intros and why people wanted to attend. Here’s the most common reasons people wanted to be at the meeting:

  • To be part of the bigger picture
  • To learn how we can support each other
  • To work together to attract more women to apply for tech roles
  • To tackle unconscious bias
  • To challenge the status quo
  • To hear different perspectives
  • To learn from what is working for others
  • To take action

We had four key themes we wanted to explore during the session; mentoring/networking, raising capital, skills and talent and recruitment. I chaired the round tables on mentoring and networking. We are a diverse bunch. That’s the beauty and the challenge. There is no silver bullet or one size fits all approach but people overwhelmingly wanted personalisation to their circumstance; to their work life balance.

When events should be held was a topic that had a diverse spectrum of answers from those with caring responsibilities preferring morning and in work time whilst others preferred the evening when the working day had done and they could throw themselves in with no baggage from the working day. As with many things we will need to do both; to approach events with inclusivity.

There were also overwhelming similarities:

  • We pretty much unanimously hate the word networking and actively avoid these events. We want to meet new people but hate the forced nature of networking. We would rather have a content driven event and meet people as a by product
  • Formal mentoring programmes whilst some success most felt these were not quite right and a more organic approach would lead to better relationships. We felt that knowing who was willing to mentor or would like a mentor is more interesting, create an environment for connections to be made (remember content over networking) and we let people go from there
  • Awareness and access to what’s out there already is still a key issue (whether you’re looking for capital, talent, mentoring etc) and a way to bring all these together into one place was viewed as he first helpful step

I loved that we time boxed each session and focused on challenges, bright spots and gaps as everyone in the room clearly wanted to do something, to take action to make his better for ourselves and for others. We had a lot of in-house knowledge in the room of programmes that had worked well, how we support the cross pollination of greatness was a key take away from me.

Our next step is to take all of the ideas to our members and vote on he three they want to take forward and then – we get moving and changing! Come and join us!