I was fortunate enough to have some strong female role models early on in my career who inspired me to have faith in my decisions and stay true to my values. 

My first role within financial services was at Barclaycard, where two of the top leaders at the time were female, including my CEO. Having a lot of mentors to look up to gave me great foundations to build from. I’ve always remembered their guidance as I’ve progressed to where I am today, in the C-suite at a dynamic FinTech company. 

So, in that spirit, I want to pay it forward and pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned in hopes of encouraging other women following a similar path into tech and FinTech.

Entering the boys’ club

The FinTech industry is characterised by tech progress and innovation, but it can still be very much a boys’ club at times. Women, ethnic minorities, and those from deprived socioeconomic backgrounds are still underrepresented – particularly at senior and board-level positions. 

It can be daunting for people from these groups to take their first steps into the still somewhat male (and white) dominated industry. It’s important to remember your core values, what your purpose is, and see past and imbalance – we are all just people and most people are on the same path to make the industry more diverse.

It’s only natural to feel nervous when starting out in your career. You might be fresh out of school or university and entering the workforce for the first time. Or you could be further up the ladder in mid-management or in the C-suite even for established professionals when changing roles later on. Imposter syndrome can affect even the most accomplished people, and you might doubt your abilities every now and then.

Confront our fears

When imposter syndrome starts creeping in, you need to remind yourself that in today’s fiercely competitive job market, you’ve been selected as the top person for the job on merit. The company hiring or promoting you has done so because you’ve been identified as having the attributes needed to contribute to the company’s success. 

I’m a firm believer in taking the time to pat yourself on the back when you’ve done something well. Have the confidence to believe that you’ve got what it takes to make a positive difference.  

And remember that true success is not rooted in perfection, but instead in the confrontation of our fears. The fear of failure and the constant worry of being perceived as an imposter can either paralyse or propel us. Don’t let fear stop you. None of us feel like we have it all figured out all of the time – whatever level we operate in – and that’s perfectly fine. Fear can be a powerful catalyst for growth, pushing us to become the best versions of ourselves.

‘If you’re not close to your customers, get close’

Here are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind:

Seek help and advice: Seeking help and advice is not a weakness but a strength. Don’t be afraid of not knowing everything; some of my biggest lightbulb moments have come from other people’s words of wisdom. It’s a testament to self-awareness and strength to recognise when support is needed.

Embrace your mistakes: Your biggest learnings will come from your mistakes, so don’t be afraid of getting things wrong. Instead, acknowledge, learn, and embrace continuous improvement. Perfection is not the goal; it’s progress that truly matters.

Take on new challenges: Don’t be afraid of taking on new challenges even if you don’t feel 100% ready. The truth is, we rarely ever feel entirely ready for new roles, but the 20% you don’t know yet is the driving force that propels you forward. After all, where’s the thrill in a role that you’ve already mastered? Venturing into the unknown is where real growth happens.

Use your voice: Never be afraid to use your voice. In a world that often demands conformity, speaking up is an act of empowerment. Whether it’s challenging the status quo or expressing your opinions, your voice matters. It’s through facing fear that we find the courage to navigate the complexities of business, emerging stronger, wiser, and authentically ourselves.

To create big change, start small: It may sound counterintuitive, but if everyone did something positive each week just to get one percent better – whether it’s for their own personal growth, career development, or encouraging others – it can make a huge impact over the long term. Think about how you can do those one percent changes to move things forward every day. For example, if there is just one or two women sitting at the table in a room full of men, they may not feel 100% comfortable. You can help by introducing yourself and kickstarting the conversation. Forming mentorship or support networks with like-minded women can be a huge support in male-dominated industries. 

Change is happening 

As with any male-dominated industry, women can encounter challenges and come up against a lack of diversity. It can be disheartening to walk into a meeting or boardroom to find you’re the only woman there. It’s happened to me throughout my career. There is a shift happening, but women need to be proactive in making it happen. 

At Tribe, a lot of our ongoing work is focused on encouraging and championing women. Right now, roughly a third of our senior leadership team are women, and in technical roles, women lead in IT project management (89%) and implementation (59%). 

The lack of diversity in tech and FinTech is changing, just not as fast as we’d like. Ultimately, if you want to create change for you and other women, have the courage to seize the opportunities in front of you. 

Be that inspirational role model that makes a difference. Build the mentoring and support networks that can instil confidence in other women. That’s how you can pay it forward in your own way.

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