Women in fintech: every business leader needs to embody the values around equality
#WomeninFinTech highlights leading women in the fintech space, who are driving innovation and paving the way for change in the industry. Here, InsurTech Rising 365 talks with Carolina Vicente, Marketing Director (Consumer/B2C) at Collinson Group, about her work in the insurance sector.
How did you start your career?
My tech and marketing career started when I left my hometown in Lisbon for the city of Dublin, to join a young, vibrant and entrepreneurial company called Google. Back then, Google was not a company everyone knew about, but for those who did, it was seen as a really cool company to work for (which is very much still the case I believe!), and most of my friends and family were very excited for me. I joined the team when Google had just opened their EU Headquarters over just a couple of floors in a building near the docklands. The time I spent there was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding career experiences I’ve had so far, both on a personal and professional level.
What was your lightbulb moment?
I think the technology space is an incredibly exiting place to be in – and it has been so for a number of years now. Personally, I believe the martech and fintech spaces within the wider technology context, are where some very exciting developments are taking place in terms of creating better experiences and simplifying everyday life.
My lightbulb moment was when I realised the tech industry is going to be the single most important factor in shaping how other industries and human experiences will evolve. For me, the sheer scale and significance of what this means, has driven me to pursue career choices that keep me immersed in the tech world.
Why do we see so few women in tech and finance?
At a deeper level, I think this is a significantly more complex issue than what it might initially seem from the surface level. I believe the gender gap we see today in certain professions, is a result of decades of deep rooted cultural nuances, where gender roles have been stereotyped to portray men and women in a certain way. Ultimately, what each generation gets exposed to as young children, will determine their choices later in life.
Bringing it back to the tech and finance sectors, I think the gender gap issue is different for each industry. In tech, I would argue that the fact less women choose to pursue a career in this space is largely due to degrees being positioned in such a way that they become more appealing to men than women. This really accelerated in the 80’s, where computers started being sold as ‘toys for boys’.
In the finance industry, I would say the gender gap comes from decades of legacy of a male dominated culture, which aligns with wider social issues around gender stereotypes.
What advice do you have for women starting out their career in tech?
The advice I would give women starting their career in tech is no different from the advice I’d give anyone else in any other industry: Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your learning journey is over. Make sure you stay on top of what is happening in the world and how that affects you/your market. Invest in furthering your education whenever you can and keep learning on the job.
Put yourself forward when different opportunities arise and don’t shy away from pursuing something you want to do just because you might think others are better qualified than you are.
Why is the #WomeninTech movement important?
Equality in the global tech industry should be at the forefront of every business leader’s agenda. The #WomeninTech movement is great for raising awareness surrounding this matter. Having said that, every business leader needs to embody the values around equality, as much as women should take the movement to feel empowered to take positive steps towards a more equal workplace.
What will the future of insurtech look like?
With increased access to better data sets, a helping hand from automation and the on-going improvements around machine learning, the opportunities will be unprecedented, in my opinion.
Insurance will move towards a more all-encompassing protection cover around the people and things we most care about, and the tailoring of those cover solutions will be entirely data driven. Insurance to fit each lifestyle and each individual or business need, if you will.
Particularly with data sets arising form connected homes, connected devices and connected cars, I believe the proposition around what insurance is and what it can deliver (and how it is delivered at the point of claim, including how the claim happens) will also change substantially in the coming years. I think it’s a very exciting time to be observing this shift, even if a challenging one, as we face a fundamental lack of regulatory directives that are fit for this new reality approaching.