Behalf’s Leaders Discuss the Changing Landscape for Women in FinTech
For decades, FinTech has been a male-dominated field, and for the most part, it still is. Today, women make up only 8% of FinTech board of director roles across Europe and the US.
The lack of women in corporate leadership roles is in the spotlight, and while discussions are necessary, so is action. Research shows that a range of diverse perspectives can have considerable impacts on a company’s outcomes. A 2017 study from the Harvard Business Review found that teams solve problems faster when more cognitive diversity exists among them.
At Behalf, we believe in the impact and importance of diversity within our organization, and we are proud to be changing the FinTech landscape. Women make up more than 40% of our team, working across and leading departments from Sales and Product to Compliance and Risk.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we would like to acknowledge our remarkable leaders by giving them a platform to talk about the opportunities – and challenges – they’ve experienced as women in the FinTech industry.
Keep reading to hear from our Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Bramlage, Chief Compliance Officer Amber De Volk, Vice President of Sales Andrea Jagdmann, and Vice President of Human Resources Michal Prato on their experiences as women working in this industry.
What are the biggest opportunities you’ve experienced as a woman in FinTech?
Andrea Jagdmann (VP/GM Sales and Account Management): I think as a woman leader in sales, you get to bring a unique perspective to the job. We have a very young sales team, so I have really enjoyed helping them develop strong strategies that they can carry on throughout their careers.
Amber De Volk (CCO): If a company must ensure that it is giving equal opportunities to all genders and wants to attract female candidates, then FinTech is a great field based on that alone.
At Behalf, Benjy Feinberg, the CEO, makes it so that all ideas are welcome at all levels, and there is a lot of creative freedom to bring innovation forward. But at other jobs, women may not feel this is the case.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered as a woman in FinTech?
Elizabeth Bramlage (CMO): One thing I find challenging is learning how to connect with other female leaders – both inside and outside of the company – as confidants and business partners. I believe women can never truly accomplish their goals in the workforce, and especially in tech, if they don’t support one another – not just publicly but privately. Women can be strong communicators. When competitive barriers are removed they can become unstoppable teams.
Andrea: One of the biggest challenges has been finding mentors and networking with other women in leadership across the industry.
Amber: Behalf is the first company I’ve worked for that didn’t have a ‘boys club.’ I truly feel like an individual and that my gender does not matter. In previous situations, I encountered people telling me that women were not welcome in the boardroom, or that women made “too much noise” when demonstrating the same leadership skills that were rewarded when displayed by men.
Why do you think there is a lack of women in tech roles?
Andrea: This is such a complicated issue – and I don’t think there is one reason that drives the lack of women in FinTech. I think the most important thing is to continue to recruit and support women in the industry, because women bring about a strong team culture.
Amber: Growing up with a father and grandfather who were engineers, I saw that it was mostly a male-dominated field. When you don’t see other women in a particular field, it can definitely impact whether you want to pursue that field. I’m glad to see today that more and more women are being recruited and entering into technology roles.
Michal Prato (VP of HR): I think it is still considered a “man’s environment” that requires hours of investment outside of the home. Thankfully, Behalf promotes a work/life balance for all employees.
What are the added values of working within a diverse team?
Andrea: I am a huge believer in diversity, because diversity helps prevent groupthink. When you get out of your own echo chamber, you make better decisions and you become far more nimble in your response to the market.
Amber: I personally always find myself ending up with a diverse team regardless of trying or not. Diversity brings a richness in culture and perspective that I find rewarding and helpful when a progressive approach is warranted. I love working within the world of technology and supporting technical experts, no matter their gender, in their efforts to create dynamic products.
Michal: Diverse teams bring different aspects and points of views to the table. It’s easier to solve problems and to be creative when you’re surrounded by people with different backgrounds.
How does Behalf encourage and support women in tech?
Elizabeth: Benjy Feinberg and his brother and Co-founder, Shai Feinberg, are committed to the cause of giving people opportunities. As a result of their ideology, Behalf has hired a roster of women in leadership, across marketing, compliance, product, HR, risk and sales functions.
For an Israeli company to have this many women in senior leadership is truly an exception to the rule. The fact that this pattern is also mirrored in the U.S. office is what makes it even more exceptional. It is a great step forward to see women leading the day-to-day decision-making process and witness their support for one another.
It’s clear the women at Behalf have taken up the mantle of the responsibility they have been given. They’re committed to paying it forward by hiring more women in risk, sales, marketing, product and compliance. They’re mentoring and serving as role models for these young women as they too rise up the ranks and become the next generation of leaders in tech.
Thanks for joining in our celebration of women in FinTech and the contributions of women at Behalf who make our company what it is today.
Are you interested in becoming a part of Behalf’s team? View our available positions.