My name is Miriam Ballesteros, a 29-year-old from Barcelona who never really considered herself much of an advocate for women until starting to work in FinTech.
I was first introduced to you by Asya Bradley and Sara Koslinska at
Money2020. They mentioned you, and what you bring to the table through Ellevest: a platform that aims to serve female investors’ needs by considering women’s incomes and life cycles.
I thought it was brilliant.
Since then, I've been reading more and more about you —from your biggest accomplishments as a finance legend, to being fired twice on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. And I have to say, I was inspired.
So, let me say this straight: you’re somebody that I personally (and all women in FinTech everywhere) can learn *a lot* from.
The power of diversity in FinTech IS diversity
First off, I’m so so SO happy you’re actively promoting the unique and powerful qualities we women tend to bring to the workforce: greater relationship focus, risk-awareness, long-term perspective, drive for meaning and purpose, and love of life-long learning,
to name a few.
These qualities already drive strong company performance —and will only increase as more women are in the FinTech space.
At the same time, Sallie, I love that you recognize that diversity isn’t just gender; it’s also the cognitive diversity that comes from different backgrounds, educations, orientations, ethnicity, religions, and experiences, that helps pull the switch.
You see how important the tech industry is worldwide, and you know it’s more open to diverse backgrounds than the more traditional financial ecosystem.
But research is clear:
"Women represent just 29% of staff in the FinTech sector." - EY and Innovate Finance, September 2017
The fact of the matter is we can’t deny that there are women in FinTech. We have the Women in FinTech Powerlist to testify
to that. The only problem? Such labels celebrate anecdotal, rather than systemic success.
Women are over-mentored (and under-sponsored)
In interviews, articles, and blog posts you’ve made it clear; there are mentors, and then there are sponsors.
Both play key roles in burgeoning careers, and yet many women don't know the difference between them:
- Mentors → respond your career questions.
- Sponsors → respond your career questions and fight for you at work when you’re not in the room.
Honestly, I used to think "let me find a mentor so I can advance faster my career", until you helped me realize what really what matters is finding the people who will help you rise through your organization, and get paid.
It’s that simple.
Mind the gap —and close it
If there’s ONE major thing I’ll always be grateful to you for, that is your Mind the gap guide.
It hit me on so many levels because I had absolutely no idea we women have so many gender gaps to close apart from the pay one. That includes work achievement, debt, investing, funding, pricing, and the unpaid labor gaps. Sounds like we still have a lot
to do, right?
The content of this guide should be taught at schools from age five. No kidding.
A final thought
I’m aware that it's *the best* time in history to be a professional woman. All the issues we face today are, frankly, first-world problems compared to how far we’ve come.
But, as you put it:
“We aren’t fully equal with men until we’re financially equal with men.”
And I’d add that there’s no better sector than FinTech to work towards that goal.
Thank you, Sallie, for encouraging me to take even more ownership of my career and my finances.