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Katharine Wooller has had a long UK fintech career, as Investment Director at industry leading peer-to-peer lender, and in senior roles at a specialist investment banking SAAS supporting tier one banks, asset managers and hedge funds.  More recently she has held advisory roles for blockchain businesses and is currently MD for a retail crypto exchange. She leads the Women Who Crypto initiative. 

Here, Katharine tells us what she wished she had known throughout her career journey.

Find Role Models

Admittedly, finding the perfect role models is easier said than done. In some of the businesses I’ve worked the male headcount has been as high as  99 per cent, so always feel free to look for inspiration outside your current network.  Find those you respect, wish to emulate, and source their guidance, either in person or by following the content they put out; never have leaders been so accessible via social media channels.

I also like having a ‘pick and mix’ of inspiration.  For me, I aspire to think outside the box like Anne Boden of Starling Bank, possess the quiet resolve of Theresa May, the positivity for the future of Cynthia V Davis, the spirit of Ginger Rogers.

Build your crowd

Women are, I think, essentially a social creature.  Surround yourself with like-minded women, you’ll likely find they are supportive, nurturing and natural networkers.   Ideally with an active WhatsApp Group, so you can keep in touch, and share the daily highs and the lows.  I believe that your ‘vibe’ attracts your tribe, and a significant number of opportunities are sourced on recommendation before they hit a broader audience.

It therefore pays dividends to be honest about what’s going well, or not, and what you are currently lacking; you may well be pleasantly surprised who you know and importantly, who they know! Crowd-sourcing solutions is a rich and often ignore vein of brilliance.   I host a regular ‘Women who Crypto’ online meet ups, where recent events have attracted 130 attendees, and I never cease to be amazed by the levels of support and inspiration in the content generated. ‘Women Who Crypto’ came from a simple idea that was crystallised from the amount of interest women had in wealth creation through cryptocurrency. By harnessing that thought and carefully structuring the approach, Women Who Crypto has become a great way of building a ‘like-minded’ crowd and a place where new friendships are cultivated..

No career trajectory is linear 

In my personal experience, no single job is ever the game changer, rather that each role brings its own unique set of challenges, learning and opportunity.  The portfolio career is increasingly common, and of course it is highly likely that coronavirus recession will rewrite some of the career planning rules we have hitherto held as self-evident.  Most people, at best, have had a job that didn’t work out, and alas too many spend years in a role they loathe, didn’t match up to expectation or they disagree with the general direction of travel for the business.

Whilst an unfulfilling job can quickly become disheartening, there are many reputable and talented recruitment professionals who will assist you in deciphering what parts of your current role and skillsets are marketable and will help navigate you into more fulfilling territory. Remember, it has often been said that few people entering the jobs market today will have  a job for life.

Define your value set 

It is much easier to navigate roles, bosses and career decisions when you take the time to analyse what motivates and fulfils you.  Too many talented women are stuck in jobs that do not cater for their emotional needs.  Personally, I have found retail business that build wealth, and disruptive agile start-ups the most interesting, and have certainly delivered my best work in these environments.

There is a huge amount of free content online around personal value setting to guide better decision making, which is time well spent.    You may be surprised that it throws up, and will assist you in working with businesses, colleagues, and projects that bring you joy.

In conclusion, fintech, in my experience and opinion is a very welcoming and fast-moving industry.  I am delighted to meet so many talented and motivated women.  One of my favourite quotes, is from the indomitable Charlotte Whitton, who in 1951 was elected the first female mayor of a major city in Canada:  “Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good”.

I am upset to sometimes to see this quote without the latter section: “luckily this is not difficult”.  We have more opportunity that the generations before us, and now is the time to make it count!

Katharine WoollerAbout the author:

Katharine Wooller is managing director, UK and Eire, Dacxi – a digital crypto fintech platform specialising in bringing cryptocurrency to the ‘crowd’.

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