Rachel BoothRachel is Senior Product Manager and Co-Founder of Mettle, the business account backed by NatWest. She is a Chartered Management Accountant with seven years’ experience in banking, specialising in corporate and SME businesses.

After four years at NatWest, Rachel turned her attention to developing fintech propositions and played a leading role in establishing Mettle within NatWest’s growing digital innovation arm.

Rachel has taken on a range of roles since Mettle’s inception, including designing the initial business model, setting up its customer operations and servicing model, and delivering Mettle’s core product to market. Rachel currently leads on the development of Mettle’s accounting and bookkeeping solutions and customer onboarding solutions. She has a deep knowledge of digital onboarding solutions, coupled with training in advanced customer due diligence, financial crime and anti-money laundering regulation for small businesses.

Rachel is passionate about creating and delivering solutions that respond to changing customer needs in a rapidly changing fintech industry.

Rachel was recognised in the Women in FinTech Powerlist for 2019.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m a Senior Product Manager and co-founder of Mettle, the business account backed by NatWest. I’m also a Chartered Management Accountant with seven years’ experience in banking, specialising in corporate and SME businesses.

After four years at NatWest, I turned my attention to developing FinTech propositions and played a leading role in establishing Mettle within NatWest’s growing digital innovation arm.

As a co-founder of Mettle, I’ve been involved in driving the product strategy and shaping the Mettle culture since day one. Understanding our customers and the challenges they face is vital to being able to develop user-focused outcomes and it’s something that I’m passionate about.

I’ve taken on a range of roles since Mettle’s inception, including designing the initial business model, setting up its initial customer operations and servicing model, and delivering Mettle’s core product to market. This resulted in me being awarded the Rising Star award for Women in FinTech Powerlist 2019, something that I’m incredibly proud of.

Customers are my passion point. Creating and delivering solutions that respond to changing customer needs in a rapidly evolving FinTech industry is incredibly rewarding.

I currently lead the Valuable Proposition team at Mettle and am responsible for delivering the strategy and direction of the team in the context of the wider Mettle vision. Some of my accomplishments include enabling in-app, end-to-end onboarding in minutes, and allowing our customers to share transactions in real time with their accounting software – which has turned out to be one of our most popular features.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I do and I don’t – I try to have a long term view but make sure it’s deliberately vague enough that it doesn’t restrict the here and now. I also spend time throughout the year working on my personal development plan to identify what I would like to do more of and the direction I want to take my career.

A very inspirational colleague of mine once suggested that I use holidays like Christmas to reflect on what I want for the following year. I’ve been doing this for several years now and found it really helps – I keep a journal because I love to write my thoughts down and use this to reflect on what I have, haven’t and would like to do.

A word of caution I would give is that you can’t predict every career move you might make – and you shouldn’t either. When I reflect on what I’ve done to date, more often than not, the opportunities have arisen because of the circumstances around me. I think what is better is to continue to push yourself and never stop learning. That way, when those opportunities do arise – probably when you least expect them – you’ll be ready to take them.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

When I was 7, I was diagnosed as dyslexic. I had struggled with reading and writing, and was below where I needed to be for my age group. However, I was lucky enough to have support throughout my childhood to manage this. I learned strategies and techniques to help me, which ultimately allowed me to go onto university and then study for my accounting qualification. I’ve used these strategies throughout my career.

I do still struggle with some daily tasks – I often mix up words, regularly have to read things several times, and can sometimes take longer to process new bits of information. Because of that, I often struggle with extreme tiredness, which can be particularly challenging when you are trying to grow your career.

I’ve learnt over the course of my education and career to take a lot of notes,  even if they are just rough. This helps me reflect and recap on aspects later down the line. I’ve also learned to be more visual in how I communicate and digest information.

I’ve only very recently have had confidence to tell colleagues about my dyslexia because I’ve always perceived it to be a weakness, and the thought of others knowing might mean I miss out on opportunities. However I’m pleased that since doing so, nobody has treated me differently and I wish I’d communicated this earlier in my career.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Co-founding Mettle has to be my biggest achievement.

I’m proud to have been involved in driving the product strategy and shaping the culture since day one. Being part of creating a new proposition that specifically serves the audience that it’s intended for is highly rewarding. Mettle truly leads industry innovation by focusing on this growing liquid workforce and smaller end of the SME scale, which traditional banks have been unable to do.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’ve never stopped learning. I ask questions regularly, I’m intrigued about things and I always want to expand my knowledge. This has given me a better understanding of different situations, contexts and domains which have allowed me to participate and contribute to new roles and responsibilities.

I would challenge everyone who starts to feel they’ve stopped learning to think about what they could do differently. Regularly thinking about how you could learn something new within your role, or a new role, across the networks you participate in and in your personal life. This way you will be able to constantly evolve and be motivated to achieve your goals.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

It’s important to really know the industry. Within FinTech for example, it’s crucial to be up to date on the key industry players and trends as well as ongoing discussion around innovation or regulation. Immersing yourself within the industry will help you to excel as your awareness of key opportunities and challenges will be valuable to tech businesses.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Yes, barriers still exist, it’s a historically male-dominated industry. However, the female tech market is growing with greater investment into products designed for women, by women.

I’m happy to see there are ever-growing opportunities for women within tech to grow their careers, develop innovative products and contribute to business success.

Bumble has just announced its plans to go public, making its CEO the youngest female to ever lead a company to IPO, along with its 73% female board members. I’m excited to see this progress within the industry and hope to see many more success stories in the near future.

While funding for women-led FinTechs is currently very low, Goldman Sachs recently revealed that businesses with women at the top have stronger financial value for shareholders and attract greater talent.

Therefore, creating a company culture and environment that attracts more women into roles should be a huge priority for the whole tech industry as the benefits are hard to ignore.

What do you think companies can do to support the careers progress for women working in technology?

As many remain working remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions, childcare is obviously a major barrier for many. Rather than marginalising mothers, working with female employees to achieve a more flexible schedule will provide multiple benefits for women as well the business. Collaboration and innovation happen when employees are engaged, motivated and feel invested in. Tech businesses should be looking at how they can support female careers and be more flexible to their external circumstances.

Companies should invest in the recruitment process and listen to their existing female employees to understand the key considerations they should have front of mind when supporting female careers.

As a female co-founder, I’m passionate and excited about helping to break barriers, and ultimately help build a more diverse business from the ground up.

At Mettle, we know that having great equality and diversity within the industry is hugely important, so that our product and proposition ultimately resonates and reflects the customers we serve. We also have a hugely successful female CEO, Marieke Flament, who is dedicated to diversity and equality within Mettle, and ensuring it remains forefront in the minds of senior leaders across the wider technology and financial service industries.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d definitely change the industry’s perception of women and ensure that investors and leaders realise the huge untapped potential that greater inclusion of women within tech can bring.

We are seeing progress being made slowly, but certainly not fast enough by any measure. I’d love to be able to draw greater attention to female pioneers and innovators to provide aspiring women in tech with female role models and examples of success.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’ve listed a range of resources below – some aren’t specifically aimed at women, but have all been recommended to me by the Women at Mettle as helpful resources.

Podcasts:

  • Tim Ferriss
  • How I build This – Guy Raz
  • Work Life with Adam Grant
  • CTRL ALT DELETE by Emma Gannon

Books:

  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  • How to Fail by Elizabeth Day

Reports:

  • The Kindness Economy by Mary Portas

Radio:

  • TED radio hour:

Online news:

  • Tech Crunch
  • Femstreet

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here