Nicole Anderson is the founder of FinTech Circle Innovate, which works to establish financial services companies with support through innovation and investment. 
1. Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have never actually planned my career – but four years ago I knew I wanted to move into FinTech in an entrepreneurial capacity. I knew if I could combine my commercial, innovation and venture experience to the explosive growth and opportunity in FinTech – I knew I could make an impact especially given London is such a great platform.Nicole Anderson

  1. Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

In running any business you face challenges everyday but agility and problem solving is part of the deal. Living with uncertainty takes getting used to. The trick is to have structure, surround yourself with great talent and network and be relentless in your execution and self-belief.

  1. What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?

Having a mentor is a great idea at any stage in a career but even more so when you take on a leadership role for the 1st time. Gaining insight on how to manage time, demands of managing people, structures and targets/KPI’s are a complex mix and having an outside view is invaluable.

  1. When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

I would go with someone the right attitude. Enthusiasm and a self-starter who is creative and motivated is hard to find. Capability is one thing – but attitude is the X factor.

  1. How do you manage your own boss?

I don’t have one – I am the boss. I do have customers and that is who I answer to. I treat my customers with as much personal attention as possible. I believe people work with people they trust and like. And that relationships are the key to business.

  1. On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I begin each morning with a mediation practice. I am also a keen sports person and do some form of exercise every morning – swimming, running, gym or yoga. That sets me up for the day. I have long days as I work multiple time-zones but usually I end my day with time at home with my husband. It’s important to disconnect – although not always that easy. I find listening to music or podcasts / audio books a great way to disconnect.

  1. What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations

It’s important to work on proof points before aiming to get your profile raised. Get involved in projects that stretch you. Work on external networking. Make sure your social media profile is up to date and reflects who you want to be.

Ask for regular reviews with your manager to get feedback on progress and seek out a mentor in your organisation who you admire.

If you need to brush up in an area – build that into your formal training plan or request support to gain some external education.

Your career development is your responsibility. Say what you feel and don’t take things personally when given feedback. Treat input as a way to grow.

  1. How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

Hugely – I still have a mentor – who fortunately is also a partner. I gain huge value every day from his knowledge and style. I believe that you never stop learning. I would guard against perpetual coaching. And certainly getting too much input can be overwhelming and confusing. But you will know when you are inspired and are getting results that you are on the right track.

  1. Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker

150% – it’s the key to business success. Building confidence, key contacts, industry knowledge all come through networking. My tips would be to sign up to groups online that interest you and aim to attend 2-3 a month. Get involved in 1-2 projects that involve a networked group a year.

Make sure you use LinkdedIn and Twitter to feed/support these efforts and build out your circle.

  1. What does the future hold for you?

I am very excited about the opportunity I and my team have. The world of finance is changing radically through the impact of technology. This has radical implications for the way in which societies operate in the future. Our work with large enterprises trying to get to grips with how innovation affects their performance and future allows us to gain deep insight into their challenges and opportunities. We work with creative, dynamic and powerful people every day across the world.

And this is only set to expand. So who knows what the future truly holds but right now – it’s looking bright and very fulfilling.