Marieke Flament is a respected technology leader and is currently heading up the European expansion of unique social payments app Circle. 

In February 2016 Marieke joined Circle as Managing Director of Europe, bringing with her over a decade’s experience in leading consumer and internet brands. Since her appointment Marieke has launched Circle in the UK, Ireland and Spain, is building a strong European team to spearhead the roll out across Europe. Her work has been recognised after she was shortlisted for the prestigious Women in IT award and most recently the Women in Finance Awards.

Here she shares her experiences of working as the Managing Director of a global technology company, the challenges she has faced and why she wants to see more women working in the sector.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked in technology for my entire career and have enjoyed both the highs and the lows. My technology journey actually started when I went to university and I was lucky enough to secure a place at Télécom ParisTech – the top French school for computer science. Since then I’ve never looked back and today I am the Managing Director of Europe for Circle, a company which is breaking boundaries in the finance sector by exploring the ways in which technology can be used to change the way we view, and use money. Leading a team at a company like Circle, which is at the forefront of new technologies and which is using blockchain technology to simplify our lives, is what motivates me every day.

It’s undoubtedly been a fantastic experience for me but it’s also been a steep learning curve as when I joined Circle, FinTech was an emerging industry. The most challenging thing so far remains building teams – in a start-up like Circle you don’t have the luxury of several hundreds of employees – every hire is key and will make a tremendous impact. When recruiting, we look for passion and for people who share our values and ambitions. Although it may sound cliché, we also look for team players who value a collaborative approach. It’s about working together and finding solutions to problems.

I believe passionately that we need to have more women working in the technology industry, after all the world is made up of 50 per cent women!

At the end of the day the challenges solved by technology and the products created are for everyone. The only way to shape products and technologies for all is to have a gender mix. Disappointingly according to figures in 2015, just 16 per cent of Facebook’s tech staff and 18 per cent of Google’s were female. This needs to change.

This is one of the reasons why last year Circle became a proud signatory of The Women in Finance Charter, led by HM Treasury. As a young fast-growing FinTech company, innovation is vital but so too is our passion for people. We want the right people for the job, whatever their gender.

A big challenge for women is standing up against the stereotype of the types of careers women should and should not be working in. Stereoptypes and biases are often the root cause of the issue and can cause a lot of self-doubt for women working or wanting to work in the tech sector. For a wannabe female techology entrepreneur any doubt will simply hold you back. You need to have an unswerving confidence in your own abilities and need a positive outlook especially during the more challenging times. My favourite saying is “optimism is a force multiplier”, remember that even if at first you don’t succeed then try again. Numerous famous start-ups tasted failure, but kept going, maybe pivoted, tweaked their business models until they reached the right formula for success.

Passion, resilience, and optimism are key attributes and as long as you have these then that’s half the battle.