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Insights from Griffin on International Women’s Day 2022

International Women's Day is a global celebration‍—‌and an opportunity to examine what else we can do to create truly inclusive and supportive cultures at work.

Portrait of Marianne Cassidy
Marianne CassidyTuesday 8 March 2022

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements and contributions of women everywhere, and an opportunity to examine what else we can do to create a working environment that is more inclusive and supportive.

To mark the occasion, we spoke to some of the women of Griffin about what equality means to them, what steps the fintech industry still needs to take to become a more equitable space, and advice for women navigating their career. Here’s what they said.

How do you think women leaders can help create a culture of inclusion and support more junior women in their field?

“To me, a culture of inclusion is about everyone in our industry being equal, regardless of their gender, sex, race, or any other characteristic. If equality for everyone is the end goal, equity is our means of getting there. For example, I get frustrated when discussions about gender equality are solely focused on enabling women in the workplace who have children. Many people don’t - and won’t - have children, others have different types of dependents, and some have none. The point of equity is that it recognises that everyone has their own individual needs‍—‌which may be influenced by their gender, sex, race. We need to support people as individuals so that everyone can reach their full potential. So, all leaders can help their junior colleagues, of any gender, by taking time to understand their needs and tailoring support to their personal circumstances.” - Anna O'Shaughnessy, Chief Risk Officer.

What do you think the industry needs to do to create more opportunities for women, and make sure it attracts and retains great female talent?

All industries, not just fintech, need to proactively promote and implement flexible working. This has happened somewhat naturally over the past two years as remote and flexible working has become a norm in many industries, allowing both women and men to strike a new balance between their work and home lives. Any company that is flexible enough to work with its employees and accommodate their needs at an individual level will create long-lasting loyalty and retain talent by default.” - Miroslava Betinova, Head of Fintech
One way that financial services and tech companies can attract and retain more women (and generally create a more diverse workforce) is by broadening the backgrounds and experiences of candidates they consider. Whether it’s considering software engineering candidates from bootcamp programs or bringing in marketing hires from a completely different industry, there are crucial transferable skills that often get overlooked. Hiring candidates from diverse backgrounds allows for a wider talent pool and can help tech companies avoid groupthink as they innovate and scale.” - Laura Hauser, VP Marketing

As someone who works in a male-dominated industry, do you have any female role models who have supported or inspired you?

I have plenty of female role models in tech that I’m very proud and grateful to have worked with. I think that we tend to look for role models in people who have had similar experiences to ourselves. For me, having female role models is a source of inspiration, because it demonstrates that women can succeed in this field too. Plus, I think women in tech have a special way of supporting each other, probably because there are so few of us!” - Thais Cavalar, Backend Software Engineer
“Fintech is the first overwhelmingly male-dominated field I’ve worked in. I’m regularly in awe of the women I work with, especially those on the Griffin Executive team‍—‌they’re extremely smart, highly principled, and I learn so much from them. I also feel very fortunate to work for a tech company where so-called “soft skills” are hired for and valued in everyone who works here‍—‌not just women‍—‌just as much as technical expertise. This culture make us unique, and if this became an industry norm it would hopefully encourage more women to pursue careers in tech.” - Annie McCullagh, Executive Assistant

What do fintechs need to be doing to make sure their inclusion efforts are impacting all women?

If you want to create genuinely diverse teams, you need focus on creating psychological safety‍—‌which means that everyone feels that their opinions are heard and valued, their ideas are taken seriously, and their criticisms are understood. Fintechs should prioritise  developing and sustaining cultures of psychological safety, where trust and respect are foundational principles. But to be clear, this isn’t a quick fix: trust and safety are built through repeatedly showing up, through dependably and visibly doing the right thing (like pay equality), and through vigilantly spotting and quashing bias wherever it pops up.” - Maria Campbell, VP of People

What advice would you give to other women starting out on their careers in banking, finance, or tech?

Find a great mentor.
Establish healthy work-home boundaries from the get-go and stick to them.
Be confident and go for roles even if you only know how to do some of it‍—‌you’ll figure out the rest faster than you think.
Stop apologising when you are not at fault‍—‌in my experience, many women take on responsibility (and guilt) which isn’t theirs to own.
Be yourself. The emotional labour of pretending to be someone else at work is extremely draining.
- Anna O'Shaughnessy, Chief Risk Officer.

At Griffin, we strive to create an inclusive culture that treats people as individuals and gives them the autonomy they need to do great work. We aim to empower everyone‍—‌and create new avenues for women from all walks of life to break down barriers in the fintech space and beyond. Learn more about our culture.