June 10th, 2014 Women in FinTech


On 6/10 Tuesday evening, OfficeLeaseCenter.com attended Meetup event “Women in FinTech: A Panel Discussion” organized by fin-tech.org - San Francisco and sponsored by The Vault, a collaborative incubator community of tech startups in San Francisco's Financial District.

Not quite a lean-in kind of panel discussion – the panelists shared with the Meetup group their experiences being female leaders in FinTech, and more importantly, how to get more women leaders in the FinTech ecosystem.

Five amazingly talented female Entrepreneurs, Investors and Operators from the FinTech were presented to give insights to more than 140 FinTech enthusiasts. Among the demographic figure, there was a fairly good mix of both male and female across different age groups. The panel discussion included:


Katie Nienow, Moderator (@KatieNienow) - Founder and Head of BD, Juntos Finanzas


Renee DiResta (@NoUpside) - Principal at Oreilly Alpha Tech Ventures

Mary Lemmer (@Me_Lem) - Author, "Straight from the Investors Mouth"; Formerly Director at SoFi & early stage VC


Claire McDonnell (@clairethere) - Founder, TrueLink Card


Ginger Schmeltzer (@Gschmeltzer), Fiserv; Emerging Payments

The organizer realized that the media has covered a range of stories over the past 6 months about women in business or attitudes towards women. So they threw three big questions for the panelists to address:

1. What are the challenging experiences?

2. How to encourage more women in workforce or management?

3. How to move the challenges or problems forwards?

Renee DiResta started off the discussion by pointing out the lack of mentorship on Wall Street or the FinTech ecosystem at large. Female leaders in FinTech will often time, in search of a reasonable management style. She thinks the biggest problem is the lack of either female of male mentors for female to look up for proper management style.

Claire McDonnell then addressed how she feels it’s more difficult for female leaders to close (fundraising) deals, but she emphasized that it’s only her personal perspective, not necessarily applicable to every female leader.

In terms of encouraging more women in management, Mary Lemmer gave her perspective that besides getting mentorship, women should be more confident, willing to ask for help and to learn to say no; women should not be afraid to be over-confident or talk too much.

Finally, all panelists came to consent that in order to move the challenges forward, both males and females should consider being mentors of women. At the same time, companies in FinTech should re-evaluate their interviewing mechanics to make sure things as simple as job descriptions should orient towards both females and males. The interviews should aim to hire the best person, not based on their gender, to make sure the team is diverse.