Meet this weeks Unstoppable Woman of FinTech, Kelsey Weaver. Read more below on Kelsey’s journey in becoming a leading lady in the banking and fintech realms and more on her inspiring advice that has helped her in getting where she is today.
Q: How did you end up as a leader in the ((FinTech)) Industry? Briefly, what has your career journey looked like?
A: It definitely hasn’t been a linear road. :) I really “fell” into banking, as a compromise to move to California. I started on the media side, as Publisher of Bank Director, and at that time “fintech” was still a novel concept. After getting to know banks across the country, I saw the opportunity in connecting banking & fintech, which led me to create a new platform, FinXTech. From there I went into consulting and “connecting” as a full-time job, living in NYC. I eventually founded a fintech company that aimed at solving pain points for banks at their core and I help anyone I can in my spare time. :)
Q: Who // what inspires you most? Is there a quote you “live by”? Are there any mentors that have helped you get where you are today?
A: I’m inspired by truly genuine leaders- those who have built strong companies, invested in the growth of their employees, been open to new ideas and adapting their business and are humble enough to have a cup of coffee with. I’m also inspired by the bold entrepreneurs-no matter the industry – who have found a better way of doing things and have taken the leap to get their idea off the ground.
I love the quote: “you can’t solve today’s problems using the same thinking that was used to create them” or “only dead fish go with the flow” — I’ve always been a bit “against the grain”, and I’ll tell you my least favorite quote “that’s the way we’ve always done it”!
I’m lucky enough to have many mentors and an amazing support system: Bill King, Thomas Jankovich, Gregg Schoenberg, Siya Vansia, Oscar Ortiz, Margaret Hartigan, Patrick Rivenbark, Sarah Biller, Jason Henrichs, Danae & my entire FinTech Girl Gang — and last but not least, my one and only Bianca Spangler! (and many more!)
Q: What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
A: I am most proud of the friends and people I have in my life! I know that’s not an “accomplishment” per se, but relationships take time, commitment, and lots of communication. The people I am lucky enough to call friends make me proud & inspired on a daily basis.
Q: What advice would you give to young women looking to start a career in the industry? What skills do you find most helpful in this career?
A: Be kind, and be brave. Be willing to put in the work, and take the job that provides an opportunity for growth. Vet them as much as they vet you. Culture matters. Everyone you meet matters — not just those with big titles or pedigree. Think abundance vs scarcity.
Q: What does digital transformation mean to you and/ or your organization? What advances or trends in technology are you most excited about? Is there one piece of technology you can’t live without?
A: Digital transformation isn’t just about a sleek/sexy front end. To me, in banking, it’s just about modernizing. It’s about making the EMPLOYEE’S life better, as well as the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. Digital transformation is about finding efficiencies to improve delivery and mitigate risk/errors. While crypto is a big part of the conversation, I’m excited to see how different institutions implement blockchain to improve their infrastructure, enhance payments, and solve complex manual processes.
I’m a bit of a technology junkie – if the pandemic has shifted anything, it’s that I can no longer live without video calling!
Q: What do you see as the biggest, most pressing issue for women in our industry?
A: There aren’t enough of us! Also, gender bias is real. Women have a harder time getting funded, and we are pressured to act “like males” although I think our real strength is in our EQ & kindness (in addition to left-brain intelligence). It takes a thick skin and a lot of resilience to make it as a female in this industry!
Q: How can women (or allies) help other women advance within our industry?
A: I think we are underestimated and over-critical (of ourselves). We have to encourage others, build them up, and truly mean it. On top of that, we have to then follow our words with actions, not just lip service, and take the time to help others where we can, be it with connections, advice, or even just an ear. It’s a tough world out there!
Q: What are some of your favorite ways to spend your time outside of work? Any tips for relaxation and destressing?
A: Oh man! This list could go on for days!! My home looks like an arts & crafts store blew up. I rarely don’t have paint on my hands or clothes when working from home. I love making gifts and reading birth charts (astrology) — and I live in the Florida Keys as of March 2021. That’s a de-stresser in itself!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: While I’ll probably always have my foot in fintech and banking, my next move is going to be into an entirely different space, Biotech — announcing soon. I’m equal parts excited and terrified, but hoping to use my skills to help find less toxic solutions for cancer (with a focus on children, @sebastianstrong).
Also, I’m incredibly grateful and humbled to be asked to take part in this series. Thank you!!