For the 3rd edition of Benzinga’s Women in FinTech event, host Jordan Robertson hosted Flori Marquez of BlockFi, Jessica Willis of Pocketnest and Dale Sperling of Stash. Women in FinTech is a YouTube series by Benzinga that premieres every Tuesday in March at 10:30 a.m. EST.
While this event features trailblazers in their respective fields to celebrate Women’s History Month, Women in FinTech is, in essence, meant to continue Benzinga’s mission of empowering all people to achieve prosperity. financial through education and a fearless approach to trying new things.
If you didn’t have a chance to see it, you can watch the replay here:
Women in FinTech: our guests
Dale Sperling, Marketing Director of Stash
Hideout is an application that simplifies investing and Dale is in charge of a team managing client growth and engagement as well as public relations and communications.
Dale started his career in FinTech after working with one of Stash’s original co-founders at an EduTech start-up. As the startup “took a turn,” as Dale put it, she discovered a love for working in the startup environment and working in technology.
When Dale realized that over 100 million people in the United States were not investing due to perceived accessibility barriers, his acquired skills and timing were perfectly positioned to create a platform like Stash.
Jessica Willis, Founder and CEO of Pocketnest
Pocketnest is a comprehensive digital financial planning platform designed specifically to meet the needs of Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z investors, bringing the full certified financial planner experience to those seeking a more relationship. modern with a consulting service that those, say, baby boomers have with theirs.
Jessica started Pocketnest with over 20 years of experience in the personal financial services industry. Her credentials include a financial advisor, a financial planner, a certified financial planner (CFP) and a certified private wealth advisor. Jessica describes Pocketnest’s target population as anyone “looking for a more technologically efficient way to do comprehensive financial planning.”
Flori Marquez, co-founder + SVP of BlockFi
Flori is the co-founder of BlockFi, a platform bringing together institutional financial products and retail consumers with non-traditional assets such as cryptocurrency. These products aim to provide better returns than what your average financial institution can offer.
BlockFi offers 3 products:
- The BlockFi interest account where you exchange your money for stablecoins and earn interest on your balance
- Buying, selling and trading cryptocurrency
- Crypto-backed loans
Flori started working in a finance and loan company which was eventually taken over by another company, but Flori really wanted to continue working in the start-up space. His expertise already included the creation of traditional financial products. Flori saw this opportunity as a way to bring useful American financial products to a global market and increase accessibility to those products for those who would normally face barriers in obtaining them – including her family in Argentina, a major motivation for his work.
Work in a male dominated industry
When asked if she has ever faced challenges working in a male dominated field that has given her unique skills to help her excel, Dale said, “Definitely being a communicator … being a mom now … has been beneficial to me. If you go to more traditional experiences, having that moment in your life where you want to start a family, but you have to continue your career, that’s definitely a challenge.
“These times and challenges only make us stronger as individuals and give us that skill set and accessible space to really persevere. I think it all made me become the person I am now and I think it helps women all over the world to have them. challenges and be able to overcome them. “
Jordan asked Flori if there had been a time when she had felt intimidated about working in the industry and if so, how did she deal with those feelings.
Flori said: “Yeah, I think it can certainly be intimidating, especially because I work in financial services and crypto and start-ups, so the female population is getting smaller and smaller. I think during … it’s difficult sometimes, I was definitely the only woman in a 200 person room … I found that the best way to look at it was to take advantage of that to stand out .
“If you are unique, it gives you the ability to be special … so, I think there are a lot of challenges in being a woman in finance and anyone who has come up through the ranks has experienced unique challenges in being. a woman.. And I think understanding the balance… all of those things have helped me become stronger and more of a Swiss Army Knife than other people who haven’t had this challenge. “
Leveraging Financial Literacy for Social Equity
Responding to a question about how BlockFi can help women in particular, Flori said, “One of the things that I see very often … that I would like to solve is fundamentally demystify how to start. investing. One of the things we do at BlockFi is try to simplify crypto and invest in general. ”
“When I think about investing and I think about giving advice to people who have never done it before, I think about lowering the first step, right? The reality is that you don’t have to be looking to climb the whole mountain, you just have to watch the 10 steps in front of you. “
Flori goes on to explain how starting with a savings account and getting that higher return can translate into valuing those investment gains and, slowly working your way through these 10 steps ahead of you, learning how to grow your money using financial products like those offered by BlockFi.
Overcome Career Barriers
When asked what was her biggest obstacle in her career, Jessica replied, “I’ll answer that question by looking back. I admit that there have been times in my career when I should have taken a leap, taken a risk faster. I have been in a company for a very long time, I really liked my job there, but I exceeded it. And so, the last two years have been really uncomfortable for me. So at the time I felt like I was … broken like I was failing, like I wasn’t doing what I thought I set out to do. “
“And now years and years later, feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin, knowing who I am, and I also think being a mom, I have this focus on like, no, that was the growth, it was beautiful, it was me coming out of an environment … so I think my advice to a young Jessica would have been … to go a little faster, to take the risk. So that would be what I would say would be a hindrance, have that confidence to jump earlier. “
Dale detailed her biggest hurdle, which she said was gaining the experience she needed to advance her career on a chosen path.
“You have to defend yourself … to speed up those jumps.” To challenge yourself beyond what you know you can do, challenge yourself and create experience. So if you’re stuck … and you know you have to learn about something completely different to make that next leap … you have to push yourself, potentially stepping back. “
Advice for women in FinTech or any career
All the guests talked about taking risks and investing in yourself. Whether it’s putting your ego aside to take a step back in your career and learn something new, or taking the risk of getting into a start-up where you may need to take a paycheck. inferior in exchange for an opportunity for growth, having the confidence to jump at opportunities is essential to reducing the disparities between men and women.
Flori brought up cryptocurrency as an example, saying, “… crypto is new technology, so everyone is a newbie. So we’re on the ground floor here, and what that means is that women have the opportunity to participate in the start of a new industry. Previous experience in crypto does not exist. “
“So this is a fantastic opportunity for you to move on to something new, and when this technology is huge in 20 years, you can say that I have been in this industry for 20 years now and am one of those. industry experts. So I think this is a great opportunity for us to level the playing field and make the disparities we see between men and women in the workplace even more equal. “
When Jessica spoke about taking charge of your personal finances as a woman, she said, “Personal finance and investing … that stuff doesn’t have to be rocket science. So the first step, we let’s always say it is, take a break, breathe, then make a plan and take action. “
“We say, baby no, get your toes wet, just try, take action. There are so many great platforms that make things really digestible and easy … go for it.
Be sure to check out the rest of the valuable info from Flori, Jessica and Dale – you can see reruns of all of the Women in FinTech episodes and the rest of our list of shows on the BenzingaTV YouTube Channel. And don’t forget to tune in next week when we host Kathryn St. John, Kathryn Van Nuys and Barbara Provost for the 4th installment of the Women in FinTech series.
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