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Kani Spotlight Q&A Series: Inspiring female leaders

21st March 2022

Press & Media

Kani Payments is passionate about promoting the fundamental contribution that women are making within the fintech industry.

Following on from International Women’s Day 2022, throughout March and April we’ll be sharing a series of spotlight articles, to highlight the unity of women in Kani Payments and the value of mentorship and support within the company and the wider fintech sector.

In today’s article, we’re talking to Rachel Masshedar, Business Development Manager, and Melissa Beckett, Chief Marketing Officer.

Melissa has been with Kani since August 2020. Prior to this, she ran the NatWest Accelerator hub for hundreds of companies in the North of the UK, where she met and coached Aaron Holmes, CEO at Kani. Rachel is Business Development Manager at Kani and has worked with us since October 2020 having previously worked at Wirecard.

Team selfie at Fintech week London

 

Rachel: What can be done to incentivise more women into tech roles?

Melissa: If you’re a woman and you work in a technology company, help us break down barriers by talking about it, sharing your experiences and the details of how you got into the industry. This will help other women and girls see people like them in these roles, and help them understand options, pathways and the experience/skills required to get into the industry. 

Based on PWC research with over 2,000 A-Level and university students, unfortunately the gender gap in technology starts at school and carries on through every stage of girls’ and women’s lives. Over a quarter of female students say they’ve been put off a career in technology as it’s too male dominated and 78% of students can’t name a famous female working in technology. If you work in a company, find out if they are involved in any youth or female mentoring projects, apprenticeship schemes and women minority charities whose goal is to support women into tech, and if they’re not, find them and get involved: everyone will benefit. If you’re not in a company currently, contact these organisations anyway, as you might be able to get involved as a mentor or mentee.

Women must know about the opportunities available, they have to be able to imagine themselves in these roles and also know they’ll be in a company whose culture is diverse, inclusive, and supports equality: the key to these things is having role models and mentors within the industry and having tech leaders who prioritise this within their company/culture.

Rachel: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Melissa: It’s so important to surround yourself with people who lift you, support you, motivate you and ultimately help you grow. It would have been really useful to know the importance of this at a young age as it really can have a huge impact on everything in your life. Seek these people out, be curious and learn from them at every opportunity.

It’s also ok not to know something! We’ve all had that fear of looking stupid when we don’t know something, especially in front of peers or colleagues – embrace it and know that it’s ok not to know everything. To be the person to say, ‘I don’t know the answer to that’, or ‘I’m not sure how to do that, but I’d like to learn’ is sometimes tricky to do at first but shows great self-awareness and openness. 

Lastly, understanding the power of your own mindset, and what it means to develop a growth mindset. For this I’d recommend reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.

 

Rachel: What do you look for in an inspiring female leader?

Melissa: For me, the most inspiring female leaders I’ve known and worked with are those who bring you with them on their mission and vision, are completely open and work collaboratively with you to achieve the common goals. They are someone I can learn from who challenges me constructively. They are authentic, a great communicator and know how to motivate and inspire those around them. 

Melissa: What can be done to incentivise more women into tech roles?

Rachel: There are so many ways that companies, individuals and even the school curriculum can incentivise more women into technology roles. They should focus on providing an option for work experience in technology companies while you’re at school, providing lectures, creating more apprenticeships, encouraging other women to network, discussing their experiences in the technology industry, discussing the difficulties and benefits, supporting each another as well as using social media platforms to target every demographic, not just the younger generation. We need to show that this is a viable and good option for your career, even if that means taking the risk to change your career in your 40s or 50s. It begins with communication. Ensuring that the message is out there and breaking down any perceived barriers. 

Melissa: What’s the one bit of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Rachel: This may be a common answer, but take risks. I know very few people who regret taking the risks that they did, whether that be a career change, applying for a job that you perceived as being unachievable (it may not be!) or even enrolling for a course to further your knowledge. Another is to follow your gut. I’m so glad I chose to get practical marketing and sales experience through my first role rather than getting a degree. Because of this I have been able to progress my career faster than I imagined I would, and now work for a company I absolutely love!

Melissa: What do you look for in an inspiring female leader?

Rachel: I believe that what you look for in a leader is dependent on your own goals. Personally, I look for someone who is empathetic, collaborative, dependable, passionate and shows full transparency. I find these qualities very motivating and encouraging, and it allows me to be open myself and push towards any goals we have set together as I would have full trust in that person. Another element is someone that empowers those around her. Someone that pushes self-development. Someone who inspires you to be that 1% better than you were yesterday.

 

Connect with Melissa here on LinkedIn

Connect with Rachel here on LinkedIn

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