Wales blessed with great Female Tech Talent
21 March, 2022
Following 2022’s International Women’s Day earlier this month (8th March), and the release of Innovate Finance’s Women In FinTech Powerlist 2021, the team at FinTech Wales took some time to reflect upon just how blessed we are in both our region and industry alike when it comes to great female talent.
We were delighted to celebrate one of the many inspirational women within the Welsh FinTech ecosystem by welcoming Louise O’Shea, CEO of leading comparison provider Confused.com, as the guest speaker in a Fireside Chat at the start of this month, held at Capital law Ltd, Cardiff, and hosted by Entrepreneur and Startup Mentor, Neil Cocker.
Louise applied for the role of CEO at Confused.com whilst heavily pregnant with her second child, and has since returned the business to its former start-up culture, doubling the company’s profit within two years of her leadership and flying the company past its £1bn revenue milestone. As a passionate advocate for bringing more women into the technology sector, under Louise’s leadership, Confused.com has become a committed member of the Tech Talent Charter that addresses inequality in the UK tech sector.
Whilst International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the incredible women in our sector and beyond, stark statistics revealing that less than 30% of the UK’s FinTech workforce are female (found in a study by Deloitte last year) serve to remind us that we still have a long way to go until we see true diversity in the workforce.
During her insightful Chat, Louise reflected upon her experience as a female leader in the FinTech space and advocated for the need to see more women in leadership roles over the next ten to twenty years and beyond. To ensure this fair representation is met, Louise encouraged companies in the audience to make sure they’re interviewing and providing employment opportunities to women, to consider the wider impact of whether your suppliers are founded by women or are female led, and to use their platforms to encourage others to effect wider change beyond just their own organisations and industries.
Louise is also a Founding Board member and Chair of FinTech Wales, alongside the many talented women who are integral to our organisation and mission to establish Wales as a globally recognised FinTech hub of excellence:
Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of FinTech Wales
Sarah is the first CEO of FinTech Wales, joining as a highly experienced businesswoman with 17 years’ experience as Government Affairs Director at IBM. Sarah was also a member of the founding team at Starling Bank, a challenger start-up which succeeded in obtaining a full UK banking license.
Ella Hastings, CMO of Wagonex
Ella Hastings has been working at some of the most influential Fintech companies born in Wales, from Head of Marketing Planning at GoCompare, to CMO at one of the leading car subscription companies. Ella is a marketing strategist who uses her skills and experience to scale and support efficient growth. Through her role as a board member at miFuture and mentor at the Alacrity Foundation, she has a keen interest in driving up skills in the region.
Emma Huntington, CEO at Admiral Pioneer
Emma is currently the CEO of Admiral Pioneer, a new entity within the Admiral Group created to concept, launch and scale new businesses that deliver long term growth and diversification.
Lynsey Walden, Director at Front Door Communications
Lynsey has over 20 years’ experience in PR and marketing and has previously worked in-house for a number of FinTech organisations, including Lloyds Bank, Target Group and GoCompare. In 2016, Lynsey, along with her business partner Kath Chadwick, set up PR, content and social media agency, Front Door Communications.
Rachel Hillier, Partner at Capital Law
Rachel Hillier is a Partner at Capital Law, advising on a broad range of regulatory issues in the financial services and technology sectors, commercial contracts and transactions. A large part of Rachel’s work is in the financial, information technology and life sciences sectors, particularly FinTech and InsurTech.
Sarah McQuaid, Senior Director of Marketing at LexisNexis Risk Solutions
Sarah is senior marketing director and board member for UK & Ireland at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Sarah led global data and analytics marketing for PwC. As part of her current role, she works closely with the public and private sectors across the UK, including Government, trade associations and industry bodies as well as businesses across a range of sectors to encourage greater intelligence sharing and cooperation.
Gemma Hallett, Head of Skills at Fintech Wales and CEO of miFuture
As a former teacher, Gemma channelled her passion to increase the future skills supply in Wales into founding miFuture – an inclusive app-solution that nudges Generation Z towards better-skilled and higher-paid futures. Gemma recently joined FinTech Wales as Head of Skills, using her experience in academia to implement a future-focussed skills strategy to mobilise a generation of young people towards careers in FinTech.
Some other honourable mentions of inspirational women making invaluable contributions to the Welsh FinTech ecosystem are:
Kellie Beirne, Chief Executive Cardiff Capital Region City Deal
Caroline Thompson, Head Of Partnerships at The Alacrity Foundation
Julie-ann Haines, Chief Executive Officer at Principality Building Society
Louise Harris, Co-Founder & Director of TramshedTech
Sharon Henley, Chief Product Officer at Coincover
Anne Jessop, CEO, Royal Mint
Michelle Pearce-Burke , Co-Founder & COO at Wealthify
Many of the women above are credited for their contributions in Innovate Finance’s Women In FinTech Powerlist 2021. Our CEO had the pleasure of attending last week’s celebratory event hosted by Innovate Finance in London. Having been recognised on the list over the past 4 years, this year she was highlighted as one of the standout 45 for her contribution to the Welsh Fintech Sector following in the footsteps of Louise O’Shea who was one of last year’s standout 45.
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