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RiseUp - Empowering women in financial services

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We were delighted to learn that Orbital’s Claire Barratt, Head of Banks and Licensing, will be joining this year’s Money20/20 RiseUp leadership programme.

The RiseUp initiative is designed to empower the next generation of women in financial services, and will give an exclusive cohort of thirty women access to a specially curated agenda of bespoke content sessions, mentoring and exclusive networking opportunities.

Women continue to remain underrepresented in the corporate world of finance and banking, specifically in leadership positions, and this programme offers the type of mentorship and encouragement needed to support women in overcoming these imbalances. We are looking forward to seeing how Claire gets on, and hope to learn more on solutions and steps to facilitate change, through her experience with RiseUp.

Ahead of the start of the programme we caught up with Claire for a quick Q&A:

Q. What are you most looking forward to about the programme?

A. I am looking forward to meeting other women across the fintech industry in an environment that fosters collaboration. Over the years in the banking industry, I have recognised the importance of having a professional network and how valuable it can be, so I look forward to broadening that network to be able to support others and share ideas.

As part of the programme we also get the opportunity to have a mentor from a female in business and I am excited to hear who I am partnered with. I think it is a good opportunity to have a mentor outside of your organisation, as they can provide an objective view on a situation and perhaps challenge my thinking in a way a colleague may not do so.

Q. What do you hope to gain for the sessions and mentorship?

A. I look forward to learning about specific subjects that females face in the industry which become blockers to success, but perhaps in the ordinary course of business aren’t discussed openly. I intend to bring this insight back to the workplace and make efforts to support particularly the younger generation of women coming into the industry for a career in Fintech. My experience of career advice at school was that it was specific to traditional career paths such as medicine, engineering or traditional banking. Do careers advisors have a feel for what a career in Fintech can offer? Do females feel empowered to study STEM subjects with a view of a career in Technology?  I think there is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of women to enter the Fintech world and be our future leaders.

Q. Can you talk to us a bit about your experience as a woman in financial services? 

A. Overall I have had a positive experience as a female in financial services.  As I have climbed the ranks over the years, I have noticed how there are less females in executive positions and as a full time working mum with two young daughters, I would like to see more role models in the senior ranks as inspiration that you can do both, be a good mother and have a successful career.  In my experience in the banking industry, the majority of the women who have made the executive levels/C-suite have either had a full time nanny or their partner has stayed at home.  Is it possible to do both well, without those factors?  I am certainly trying to do so.

Despite progress being made for gender equality in the workplace I have found there is still a social expectation for the mother to take the leading role in childcare despite having a career, whether that be full maternity leave or flexible working arrangements. I hope given there is more flexibility for shared parental leave and flexible working that partners feel supported and able to utilise those schemes to share those early years of raising children, whilst both continuing with their chosen careers.

We wish Claire all the best for the event... and again, bravo!

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