LEADING LADY IN FINTECH
What's your story? What drew you to FinTech?
I was in a totally different industry before I moved to Planswell and honestly, I hadn’t really heard the term before. But what I loved about Planswell was how it was a service and product I actually believed could help people. I had become passionate about personal finance after experiencing some finance struggles myself and so Planswell’s mission really spoke to me. Add in the fact that they were using technology to make it even easier and more foolproof - I was hooked.
What makes FinTech an exciting area to build your career in?
It’s always changing - it’s a super dynamic industry to work in. Because we have to keep up with technology, there’s always something new to learn and I never feel like I’m becoming stagnant in my career.
What do you think are some of the most exciting FinTech trends likely to influence the Financial Services industry?
When people think of FinTech trends, usually terms like Blockchain and AI come to mind, but for me I think of collaboration. There are so many exciting FinTech companies out there and I think over the next little while, collaboration is going to play a big part in those companies growth as well as influencing the industry in general.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your job function and the main problem that your company is trying to solve?
I work as a manager on our Client Success team. Essentially, we’re the client facing team who works directly with our clients to help them perfect and implement their custom financial plan. Basically no one knows what they need to do today to ensure they can maintain their lifestyle in retirement (which is a huge problem!), or how to hit their financial goals, so we’re looking to fix that. Historically, good financial advice wasn’t easily accessible unless you had say, over one million dollars. Our technology allows us to help Canadians regardless of how much money they have.
What is essential to ensuring FinTech companies attain gender equality?
At a previous company, I was told I was a “diversity hire” but they believed there were other candidates that were a better fit for the role. It was really a terrible experience to hear that. It’s all about seeking out the right people for the role but being aware of our biases and consciously working on fixing them. As simple as it seems, I’d say the first step is to acknowledge that there is a gap in gender equality. Hand in hand with that is having support from the executive team - without the leaders of the company believing there’s a gap, nothing can ever get solved.
What needs to be true for Canadian startups to be able to scale globally?
I would say that they really need to understand the product fit in that global market and how it can scale. For us, going global was something we had talked about happening a few years down the road once we got a grasp on international markets. We have been fortunate that this summer our CEO, Eric, was able to speak at some large conferences where we also learned how we can better fit into other countries in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Now that idea is much more realistic and not so long term!
If you did not need to sleep, how would you spend the extra eight hours a day?
Definitely at the spin studio (I’m training to be an instructor at SPINCO right now)! I’m really passionate about living an active lifestyle and spinning is a huge part of that - I’d actually love an extra few hours a day to be on the bike.
In Nicole Prins's own words, exclusively for LADIES iN FINTECH.
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