LEADING LADY IN FINTECH
What's your story? What drew you to FinTech?
I’ve spent my career in Financial Services. After graduating from Industrial Engineering, I joined a large bank in a Process Engineering role. When I decided I wanted to move away from more consulting/project-based roles, I joined D+H which at the time was a fully Canadian business of around 1000 employees primarily focused on cheque printing. With cheques being a declining business, D+H pivoted to be a Financial Technology provider and I pivoted with the company. I spent most of my time at D+H leading operations teams supporting a technology-enabled service, but I also spent time on strategic projects and partnership roles. When I left the company (now Finastra) it was a 10,000-person global organization and the third largest FinTech company in the world.
Some of my favorite parts of my career were leading small high-performing cross-functional teams, so that’s what I was looking for when I joined Borrowell. I’m so fortunate to go to work every day building a company with talented colleagues to better serve our members. Borrowell’s mission is to help people make great decisions about credit. With its free credit score and report monitoring, personal loans, and financial product recommendations, Borrowell empowers Canadians to improve their financial well-being. I feel very fortunate to able to work at one of Canada’s largest financial technology companies, with over 700,000 users. I’ve always been a personal finance nerd and love helping bring that knowledge to Canadians.
What makes FinTech an exciting area to build your career in?
It’s exciting to be in a rapidly growing space that is able to have a large positive financial impact on the lives of Canadians. Finances can be a huge source of stress for many people and knowledge and transparency can help relieve a lot of that stress. Technology also enables FinTech companies to serve people who aren’t well served by existing institutions or who want a different customer experience than that offered by traditional institutions.
What do you think are some of the most exciting FinTech trends likely to influence the Financial Services industry?
Machine Learning and AI is likely a common answer, but I’ve been able to see firsthand the power of that technology at Borrowell allowing us to better help our members make great decisions about credit. Additionally, the transparency that technology and data can bring to financial services will challenge a lot of existing models and keep customer needs at the forefront. I’ve seen cases where incentives in mortgages, insurance, and auto financing can be used to sway brokers and car dealerships away from options that are in the best interest of the consumer. Transparency will help align incentives to what’s best for consumers.
What is essential to ensuring FinTech companies attain gender equality?
I’ve been reading a lot about the motherhood gap and as a mother of two who’s taken two maternity leaves, it really strikes a chord. I think that supporting women through the transition to motherhood and returning to work is key for retaining women and supporting them in leadership roles. Having women in leadership roles will attract more women to those organizations. Borrowell’s focus on diversity as well as having women and mothers in leadership roles were things that were important to me when I joined. For companies trying to do more to support all parents, I think The Parenting Playbook is a great resource.
How does the FinTech ecosystem in Canada compare to other FinTech hubs across the globe?
It’s an exciting place to be right now because of the explosive growth. The start-up community is active, energetic, and supportive. Toronto is a big city but can feel like a small one. It’s easy to get to know others in your space and field and learn from each other. FinTech adoption has been slower in Canada than other countries which presents a huge opportunity for Canadian FinTech companies.
If you did not need to sleep, how would you spend the extra eight hours a day?
Two things that I would love to spend more time doing but have trouble fitting in these days are reading and exercising. I would also like to take care of some routine tasks, so I could spend more quality time with my family when they are awake.
In Stephanie Overholt's own words, exclusively for LADIES iN FINTECH.
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