Be the boss you want to have: The Fintech Leaders Series
Leaders build companies and create products and inspire teams in large and small organizations in many different sectors around the world. They are the type of people that not only produce great results but attract and retain the talent who go on to serve as great leaders themselves.
Who are those people in fintech? What drove them to create what they have created? What mistakes did they make and how did they learn and grow from them? How do they balance their dreams and doubts? What are the ingredients needed to create a great fintech leader?
In true Fintech Talents fashion – we aim to find the answer via our community. Here we profile a range of inspiring, experienced, and influential FinTech leaders shaping the teams, businesses, and directions of our industry.
This week’s fintech leader is…Claire Calmejane, CIO Societe Generale Group
What did you want ‘to be’ when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor as saving lives was the most beautiful thing I could think of. I ended up finding another way to try to simplify people’s lives in the real economy through digital. Less cool, but still kind of useful.
What was the worst job you ever had, and why?
I was a shop assistant in Retail when I was 16 years old over the summer. My mum wanted me to experience firsthand labor and earning my own money. It was a good way to make up my mind about what I wanted to do later in life. She has always pushed me hard.
Several years later, I remember the day that I told her I was leaving for the US. She was not so happy with me. I laughed at her and said, ‘what after all these years of pushing, now you’re telling me to stand still?’
Has there ever been a moment in your life where you felt your path shifted? What was it and what happened?
Well, I can tell you that I have had lot of them. When I left France at 28 years old for the US, when I moved to the UK and then when I came back in France. Hopefully, though, this is not closing a loop!
Who has inspired you?
My mother, in the first place, my friends, and my teams. Leaders displaying kindness and applying their power to purpose have been the most inspirational for me.
What work project (not personal) have you worked on that you are most proud of?
My teams – they’re awesome. Talent is the heart of innovation. I remember Sam Maule interviewing me 10 years ago and asking me if so much diversity was intentional in my team? I had only hired the best in their fields, for what we were doing. As time passed, I realized that my teams were composed of people from Russia, Poland, Australia, UK, France, US, …. Different perspectives give you the best problem-solving solutions and day to day learning, as well as a fun ride.
What is one mistake you have made? How did you learn and grow from it?
I make mistakes every day. And I intend to keep it this way as without failure there is no innovation.
What first pops up in your head when someone says the phrase: ‘work/life balance’?
I have been better at it in more junior roles 😊 I am gifted to do something I love and to have experienced different cultures and countries. Some countries where women have more senior roles are better organised to make it work and provide the necessary support network. At the end of the day, we need to fulfil ourselves and find what bring us purpose, making it work for us, life is not a one-size-fit-all formula!
What is one rule you have for yourself when thinking about the job of managing teams?
I’m trying to be the boss I want to have. I am not always good at it, but it seems they quite enjoy me 😊
What is FinTech missing?
FinTech is missing nothing! But as the sector matures, it will need a good understanding of the business models and advertising to succeed through IPOs.
Book – Work Rules by Lazlo Block
TV Show – I think I have screened everything possible on Netflix, including Korean soaps
Song – I’m feeling good
Movie – Blade Runner
What are you working on now?
Some of my key priorities are around Innovation and CSR. Digital is a key enabler of solving the biggest challenge to the planet. I’m seeing tons of new business models on this area.
At Societe Generale, we launched the Green Fintech For Good Challenge at the beginning of the year and I have been following Lubomila Jordanova and her start-up Plan A for a year.
I’m also looking forward to mentoring Clarisse Hagege, Co-founder & CEO of DNFS and winner of the Female Founder Challenge organized during Vivatech with 50intech, DFNS is an API for digital asset security.
The pandemic is over, and money and time is no object – where would fly (or drive or train or walk) off to?
I will not fly – I will go local and enjoy the farm 😊