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 talent that go on 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 … Charlotte Crosswell, OBE, former CEO of Innovate Finance.
What did you want ‘to be’ when you grew up?
An author – I always wanted to write a book but never quite managed it.
What was the worst job you ever had, and why?
A Saturday night waitress in a pizza restaurant – I only last six weeks!
Has there ever been a moment in your life where you felt your path shifted? What was it and what happened?
Definitely when I had my daughter – I went back to work to do a start-up when she was nine weeks old, but from then on, family always came first.
Who has inspired you?
Definitely some of the big tech founders (the GAFAs)- whether you like them or not and what they have become, you have to admire their complete laser focus on changing the world we live in and pursuing the art of the possible.
What work project (not personal) have you worked on that you are most proud of?
Working on the Fintech Review over the last year was a very fulfilling project and trying to ensure that everyone’s input was included to build out a future strategy for UK fintech. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the strategy is adopted and developed but it has reminded key stakeholders that the sector will play such an important role over the coming months and years.
What is one mistake you have made? How did you learn and grow from it?
Launching a start-up with a product that answered a big issue in trading, but didn’t have enough demand for change at that time. Even though you can identify a gap in the market, timing is everything.
What first pops up in your head when someone says the phrase: ‘work/life balance’?
I think it is achievable but there are always sacrifices to be made and it is a constant juggle. My sacrifice was never getting quite enough sleep as I wanted to maximise time during the day with work and family time.
What is one rule you have for yourself when thinking about the job of managing teams?
Always look for the best team and cultural fit and bring in experience that others don’t have. Sometimes the best hires on paper won’t work if they don’t fit well in the team.
What is Fintech missing?
I’m looking forward to seeing some successful exits from founders, and then those founders re-investing in the Fintechs of tomorrow. This has been proven to help sustain and grow the ecosystem in other markets. We also need more growth capital that is generated from UK funds to ensure the pull of US capital doesn’t lure IP and jobs overseas.
- Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
- TV Show: The Bodyguard
- Song: Son of a Preacher Man
- Movie: Lost in Translation
What are you working on now?
A few projects that are close to my heart on innovation in financial services as well as some board roles. Also working hard on resetting that work-life balance after a challenging 18 months of the pandemic.
The pandemic is over and money and time is no object – where would fly (or drive or train or walk) off to?
I’d be very happy to be back in Tuscany looking out over olive groves, but Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for a long time so that will be the next big adventure I hope.
Stay tuned for more Fintech leaders profiled at Fintech Talents! Register to engage with more FinTech Leaders at this year’s Fintech Talents Festival!