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….Marieke Flament, Chief Executive Officer, Mettle
What did you want ‘to be’ when you grew up?
I wanted to be a house cleaner. I just love it when things are clean and tidy!
What was the worst job you ever had, and why?
I don’t ever look back on any of my past experiences in a negative way – or say ‘I wish I hadn’t done that‘. I believe there is always something to learn in every situation. And sometimes the learning can be, ‘well, that wasn’t for me‘.
Has there ever been a moment in your life where you felt your path shifted? What was it and what happened?
There is a before, and after, my MBA. I studied at London Business School from 2009-2011 and that experience completely shifted how I think about the world, about business and drastically changed my career, my network and connections.
Who has inspired you?
Several people have inspired me throughout my career. My first boss, JC Seguret, showed me how to be open, candid and an inspiring leader. The leadership team at Hotels.com, particularly Adam Jay and Johan Svanstrom for how to execute at pace while creating a fun place to work. Today it’s Alison Rose (CEO of NatWest) for her drive on purpose and sustainability.
What work project (not personal) have you worked on that you are most proud of?
I’m particularly proud of launching and scaling the crypto startup Circle across Europe. More recently, the launch of the first ever TV ad campaign for Mettle that really calls out the determination and drive of our customers and the self-employed movement more broadly.
What is one mistake you have made? How did you learn and grow from it?
I have made several mistakes and will probably make more – but I like to look at them as learning. It’s really important to take stock of each experience and try a different approach the next time around. This is how you achieve a growth mindset. If I had to pick on one mistake, looking back it would be the times where I kept people for too long who were either not performing or who were not the right fit for the company, in hindsight it’s always a decision which would need to be made faster, it’s what’s best for both parties.
What first pops up in your head when someone says the phrase: ‘work/life balance’?
It’s possible, it’s fundamental, but it’s hard and you can’t do it on your own. You need help, support and the resources to achieve it. For example, investing in childcare even if “at a loss”.
What is one rule you have for yourself when thinking about the job of managing teams?
‘A decision is better than no decision.’ Much of my role is to empower teams at all levels to make their own decisions, that’s how you can continuously grow and scale.
What is fintech missing?
More diversity of thought and more diversity of background. This is what you need to build a successful team and to create products relevant for all. To get that, you need to actively seek to communicate with everyone in the team in a consistent way and provide opportunities. This is how you create good collaboration and a sense of community.
The pandemic is over and money and time is no object – where would you fly (or drive or train or walk) off to?
Australia, to see my brother.
- Book: The hard thing about hard things – A very practical book with fantastic lessons for anyone building a company. It’s a book I very often go back to.
- TV Show: The Last Dance – Basketball has always been one of my passions. I believe that we can learn from sports, particularly lessons in leadership and resilience.
- Song: Resistire – A Spanish song released at the onset of Covid by various artists locked down in their homes.
- Movie: Walk the line – The life of Johnny Cash.
What are you working on now?
Mettle, an app for the self-starters of Britain – this includes sole-traders, small limited companies, side businesses and anyone starting something on their own.
Stay tuned for more fintech leaders profiled at Fintech Talents! Register to engage with more FinTech Leaders at this year’s Fintech Talents Festival!