Women in Fintech

Women are a vital part of the LendIt Fintech community.


Meet LendIt Fintech’s leading ladies
  • Yihan Fang
  • CEO
  • Yirendai
  • Avid Modjtabai
  • SR EVP, Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation
  • Wells Fargo
  • Yolande Piazza
  • CEO
  • Citi FinTech
  • AdaPia d’Errico
  • Co-Founder & CEO
  • StartEngine

Here at LendIt Fintech, we are committed to organizing events throughout the year that:

If you are attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018 taking place April 9-11 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco consider signing up for the:

  • Diversity in Fintech Workshop
  • Women in Fintech Luncheon
  • Women in Fintech Happy Hour
  • LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Dinner

The Diversity in Fintech Workshop at LendIt Fintech USA will take place on April 11th from 9AM to 1PM at the Moscone Center. All conference ticket holders are eligible to attend.

Diversity in Fintech Interview of the Month

Each month, in the lead up to LendIt Fintech USA 2018 we will interview one of the speakers from Diversity in Fintech track.

AdaPia d’Errico

Co-Founder & CEO
StartEngine

Q: What motivated you to forge a career in Fintech?

A: When I first learned about the opportunity of equity crowdfunding (in 2013), I knew that it held the potential to change the lives of entrepreneurs-- like me and my clients, many with whom I was working to launch donation-based campaigns. With my background in investing and finance, I also recognized that the online lending space was going to provide investment opportunities to investors that many people just never could access before. All in all, like many early movers, I had my ear to the ground and was in the right place at the right time when I decided to jump in and join one of the first real estate crowdfunding platforms, Patch of Land).

Q: Do you have a role model or mentor and how has this individual impacted your professional success?

A: I haven't had one prominent role model or formal mentor throughout my career in Fintech. However, I could always count on several people who were very supportive and provided informal peer mentorship as we co-created a new industry. I value their friendship, support, and guidance. Amongst those are Luan Cox, Jim Jones, Ron Suber, Candace Sjogren, and Brian Korn. From this experience, I learned how valuable mentorship can be, especially for women in male-dominated industries.

Q: What advice do you have for women making their way in male-dominated industries?

A: In my experience, open communication, frank discussions and speaking my truth - even when it could create discomfort or disagreement, have never steered me wrong. I regret the times I acquiesced, stayed silent despite an inappropriate remark, or shrunk back in shyness instead of expressing my idea, solution or proposal. Women can, and should, be themselves. We should feel empowered, emboldened but not embittered. Especially not now. We have a unique opportunity to role model personal leadership and collaboration with men who also want change.

Q: Do you think the world is changing and women will have an easier time going forward or are biases still very entrenched?

A: The world is definitely changing! It might not be immediately easier for women because biases still exist and in some cases are very entrenched, but at least it will be easier to talk about. And as we can speak the truth, we bring those biases up for examination. With so much upheaval and front-and-center attention on issues that were previously swept under the carpet, I believe we have truly unprecedented opportunity to make the changes we need to make. This work is personal, as we all have our own biases. As we each do the work on ourselves it extends, like a ripple, across our relationships, workplace, and society.

Q: Tell us about a time when you felt mistreated because of your gender and how you stood up for yourself.

A: Many years ago, when I worked in insurance as an adjuster, I was in a meeting about an important and sensitive case that I had been working on. The all-men meeting included several lawyers, key executives from the insurance company, my boss-- the man who owned the adjusting company and me. These men ignored my presence and would only refer to my boss. As they discussed various options on payouts, legal options, and implications, I decided to speak up. To their near-horror and utter surprise, I called their attention to several material facts that they had overlooked. Though they tried to dismiss me, I persisted. I would not let them interrupt me or redirect their questions. No one knew the case better than me. About 5 minutes later, I was leading the meeting. By speaking up, holding my ground, and trusting my work and professionalism, I not only 'earned' their respect in that meeting, but I ended up taking on more responsibility on other high profile cases.

Q: What is holding back most companies when it comes to gender parity?

A: The research shows that companies say they want change but implementing it is hard because of blind spots. For example, in surveys by LeanIn and McKinsey, around 50% of men and 30% of women think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only 1 in 10 senior leaders is a woman. And while 90% of companies say gender parity is a priority, only 42% of employees think their organizations are highly committed and doing what it takes to improve gender diversity. Execution issues range from giving managers visibility into the scope of the problem and the tools they need to implement change, to transparency in reporting on gender parity efforts and accountability on those efforts. I think there are also misplaced expectations that management is solely responsible for making change happen. While management teams and leadership are critical, ultimately acting as role models, sponsors, and advocates for change, this change begins with every, single, person irrespective of position or occupation. It is about dissolving our own biases through objectivity, awareness, inquiry and personal accountability.

Q: Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

A: Seeing where we are today and where we are going, I'm genuinely proud to have been a part of the Fintech industry since the early years-- though not as early as Peter and Ron! I feel blessed and fortunate to have been a fintech executive with a particular passion for evangelizing the industry and sharing information and education about the opportunities that Fintech entrepreneurs and companies were creating.


Join the LendIt Fintech Women in Fintech mailing list to get monthly updates.

Interested in working with LendIt Fintech to organize more year round Women in Fintech initiatives. We’d love to hear from you. Contact joy@lendit.com today.

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