Voices in Fintech: Sharon Gal Franko

5 Minute read
1 year ago

As the Official Fintech Infrastructure Partner of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Nium is proud to support the Women’s T20 World Cup Tournament this month. Nium’s mission of building the top-tier fintech payments infrastructure for global businesses is being driven to reality by women leaders worldwide, breaking down the barriers to ensure equality, inclusivity, diversity, and representation.

With the women’s cricket teams ready to fight for the trophy in South Africa, there’s no better time to chat with women in leadership at Nium, explore their unique perspectives, and how they’re encouraging more young talent to consider fintech as the launchpad for their careers.

The first leader in the series is Sharon Gal Franko, Nium’s V.P. of Global Partnerships. With a commitment to customer and team success, she brings a wealth of industry experience, a passion for mentorship, and a welcoming energy to Nium.

Q. What excites you most about your role as Vice President for Global Partnerships?

The bottom line for me is (and always will be) creating meaningful relationships both from an internal and external perspective. I feel that my values align with Nium’s – trust, authenticity, and honesty, and I’m most excited about establishing cross-border, cross-culture, and cross-industry collaboration opportunities. 

My natural ability and desire to engage with people on a human-to-human level have helped me navigate the entirety of my career. I can think of one specific example with a previous company where a client relationship could have gone sour due to unforeseen technical challenges. Still, the client decided to embrace the learning, and continue as usual, despite the cost impact- mainly due to the positive, open relationship they had established with me. Those kinds of partnerships are the ones that I continually strive for – that’s customer success, in my eyes.

Q. How would you like to see fintech companies, including Nium, pave the way forward for an inclusive environment for emerging female leaders?

I think so much development in this area comes from women leaders themselves. We must be brave enough to stand up for what we believe in and be unafraid to share our personal experiences and opinions if we want to inspire future generations of female leaders to do the same.

Nium is driving the change within the organization by having conversations around diversity and inclusion in the workplace. For example, in the U.K., we hosted our first Women at Nium breakfast to discuss how to increase the participation of women in fintech. I also think that part of empowering yourself as a female leader is ensuring that you work with a company that acknowledges the value of diversity for all team members.

Q. What advice would you give to women looking to elevate their careers in the payments space?

I would advise them to follow their passion, stay true to their values, follow their instincts, and establish a network of those they can rely on and depend upon to support further development. I think women tend to also bring a different kind of creative thinking to an organization; we have a different approach to cultivating relationships, communicating with others, and supporting our colleagues.

I’d encourage females looking to grow within the world of payments to play to their strengths because we are all unique, and there is a way in which we can all add value to any organization. But having self-awareness about our shortcomings and talents is key to knowing where we can impact positively. 

Q. How are you driving change for women at Nium to help overcome industry challenges?

I want all women at Nium to know that I have an open-door policy. I will always make myself available to talk to all my colleagues about anything that concerns them. I will find time in my day to offer advice and support, no matter what, and as I said above, creating meaningful relationships is what makes me truly happy.

As a mother of four beautiful children, I would like to think that I am able to empathize and understand without judgment. As I grow a team in Israel and connect with my colleagues all over the globe, I will approach my leadership role with an open mind and transparency, like I always have.

Q. How do you define a productive week at Nium?

There are three key things here – starting a new initiative, progressing with something on my radar, AND learning something new about the world of cross-border payments. There’s always something new to learn, and I am a life-long learner. If there’s an opportunity to add to my knowledge library, I seize it with both hands.

I also feel like I’ve achieved a good week when I’ve been able to balance my work and home life; my family is my world, and it’s important to me to dedicate maximum time to them.

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