It’s been a month of inspiring journeys this Women’s History Month, and we’re continuing our mission to #BreakTheBias in collaboration with the International Cricket Council. Nium takes pride in inclusivity, gender equity, and our value of #SimplyBetterTogether; today we drive forward our series of conversations with women fintech leaders leading by example.
Our chat with Heema Hemant, Director of Tech Project Management, is a refreshing reminder of the importance of work-life balance, creating an impact, and striving for nothing but the best. Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, Heema’s thoughts on leadership, learning, and progressing is an absolute delight:
1) What does doing meaningful work mean for you in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some very high-impact creating teams in my career! Together we have been able to transform and disrupt several traditional businesses into profitable ventures. So for me, meaningful work should have an impact, something that makes it simple and solves a problem while having fun.
Unless your ultimate solution reduces cost, optimizes output, streamlines a process, or makes things predictable, it’s not an endeavor worth your time. Also, as a working mother to two young kids, I have this need to accomplish more in less time. I can’t be spending time away from my wonderful family if my work will not benefit people in need.
2) How do you think working at a fintech supports innovation and women’s leadership?
Fintechs enable money movement and solve business problems much faster than traditional banks. In my opinion, women will naturally benefit from the increase in opportunities produced due to this disruption. Women are inherently creative in solving problems as they are a pillar to their families in most cultures.
3) How do you think the modern money movement supports the inclusivity and the empowerment of women globally?
As per a recent GSMA research report on smartphone penetration in emerging markets, by 2025 there will be 80% penetration globally. Since smartphones enable the most modern money movement, I am sure the gentler gender will not be left behind in adopting these modern payment methods.
Also, there is a megatrend focusing on women and their empowerment. A lot of effort globally has been invested in making a conscious decision to include half of the population on this planet into the workforce by changing workplace policies, promoting women-led businesses, and helping women claim their space on the table.
When I step back and see these two trends together, I feel that access to phones and increased financial freedom provide women with a better way to make an impact for which they are destined.
4) What are you most proud of from your work at Nium?
This is a difficult question to answer; each day at Nium has given me something to be incredibly proud of. We have strong leadership who doesn’t differentiate on the basis of gender and has created an environment that empowers people like us to focus on creating the desired impact, meanwhile contributing towards the company’s goals.
My team contributes to acting as an early warning system that helps us achieve the unimagined. With an incredible team like ours it is difficult not to be proud of every story we write, every line we code, every feature we release, and every dream we make true. The feeling that our best-in-class payment infrastructure enables a person in the remotest corner of this world to remit money for various personal reasons is what I am most proud of.
5) What is the best advice you can share to inspire the upcoming generation of female leaders?
Well, I don’t know if it can be considered best, but I want to suggest to the upcoming generation of female leaders that we are our biggest critics, and it is not necessary to always be very hard on ourselves. It will be prudent to allow yourself some credit that is rightfully yours.
Indira Nooyi once said: If you wait for an invitation to the table, you may never be invited. So get a chair and create a seat for yourself! This thought has stayed with me for some time. Men don’t consciously abstain from inviting women to ‘The table,’ but we can always help ourselves by building a strong value proposition that adds value and gives us a voice.
Lastly, don’t take detours on your path to greatness; discipline is vastly underrated. Not only will your detour be noticed, but it will be held against you in the long run. Like Anna Scott says in Notting Hill, it’s like a newspaper article that will be documented and referenced every time someone writes about you. Never ever cut corners!