Country Manager Poland -PayTech Consulting
FinTech Expert, Advisor, Payments Visionary, Startup Mentor
Country Ambassador– European Women Payments Network
Question 1: Who is Anna Maj?
AM: FinTech Expert, Advisor, Payments Visionary, Startup Mentor, Art Lover
Question 2. What do you enjoy most about your job and what do you find most difficult?
AM: I like learning new things, developing new skills and experimenting. I haven’t got bored by my professional activities so far thanks to the dynamically changing working and market environment as well as new challenges I have been facing all the time.
Question 3. As a female (young)leader or a woman working in the financial sector, what has been the most significant barrier in your career so far?
AM: I do not see any particular barrier, however, the higher you get the more difficult it becomes, and there is obviously fewer women, so as a female you may often feel isolated or left on your own. At the beginning of my career, when I was working as one of the product managers in line with other men in a male-dominated workplace, I didn’t experience any difficulties, we came along very well and treated each others equally, like partners. I am still in a good contact with my male colleagues from that time. But when I was in charge of the local payment institution, as a CEO, it unfortunately turned out to be much more difficult to interact and cooperate with men.
Question 4. What is the best piece of advice given to you? Who gave you that advice?
AM: One of the recruiters told me more than ten years ago that I had a great combination of the banking/payments and telco background, which was quite unique at the market. Today this combination is called FinTech. And I bring my unique experience to the table being a part of the FinTech industry.
Question 5. Who inspired/inspires (role model) you and why?
AM: Entrepreneurial, charismatic, creative, passionate, self-motivated and self-disciplined people, both women and men, from business; for example Ginni Rometty – CEO of IBM as well as artists and sport people – ballet dancers and fighters in particular.
Question 6. When you began your career (many) years ago, did you ever imagine that you would be a (young) leader in a male-dominated profession?
AM: Yes, I have imagined being a leader and I haven’t had any problem with that, any prejudice, either. Just went my way and haven’t done much thinking about it.
Question 7. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership especially in the financial sector?
AM: Men attract and get on board other men, similar to themselves. In that case similarities, not opposites, attract…
Question 8. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in financial sector? And what do you think will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
AM: Be yourselves. Trust yourselves. Trust your intuition and power. Believe in your own strengths – unique combination of your talents, skills and personality.
Question 9. Mentorship? What is your opinion about it? Is it necessary? Does it make a difference? Did you have a mentor when you started your career? Do you think it would have made a difference if you did?
AM: Mentoring is a great and valuable experience. in both ways: being a Mentor as well as being a Mentee. We do need mentors and role models, women need other women, as well as men. I had an opportunity and privilege to be a mentor for both individuals and startups a number of times and enjoyed it a lot. Perhaps the time has come to be a mentee now.
Question 10. When it comes to gender pay gap, diversity and inclusion in financial sector: are we progressing, moving backwards or stagnated? Why?
AM: We are eventually progressing. There are more and more women in strategic roles, more corporations are focusing on diversity, some of them having even a brief of getting on board a strong female leadership. Women are more visible, at the industry conferences and events, as participants and speakers, needless to say, women introduce their own initiatives, mentoring programs, startups, however there is still a lot to be done, but not in isolation from men, separated from males. I am an advocate of real cooperation between men and women and true diversity, not women-only networking and meetings.
Question 11. What is some of the advice you can share with (young) women entering a male-dominated profession such as tech or finance?
AM: Not to be afraid of technology, innovation, science. Not to avoid challenges and taking risk. To learn and study new areas. Women should be proactive – take part in various projects starting from school, apply for tech jobs, take initiative, talk about their achievements, promote themselves and each other. Be visible.
Question 12. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
AM: If I could do it again, I would probably do everything totally differently, just to try out new things and roles. 😊