On March 16th, 2022, 30 undergraduate students from various Canadian universities were invited to Ivey Fintech’s inaugural Women in Fintech Panel, hosted virtually by Western University students. The panel was led by Ivey Fintech executives with the goal of fostering a more inclusive, open environment where young women were given the opportunity to learn about possible career pathways as they consider entering into the industry.
Panelists included Caroline Glavind, Western Alumni ‘20 and current Investment Banking Analyst at TD Securities, Diana Boras, Western Alumni ‘19 and Software Engineer & Global Wealth Management at Scotiabank, and Vivian Xia, HBA ‘21 and Technology Consultant at EY. Glavind, Boras and Xia were each part of either the Ivey or Ivey Fintech community during their time at Western, and were excited to pass on candid advice to the next generation of students.
Led by Ivey Fintech executives Lauren Fong, Angela Chen and Fae Zhang, the panel was designed with both recruiting and career progression in mind. Speakers shared insight into their own time at Western, how they were each a part of the Fintech community, and what initially motivated them to pursue their specific pathway after university. Glavind highlighted the importance of keeping an open mind, as she initially came into Western aiming to pursue a career in law, but pivoted towards a more technical field. Boras and Xia also spoke to how becoming involved with different clubs and activities on campus, such as Ivey Fintech, helped expose them to various career pathways. “As a student interested in both statistics and business, it was incredibly insightful and comforting to hear how one doesn’t have to have everything figured out from day one. I was reminded of the importance of keeping an open mind, which can be easy to forget”, said Sarah You, an Ivey Fintech member who attended the panel.
Finding a Mentor: Tips and Tricks
Alongside speaking to a ‘day in the life’ and memorable projects panelists have worked on, attendees also heard about the importance of seeking out a mentor (both in school and the professional workplace), to serve as a role model during pivotal times in their lives. Regardless of gender, Boras noted the importance of being able to “click” with your mentors organically, rather than trying to force a mentor & mentee relationship. Finding people with similar educational backgrounds, common interests or experiences may be a good place to start. Glavind and Xia further advised students to look for individuals who may be a few years older, currently doing things you want to do in the future. Working backwards and becoming inspired or educated on new career pathways that you may not have thought of or heard of, can provide valuable insights.
Succeeding in a Male Dominated Industry
Conversation forayed into advice for women to succeed in a variety of male dominated industries, including broader extensions of Fintech; consulting, finance, wealth management, and engineering. Each panelist echoed the importance of having the confidence to reach out and ask questions in the workplace or classroom setting, and ensure that you have all the tools at your disposal for success. Learning how to navigate uncertain circumstances or new settings may be difficult, but there are people and resources that are there to help - and it remains critical students access them.
Lauren Fong, Ivey Fintech’s VP Finance and co-moderator of the event, stated “I think it can be easy to get lost in the narrative that everyone has everything figured out. What’s important to remember, and what each of our panelists brilliantly highlighted, is the power that lies in vulnerability. Being able to reach out to mentors or other peers when you don’t have all the answers will help you grow.”
Near the end of the panel, students were also given the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers - either on topics brought up during the discussion, or simply out of interest. The event concluded with a club merchandise giveaway, and words of thanks to each of the speakers.
About Ivey FinTech
Ivey Fintech is a student club at Western University & Ivey Business School. Ivey Fintech aims to educate and increase student exposure to digital disruption at Ivey and beyond, and drive thought leadership on the future of financial services innovation.
The Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab is a proud sponsor of Ivey Fintech. For any inquiries about Ivey Fintech, please contact one of its student executives through the club website.