This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias – a gender equal world that is free from bias, stereotypes and discrimination. There is a lot to celebrate, considering the growing number of females founding or leading fintech companies. But in a future-forward industry, more can be done to achieve that reality of equality.
Since Contour was launched in 2020, we have always advocated for having women prominently represented in our workforce.
One of them, is Frances Tho, a prominent face in Contour’s sales team.
Tho started her career at Allegro Development before the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis. During those years, she experienced firsthand the large number of organisations that were streamlining processes and embracing technologies to increase their efficiencies while mitigating various risks.
“Today, corporate companies are doing this in the same cycle, just in a different way – with the evolution of fintech. I think this is an interesting and exciting industry that is constantly seeking new ways to be better at increasing their operational efficiency. This keeps me going,” said Tho.
With over a decade of experience in professional services sales and stints at several multinational companies like Bloomberg LP and S&P Global Platts, Tho knew that she had to find another role that would allow her to continue building her corporate career leveraging on existing experiences but with added elements of growth, while adapting to market changes and customer demand.
“Women should embrace constant growth in their careers. Being in the fintech industry makes us develop and grow even faster than we expect to due to the nature of the business.”
– Frances Tho, VP of Business Development, Contour
Females in Fintech
It was during that period when Tho first heard of the term fintech, alongside other buzzwords like digital transformation, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain applications. She was anticipating a future technology breakthrough and was excited about how the industry was going to evolve from Web 2.0 to what is known today as Web 3.0.
As she contemplated her future career path, it led her to Contour in April 2020, where she was appointed Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Sales.
“I think women should embrace constant growth in their careers. Being in the fintech industry makes us develop and grow even faster than we expect to due to the nature of the business,” Tho added.
Tho acknowledges that there will always be some barriers to being prominently successful in the industry, as the technology space is one that has long been dominated by men. There could also be the perception that women may not be as tech savvy. She feels that women may need to devote additional effort to prove their value. She thinks however, that this could be overcome with constant contribution and proven competency, especially with the emergence of many successful female figures already in the industry.
When it comes to searching for the status quo, Tho is thankful to leaders whom she has worked with for practising diversity and inclusivity at work that have exposed her to holding a strong belief on how women can be equally successful, when they stop comparing themselves to others and instead, focus on setting their own benchmark and challenging themselves on their own growth.
For Tho, having the right skillset boosts growth but having the right mindset helps you go the distance, and this is her advice for young women who are considering a career in the fintech industry.
“It might be intimidating at first getting into a future-forward technology-driven industry like fintech. And yes, there might be some uncertainty in newer spaces, but that’s everywhere,” she said.
“Don’t be afraid of facing changing technologies – embrace it and learn about it. It might not be for everyone but at least you gave it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Tho concluded.