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Recap: European Women Payments Network Conference

European Women Payments Network (EWPN) conference was held in Amsterdam on 30-31 October 2017 in the Koepelkerk in Amsterdam, a stunning 17th-century church. The event featured around 80 speakers from around the world, addressing topics ranging from women in leadership and diversity in fintech to simplifying payments and embracing disruption. The increasing presence of women in fintech was a uniting theme. Historically, most professionals working in finance and technology have been men, but as Simonetta Rosati of the European Central Bank (ECB) in her opening keynote pointed out: “it is not fully true that there aren’t many women in banking and fintech.” The problem is not so much the total number of women in the industry, but rather that women tend to be under-represented at the top levels. We need to encourage women to invest their talents in the industry and mentor them to feel confident in their leadership skills. A highlight of the morning was a presentation on the role of women in finance throughout Dutch history. In a tête-à-tête with Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, Simon Lelieveldt, payments consultant and financial historian, told the story of several women who made their mark on the development of the financial industry. One outstanding leader was Johanna Borski, who founded the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandse Bank) in 1816. Lelieveldt’s key takeaway was that women can have a transformative impact in finance even when conditions are decidedly against them. “History shows you can put your footprint out there if you want to,” he told us, “It takes resolve but regardless of the barriers it’s possible.” The conference’s breakout sessions tended to move away from diversity and towards lively discussions of payments and their future. One session focusing on remittances, for example, explored what prompts consumers to choose one remittance service over another. Ina Yulo, Senior Content Strategy Manager BrightTALK, emphasised the importance of paying attention to generational and cultural differences when marketing remittance products. As an example of great marketing, she pointed to Azimut’s use of Filipino cultural imagery in a billboard, strategically placed in a London Underground station in Earl’s Court, known locally as “Little Manila.” This and other examples pointed to a shift towards customer-centricity in fintech. Later in the afternoon, a panel called “Fostering Diversity in Fintech” returned to the question of how we push diversity forward – and what diversity means. The panel was moderated by Don Ginsel, CEO and Founder of Holland FinTech. The conference closed with drinks and networking.   About the EWPN The European Women Payments Network (EWPN) was founded by Martha Mghendi-Fisher, Card Scheme Compliance Director at Payvision, to highlight women’s active and influential roles in the payments sector, and to help women collectively strengthen their position. It is a sub-branch of The Global Women Payments Network (GWPN), a global network for women working in Cards & Payments in Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East. Their workshops and events bring women in payments together for a day or two for payments-focused sessions to learn about issues and trends, network with peers and celebrate women’s achievements from across the payments ecosystem      ]]>

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