I had the honour to be one of thirty women chosen from over 170 applicants to participate in the Rise Up programme at Money20/20 Europe in Amsterdam June 3-5. We benefited from a bespoke agenda for women leaders in Financial Services and Fintech with speakers, panel discussions and mentoring alongside the Money20/20 programming.
The excitement began as soon as the academy members were announced, weeks before we arrived in Amsterdam, as we reached out through our WhatsApp group and connected over LinkedIn and these relationships were cemented over the two and half days in the Dutch capital. Suddenly I have a network of smart, talented and ambitious women in Financial Services and Fintech and this is one of the greatest gifts of Rise Up. There have been several studies recently that women are more successful with an inner circle of other women and to have the opportunity to have a tribe of amazing women in the industry in my corner is inspiring and powerful.
The agenda covered topics ranging from Work-Life Balance, Emotional Intelligence, Networking, Personal Brand, Career Planning and Getting on a Board. But it wasn’t theory, it was actionable insights and learning as we heard from the real-life experiences of industry leaders, from Fintech entrepreneurs to the former Chairman of the Board of a large bank. We heard from women who had been there.
There was something to take-away in every session, but some of the highlights for me were the roundtable on networking and the powerful advice to focus on what you can give the other person, hearing a banking executive speak about being ready for innovation and change, a powerful talk about overcoming setbacks and the presentation on Personal Brand that inspired every woman in attendance. Not to mention the hour I spent one-on-one with my paired mentor, whom I look forward continue to connect with.
Included in the agenda was some time each day to take in Money20/20 experience, whether it was attending a panel, walking the conference floor or meeting with colleagues, customers or vendors. It was a great opportunity to look outside Western Union and see what others in the industry are talking about. Digital remains a hot topic and larger organizations are trying different approaches, including setting up Innovation Zones and creating Intrapreneurship opportunities (with some eventually spinning off into their own company, like Norway’s Vipps). The Regulatory environment was also a topic for discussion, particularly Open Banking; there were several Open Banking facilitators in attendance.
Attending Money20/20 has broadened my view of the industry and makes me more excited about how Western Union is uniquely positioned to provide consumers and businesses the services they need. In addition, I have new insights and tools that I can share with my Women@WU mentoring circle to continue to empower the women in our organization to grow in their careers as Western Union aims to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions.