Exclusive: Focus on women in tech on International Women’s Day

8th March 2023

A LeapRate Exclusive Commentary…This Wednesday marks International Women’s Day and we spoke to a selection of female representatives from the technology sector with experience in different aspects of the industry in different countries.

Below is a commentary from Remonda Kirketerp-Møller, Founder and CEO of Muinmos; Rebecca May, Production Engineer at iSAM Securities; Daphne Munuera, Client Services Officer at iSAM Securities; Clare Dunsmuir, Client Services Officer at iSAM Securities; Sue Cheung, Head of APAC Sales at GCEX; and Marie Reece, VP Customer Success and Revenue Operations at IPC Systems.

Remonda Kirketerp-Møller, Founder and CEO, Muinmos

LR: Do you think it’s important to have women in senior roles in this industry? If so, why? – “It is vital to be thinking about how best to build the future leaders of tomorrow and to empower everyone within an organisation from an early stage, helping them to develop and gain the skills required to be leaders.  Putting a woman on the board as a box ticking exercise is so ineffective – and usually backfires. A woman, like anyone else, should be appointed at an Executive Level because they have not only demonstrated competence at their job but, importantly, they have the creativity needed be a true leader, to help scale and build a better business.

LR: Do you think more needs to be done to attract women into this industry? If so, what? – “This journey needs to begin earlier. We need to be working with employees in lower level positions, building them into future leaders, perhaps with a specific leadership pathway for women, to ensure they have the opportunity and skillset to be part of this hierarchy.

To develop strong leaders in this sector and to help women to realise their full potential, firms need to focus on the value of leadership, not just the importance of successfully managing and allocating tasks.

Empowered, diverse teams and Boards achieve even greater things. The financial services sector needs to adapt to increase the number of women leaders in the future.”

Rebecca May, Production Engineer,  iSAM Securities

LR: Tell me about your career to date. – “My career so far has focused on financial technology, specialising in FIX and Connectivity Integrations. Having previous experience at Traiana, Barclays Investment Bank and Bloomberg, allowed me to work with a wide network of global Institutional clients and leading technology vendors. Working at iSAM Securities has given me the opportunity to branch into Retail FX, whilst expanding my institutional relationships, with my role as the go-to engineer contact for our Prime and Agency businesses.”

LR: Why did you choose to work in this industry? – “Having completed my degree in Financial Mathematics, it was a natural fit for me to work in this industry. I enjoy the buzz of the city and the opportunity to network with many people from different backgrounds. The financial landscape is constantly evolving and technology is enhancing every year. It’s an exciting time to be part of it!”

LR: What are the advantages/disadvantages of working in such a male dominated industry? – “Working in technology the balance is certainly more heavily skewed and at times in my career I have been the only female in my immediate team.  I had to see this as an opportunity to push myself harder to achieve my career goals. It has taught me to be more confident in myself and advocate for my own worth. It has been hard to find women with a similar skillset and this is why it is imperative that we have dedicated networking groups and events so we can learn and grow together. My male colleagues have been a huge support to me over the years and I am grateful they have been part of my journey so far.”

LR: Do you feel there are strong career opportunities for women at iSAM Securities? – “The team is rapidly growing and there are great things to come in the future for iSAM Securities. We are a close knit team that are supportive in pursuing our own career goals, whilst maximising our potential to grow and work on a variety of different projects. We are all encouraged to complete industry recognised exams and participate in leadership training courses.”

LR: Do you have a strong network of female colleagues at iSAM Securities. Is this important to you/if so, why? – “We have a great team in iSAM Securities and the ladies are certainly doing amazing work and making their own impact. The wider iSAM group has a growing base of women joining a variety of different teams. As the company grows, we are exploring ways that iSAM can be a leading representation in the industry which as a whole still has a long way to go!”

LR: Do you think it’s important to have women in senior roles in this industry? If so, why? –“Absolutely! During my career, I’ve had the great pleasure to work with some amazing women who are trailblazing efforts in diversity and inclusion within this industry for many years, many of which I consider mentors in their unique way. Women in senior roles know of the unique challenges they had to overcome and to be able to share that experience and enable other women to learn from that is incredibly valuable.”

LR: Do you think more needs to be done to attract women into this industry? If so, what? – “Of course, I believe ultimately it starts at the beginning. There are some fantastic organisations championing STEM courses for young women in schools and online. The pool of female talent entering this industry now is unrecognisable to that of the past, and it will continue to excel in the future as these women can inspire the younger generations to come.”

Daphne Munuera, Client Services Officer, iSAM Securities

LR: Can you tell me a little bit about your career? – “For the majority of my career, I’ve worked in the finance sector. My first job was in one of the largest banks in South America, where I worked for almost 6 years. Before iS Prime I was working in the retail broker sector. It has been an exciting journey with a lot of changes and learning along the way.”

LR: Why did you choose to work in this industry? – “When I first started thinking about the career path I wanted to follow, I wanted somehow to help people with their finances. Having started my career in Brazil, it felt extremely rewarding and positive to be able to help clients in a wide range of economic and financial situations. I am also someone who enjoys challenges and always learning and as a young woman looking to become successful, I was sure this was the best path for me.”

LR: What are the advantages/disadvantages of working in such a male-dominated industry? – “Offering a different perspective is always an advantage. The more diversity, the better. If you work in a place that actually has the ambition of growing and offering a more inclusive product/service, your voice and perspective will be heard which is extremely important to me.”

LR: Do you feel there are strong career opportunities for women at iSAM Securities? – “Yes, speaking from my own experience I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey with iSAM Securities. I have been happy with my progress within the company to date. I also like the way in which I am able to also discuss opportunities to be able to further myself through qualifications and career progression.”

LR: Do you have a strong network of female colleagues at iSAM Securities? Is this important to you/if so, why? – “Having a strong network of female colleagues is incredibly important in my point of view. Here we have a strong bond as a team and I am proud of the platform and opportunities that iSAM provides to me and other women.”

LR: Do you think it’s important to have women in senior roles in this industry? If so, why? – “This was one of the first points I noticed when I joined. Here we have induction meetings to give the new joiners a better understanding of the different areas of the company, and for me seeing females in senior roles was extremely positive. Learning that the company sponsors courses which help us to grow and develop, and seeing that it’s possible gives you the understanding that this is a career company that provides a platform for talented and ambitious women to thrive.”

LR: Do you think more needs to be done to attract women into this industry? If so, what? – “I believe there is always room for improvement, especially industry-wide. As I said previously, the more inclusivity and diversity, the better. Having awareness, hearing, and trying to understand different perspectives makes a company more attractive.”

Clare Dunsmuir, Client Services Officer, iSAM Securities

LR: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your career? –  “I have been working for iS Prime since December 2022, having previously worked for iSAM (covering iSAM Securities and iSAM Funds) since September 2021.

I began my career working in retail management before accepting a job as the receptionist for iSAM. This role allowed me to consolidate the customer service skills I learned during my time in retail, adapting them for our clientele, while also learning more about our business and the services we offer. When an opportunity came up within the iSAM Securities’ Client Services team I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the brokerage side of the business and start my career within finance.”

LR: Why did you choose to work in this industry? – “It sounds like a cliche, but I love that no day is the same in this job. There’s always something new to learn!”

LR: What are the advantages/disadvantages of working in such a male dominated industry? – “A big advantage is that women are able to look at things from a different perspective, which can lead to more interesting discussions and debates, and different solutions to problems. We also are able to stand out more easily which can maybe seem intimidating in some situations, but I see it as a secret superpower. In meetings, for example, there is no hiding our voices amongst the chatter of men. Your voice is distinct, so you’re able to stand out and have our opinions and suggestions heard.”

LR: Do you feel there are strong career opportunities for women at iSAM Securities? – “I personally feel that, if you work hard and are eager to learn, there are endless opportunities. Having moved from one department to another, I am proof of this! We are encouraged to speak up, voice our suggestions and knowledge, whilst collaborating with others allowing everyone in the company to learn and grow.”

LR: Do you have a strong network of female colleagues at iSAM Securities. Is this important to you/if so, why? – “I think we do. I definitely believe we have a group of female professionals that believe in building each other up. For me this is so important – I come from a family of strong, supportive women – so it’s nice to have that supportive network here that you can use as a sounding board and confide in and learn from their experiences within the industry.”

LR: Do you think it’s important to have women in senior roles in this industry? If so, why? – “Yes. I think it’s really important to have women in senior roles so younger people, just starting out, know that their gender isn’t a barrier to success. A great role model can act as that daily reminder to keep yourself motivated and keep reaching for those goals and targets you set yourself. We’re really lucky to have strong female role models within our company to learn from, but we all need to work together to make sure that continues.”

LR: Do you think more needs to be done to attract women into this industry? If so, what? – “I think there can be a stigma that comes with this industry that it is essentially a ‘boys club’ which just isn’t the case from my experience. I have had the pleasure of meeting some extremely hard working and knowledgeable women since I entered the finance world, but that isn’t always seen by people outside of the industry. Everyone, at all levels of any company, needs to make more of an effort to highlight the great work women do and help to make their faces recognisable to the wider business world. Unless we see women in positions at all levels, how will we ever be able to attract more women to industry? The female to male ratio is definitely out of balance but I think if we can shake this stereotype, then women could end up dominating these meeting rooms.”

Sue Cheung, Head of APAC Sales, GCEX – based in Hong Kong

LR: Do you think more needs to be done to attract women into this industry? If so, what? – “There are more women participating in many different areas in this industry but I would like to see more career opportunities (or promotions) to be available for women, who want to seek a long-term career path. One of the reasons why I joined GCEX is that diversity is such a high priority, with a number of women in senior positions.”

LR: Do you think it’s important to have women in senior roles in this industry? If so, why? – “While there are more female role models than ever before who have held top positions in some of the most prestigious firms in the industry, there are still more the industry as a whole could do to enable more female leadership.”

LR: What are the advantages/disadvantages of working in such a male dominated industry? – “The advantage of working in a male-dominated industry like ours is that we get the opportunities to learn a lot of different things. My colleagues, who are mostly males, are willing to teach and offer me guidance –  they do not view me as their competitor. The flip side (or the disadvantage) is that most males or those, who hold the top positions, might not take us seriously; that being said, some females might find themselves in a tougher spot to move up the ladder.”

LR: Do you have a strong network of female colleagues at GCEX. Is this important to you/if so, why?  – “I embrace the idea of forming a female network within a company; however, I think it is rather more important to form a corporate culture, in which everyone could be treated fairly.”

LR: Do you think there are differences in the attitudes towards women in leading roles in different regions? – “Regional differences in terms of attitudes to women in leadership roles certainly exist, these differences are mainly driven by fundamental values that cannot be eliminated overnight but can be moderated over time as more regions are embracing the concept of having a greater mix of diversity.”

Marie Reece, VP Customer Success and Revenue Operations, IPC Systems

Marie boasts a 20-year career in IPC through which she has teams and processes to support business transformations including sales data management, business process re-engineering and program management at the executive level to ensure alignment of IPC’s organizational strategy and successful execution making her a valued business partner to IPC’s leaders. Most recently, she expanded her role to manage a global Customer Success team.

Her thoughts on being a female in a male dominated industry: – “I have seen a significant amount of positive change as it relates to equality in the workplace over the past 20 years; however, as you grow in an industry that prioritizes competition and gender biases, the reality is we still face workplace challenges.  It can be helpful to understand what limitations and stereotypes are placed on women while strongly believing the strive for equality does not belong to one single person or organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about all human rights. Strong women do not need to emulate what are perceived attributes of masculinity. Trust in yourself; do not limit to the expectations of others or question your abilities. Show off your talents! It is our uniqueness is what makes us valuable; having different perspectives, thoughts, ideas generate an incredible amount of creativity and innovation. And finally, use connection to expand your experience both professionally and personally. Understand that many times, male or female, people might be going through the same thing as you are and instead of isolating, use it to connect. I have learned so many valuable lessons by opening myself to possibilities, realizing sometimes the only limitations we have are ones we put on ourselves.”