Marieke Flament is an esteemed technology leader and is currently the Managing Director of the European expansion of the payments app Circle. She was recently listed in the Women in Fintech Power List and has made a huge impact at Circle having launched the app in the UK, Ireland and Spain. She has often spoken about the lack of gender balance in both the finance and tech sectors and the consequences of recruiting when you are a fast-growing company like a Fintech.
Here Marieke shares her thoughts on working for a global technology company and discusses the benefits of diversity.
What is your role and what is Circle?
I am the Managing Director Europe for Circle.
Circle is a blockchain based consumer Internet company focused on transforming the world economy with secure, simple, and less costly technology for storing and using money. Circle is backed by $140 million from investors including Goldman Sachs, IDG China, Breyer Capital, Accel, Baidu, CICC. With offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Dublin and London, Circle is building mobile apps aimed at enabling greater ease-of-use in online and in-person payments, with enhanced security and privacy, and the convenience of free, instant, global digital money transfers.
Our first consumer product Circle Pay is live in 29 markets, with millions of customers.
Circle Pay is the social payments app that allows you to send and request money like a text. Send gifs, emojis, photos, and change money from pounds to dollars and euros, all for free. Say goodbye to cash, sort codes and card readers.
Circle sits beautifully within so many life situations with friends - splitting the bill at a restaurant, bills in a houseshare, collecting for gifts, the 4am taxi fares, that late night kebab your mate bought you... With Circle, you can pay your friend back instantly.
What motivates you?
Working on new technologies, changing the way things are done in order to provide better, cheaper and faster products to the end consumers.
Working at a company like Circle which is at the forefront of the internet and looks at the ways in which technology can simplify our lives is truly inspiring.
"I also relish tackling the everyday challenges that working in such a fast-paced industry such as FinTech throws at you. You are constantly learning and no day is ever the same."
What do you think about the role of women within Fintechs and how do you think women can take advantage of their roles within Fintechs?
As within any industry it is critical to ensure diversity within the ecosystem. At the end of the day we build products for a diverse audience and our teams have to reflect the user base we are serving.
The only way to shape products and technologies for all is to have a gender mix. I'd love to see more women getting involved in tech. Computer science and coding needs to be taught at a younger age. With regards to coding it was actually invented by women and historically they have made up a large proportion of its workforce. In fact, in 1984 37% of all computer science graduates were women and now that number is just 18%. Disappointingly according to figures in 2015, just 16% of Facebook’s tech staff and 18% of Google’s were female. This needs to change.
This is one of the reasons why last year Circle became a proud signatory of The Women in Finance Charter, led by the HM Treasury. As a young fast-growing FinTech company, innovation is vital but so too is our passion for people.
"We want the right people for the job, whatever their gender."
How did you get to where you are today?
Prior to joining Circle, I was the Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hotels.com (and Expedia Inc company), overseeing a $2B+ revenue business across 33 multilingual markets. Prior to this I was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group based in Paris and before that a Regional Financial Analyst for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) based in Hong Kong.
I love how new technologies can impact consumers, making their lives easier.
What is important to you about inspiring the next generation?
I think having role models is critical to inspiring the next generation. Throughout my career to date I am fortunate to have worked with some truly inspirational leaders. It’s important to learn from the best as you progress throughout your career. Being mentored by people who have achieved a lot in their careers gives you the impetus and motivation that you can achieve the same. It’s also inspiring to learn from visionaries, such as Circle’s co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville, who have made their vision a reality through sheer persistence and hard work.
If you would like to share yours or someone else’s story for the Spotlight on Diversity Champions blog series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org