Inspirational Woman: Miroslava Betinova | Head of Strategic Sales, PPS
Hi, my name is Miroslava and I love #fintech.
Somebody once told me: “you can only love a person, an animal or perhaps a cake. You can’t love an industry, that is too vague.”
I disagree. You can love what you do – and that happens when you feel your work is contributing towards something, helps to create something, shapes something, challenges something, improves and betters the way things are done now and takes them to their best future version of themselves.
I came to London when I was 18 years old from a small village in Slovakia and I really wanted to meet the Queen, or at least see her. At such a young age, you have no fear of the unknown, and ‘future security’ is a concept you have barely started to grasp. Whilst I ticked all of those boxes and some there was one thing I was sure of – whatever it is that I am giving up time with my family for has to translate into something awesome, something I will be proud of and something that will fill the void of Sunday lunch with my parents.
July 2021 will mark my 5th anniversary at PPS as its Head of strategic sales for fintech & paytech UK & Europe.
I can safely say there is zero space left for any void in my life. I’ve found a role in a company and industry that generates excitement, provides me with a constant learning and fills my daily calendar with a sense of purpose and achievement.
Oh and I’ve been to the Buckingham Palace for the Trooping of the Colours and I did finally get a peep at The Queen!
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I was never one for in 5 years’ time I want to sit in a big office with a team of X amount of people around” type of a planner but I always knew whatever I ended up doing needed to feel exciting, needed to have a good vibe, needed to give me a strong sense of achievement and needed to feel relevant. A very broad thought but it naturally crystalised, bit by bit in what I am doing today – working in an organisation that is helping to shape and drive the fintech scene across UK and Europe and I am surrounded by incredibly creative, smart, driven and above all passionate people, be it my direct colleagues, my clients or industry peers.
Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?
One of the biggest challenges for me was to find a way to combine my university studies with securing an income through doing something that is related to my studies and will be of use once I graduate. I didn’t want just a uni job, I wanted a job that would allow me on Tuesday to apply in practice the theory I’ve learnt on Monday. I realised the best way to go about this is by finding companies, in whatever industry, that are providing graduate programmes and schemes. This proved to be the right strategy. I first joined Chubb Fire and Security, a UTC company, selling firefighting equipment – a dream of a 20-year-old girl? Certainly not! Did it provide me with invaluable all-round experience in understanding the commercial and marketing environment by being placed in their central HQ? 100% yes as it allowed me to gain invaluable transferable skills.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Every time a new programme and customer of PPS launches to the market, I get to be part of their journey. Enabling innovation and being part of something that can permanently impact the way we interact with financial services fills me with excitement and pride in my work, admiration of my employer and thrill for the fintech industry.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I am direct and not scared to ask questions. What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody might say no to something or turn me away. Once you realise that the worst possible outcome of anything you are trying to get done or achieve is a rejection you will be filled with an endless sense of drive and energy. Because we all know that for every NO there will eventually be a YES.
What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?
If you don’t understand how it works, ask! It is much better asking, however stupid you feel the question might be, than going through life pretending that you understand.
Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?
The fintech and paytech space is filled with countless inspirational female leaders, founders, professionals, advisors, and enthusiasts. The only barrier for success is one’s fear or lack of hard work, but neither of those are linked to a particular gender in my opinion.
What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?
Looking at this from the perspective of a PPS team member, I see no difference between male and female success. What I see is the need for companies to provide flexibility, foster an environment of loyalty and provide adequate reward. Any company which is flexible enough to reflect one’s circumstances and rewards the commitment of its team members will create loyalty and longevity of talent retention by osmosis. All of these are gender neutral in my view.
But if I had to pick one single item to answer your question it would be flexibility.
There is currently only 15% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?
Its a shockingly low statistic then. The thing I would do, is draw on one of my biggest drivers behind everything I do, in my professional and private life: curiosity. Fintech is mostly made by millennials, for millennials and below. I’d make sure to influence Gen Z by showing them the cool, funky and INCLUSIVE side of fintech that is enabling solutions that will become engrained in their daily lives. It is in human nature to try new things because we feel curious about what they do and how they make us feel. So, I say – make your future workforce curious.
What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?
I could name many events, podcasts, subscriptions here but all I would do is tell you what works for me – and it might not work for the next amazing talent in the paytech space.
What I would say is, if you feel your inbox is already in overdrive and you can’t keep up with release-by-release notifications, subscribe to news from a place such as Finextra that offers daily or weekly summaries. Another personal fav is Marcel van Oost’s bite size newsletter and LinkedIn posts.
Same applies to podcasts. If you already feel there is too much noise in your head and listening to another voice talking at you for an hour is the last thing you need this might not be for you. But If you geek out in fintech chat as much as I do and are looking for some seriously therapeutic voices check out the 11:FS Fintech Insider (special shout out to Jason Bates).
But above all, network.Talk to people. Tell them what you do, why you do it and why is it absolutely awesome. Talk to them at conferences, networking events, on a plane, while trying to scuba dive. Whatever the time and place. Just tell your story. The rest will somewhat fall into place.