Earlier this week, RegTech Women hosted our latest event - Leap Of Faith: Are You Prepared To Take Risks In Your Career. This was a panel event hosted by The FCA. The essence of the discussion was about taking risks, or not taking risks, in our careers. It touched on the importance of the benefits of being championed by other women and the formal/informal networks that can benefit our careers. And, it talked a little about Imposter Syndrome.

This was a panel with a distinct absence of bravado, with raw honesty and candour searing through both the discussion and the Q&A session. It was fascinating hearing the personal stories of the panel members.

Francesca Hopwood Road, Head of RegTech and Advanced Analytics at The Financial Conduct Authority, chaired the panel and set out her mission for the team she leads. She stated that in building out this team, they seek diversity of perspective and diversity of talent in their work. She said there are fantastically talented women but, sometimes, they can be in short supply with male colleagues dominating job applications. She is building a series of events, showcasing the work they are doing and seeks to address the imbalance of women in data science, women in tech and women in fintech/regtech.

On risks (some calculated, some not), one panellist talked about taking a risk by joining a startup that never gained traction but emphasised the valuable lessons she learned from the failure of the business. Another talked about the calculated risk of balancing a return to work after maternity leave with the desire (but uncertainty) to come back to a more challenging role. A panellist talked about being pushed back twice for internal promotions and this had knocked her confidence, preventing her from going for promotions. She was subsequently sponsored by a colleague and this facilitated her promotion to a new team.

Mentors and sponsors (male and female) are so important.

RegTech Women's Lisa Zevi spoke about Imposter Syndrome. The first time this phrase was used was in the 1970s, where it was thought it was a woman’s problem and that it only applied to women. The first paper that was published on this subject focused on women in leadership/women in challenging careers. It has since been discovered it applies equally to men but that perhaps men are not so willing to admit it exists. Lisa Zevi has had an interesting career, initially risk-free and more recently a voice in her head makes it feel like she takes risks more frequently. Her book, The REAL Entrepreneur: How to simplify, grow and enjoy your business is available online. Read Lisa's summary of what she said on the panel here: Is Impostor Syndrome a female problem?

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