We see women as leaders of companies, industries and even nations. In an era when women are taking control and shattering glass-ceilings, it has become critical to bring that same energy to the classroom. We sat down with June Klein to get her perspective on the role of female leaders in classrooms and the future of FinTech.
June Klein is the CEO of Technology & Marketing Ventures Inc, Former Technology Advisor to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a frequent speaker at top universities and conferences around the world.
What are some of the greatest professional challenges you have faced?
My greatest professional challenge has been when I created a global trading system for a major international bank. We were using software that hadn’t even been beta-tested yet and had to implement it across 160 different countries. But, from this, I developed my own personal framework for managing change, complexity and risk, which I later presented at the University of Oxford.
Do you feel you were supported by your ecosystem in pursuing your career? How could this have been improved?
Through my career, I have learned that nobody is going to support you. At the end of the day, it is up to you to manage your own career. I remember that there was a time when I had retired male colonels reporting to me. That was a challenge where they didn’t respect my authority; I had to quickly learn how best to manage them and where to draw the line.
“Technology is always going to be advancing, the future lies in being able to understand how to work with automation.”
What do you see as the major challenges ahead for FinTech?
We live in an era of what I call “infobesity”. As technology advances, we are able to collect more and more information and data but there’s not much understanding of what to do or how this will be regulated. I think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in making sense of the data and using it responsibly.
What would your advice be for students looking to join the FinTech industry?
With the future of things like cryptocurrency being so uncertain, my advice would be to focus on two things. Firstly, in this era of “infobesity” it’s critical to build a strong mathematical foundation. Then, you’ll be like a steamroller; you’d be able to define and tackle any problem. Secondly, focus on human-machine interaction and relationships. There are a number of programs/courses out there on this topic. In Japan, they have factories that operate in the dark 24*7! Technology is always going to be advancing, the future lies in being able to understand how to work with automation.
“Having female role models in your career or in general pushes you to strive for more and also join forces with and support other women”
Why do you think it’s important to have female role models?
One of the most apparent observations I’ve seen in high-level positions is that you will at most have one woman. It’s rare to see multiple women in senior roles or on the same team. Women are missing working together. Having female role models in your career or in general pushes you to strive for more and also join forces with and support other women. You can’t do it all alone. This can help you get through the day and be bigger, bolder and better.
Do you think women leaders can bring a different perspective to the classroom? Why?
Absolutely! I think that women, in general, have more empathy and can bring a level of sensitivity to the classroom that is otherwise missing. Women are also inherently multitaskers and may be able to bring a new understanding of prioritisation and managing time.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Pick your battles. There are going to be many times in your career where you’ll feel like fighting, but don’t fight everything.
Which Female Leaders have inspired you in your career?
I was recently lucky enough to be invited for an event where they put up a board on ‘Inspiring Women Leaders’ and they put up my photo right in between my two idols- Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Michelle Obama. But, I think my biggest role models have been my mother and my two aunts who were pioneers in their fields and way ahead of their time.