Story by Melissa Hougie, Director of Marketing, with Q&A from Nicole Newlin, VP of Solutions
We’re proud to announce that Nicole Newlin, VP of Solutions at Ocrolus, has joined NYC Fintech Women’s leadership team.
Nicole brings first-hand experience navigating financial services and fintech, having held management positions with Wells Fargo, Quovo, and Plaid, prior to joining Ocrolus. Nicole’s unique perspective adds breadth and depth to the leadership team as they focus on expanding NYC Fintech Women’s reach.
NYC Fintech Women is a community of women fintech executives, founders, and engineers, who are opening the doors of Wall Street by facilitating access to education, community, and coaching.
“We started Women in Fintech because we had been searching for a platform for women to support each other in the Fintech and financial services community, and we struggled to find one. That’s when we decided to create one ourselves,” explains Sasha Pilch, co-founder of NYC Fintech Women and Business Development Manager at Plaid.
The historical and modern significance
On March 22, 1972, the United States Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which proclaimed: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” It was a significant milestone in the Women’s Rights Movement, a social force that sought equal rights and opportunities for women in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although we’ve made much progress to level the playing field for women in the workforce since then, it takes just one look at the numbers to see that we still have a lot of work to do. In some industries, like financial services, this rings especially true.
As of 2019, women aged 25 and older account for approximately 50.2% of the college-educated workforce. However, while about 46 percent of financial services employees are women, only 15 percent are at the executive level (Forbes).
This gap in representation is more than unfair; it’s bad for business. According to a report from Harvard Business Review, “non homogeneous teams are simply smarter.” Diverse teams are more collaborative, innovative, and better at problem-solving. Plus, there are statistics to support that businesses lacking in diversity can see a negative impact on the bottom line.
Fortunately, thanks to organizations like NYC Fintech Women, and incredible leaders like Nicole, the future for women in financial services is getting brighter by the day.
Michelle Tran, co-founder of NYC Fintech Women and Head of Business Development at Harness Wealth, shares: “Nicole Newlin is a trailblazing female, in fintech and beyond. Nicole’s achievements and work in the industry have helped to open financial services as a viable career path for women. We are thrilled to have Nicole’s guidance, and we look forward to developing the next generations of leaders together.”
We sat down with Nicole to learn more about her background and her new position with NYC Fintech Women.
NICOLE’S JOURNEY TO FINTECH: Over the past 20 years, I worked in Wealth Management, Brokerage/Banking and Asset Management firms – so I’ve been very financial services focused and in roles working directly with Financial Advisors. Over that time, I worked on professional development teams, training/development as well as a COO, overseeing Operations, IT, and Human Resources. Eventually, I pivoted to the revenue side handling partnerships and relationship management. I developed a skill set that has allowed me to see many parts of a large organization and understand how it all fits together.
Over time with the rise of the robo-advisor, commoditization of financial advice, and fee compression it became clear to me that I needed to reconsider my next move. Honestly, I feared I was too much of a generalist, and with the rise of Fintech and no ability to code, I was destined to be stuck. This is exactly what I hear from many women hoping to transition today. So, I took a break from corporate, and I started consulting by networking with the organizations who had been vendors for my firm and who were starting to explore tech. Through that effort, I met Lowell Putnam, Founder and CEO of Quovo (now Plaid – just bought by Visa), who was looking for support in their client onboarding process for Enterprise clients. Luckily, my experience matched,and he figured I could figure the tech out! I am very grateful to him for offering me the consulting gig, which turned into a job and furthered my experience via working at Plaid as well. The investor network introduced me to Sam Bobley, CEO of Ocrolus, where I am very happy to be VP of Solutions working with a fantastic team.
WHY SHE JOINED NYC FINTECH WOMEN’S BOARD: I think women have a hard time breaking into financial services because there have never been that many in the space. There are a few examples. The reality is that there are still fewer women in tech positions, senior positions, on boards, etc. There isn’t a magic button to press for greater equality – we have to take the initiative to create diversity in the industry. NYC Fintech Women is lighting the way for women in financial services, and I want to contribute by supporting and mentoring these women. Additionally, given my path into Fintech and the number of talented women transitioning from traditional firms, I feel a strong sense of duty to support their efforts. The good news – the future for women in Fintech has never been brighter!
NICOLE’S ADVICE TO HER YOUNGER SELF: Assume NOTHING. Unless you express your idea, an interest in learning more or raise your hand for a promotion – no one knows. I may have thought my hard work and willingness to take on every project and participate in every event was a sign of my interest to expand my career, but no one knew. There were a few times I chose to leave a company and start over, and in hindsight, the assumption of no opportunity or interest was a mistake.
NICOLE’S FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, AND WHY:
“Ability is of little account without opportunity” – Lucille Ball
I think my advice to my younger self probably shows why I love this quote. But secondly, I look to leadership in all companies of all types to consider how they are offering opportunity across a wide and diverse employee and candidate pool. Look at your organization and consider who is the next to move forward in their career and how leadership must mentor their employees. Don’t let great team members slip away because they see no career path. Consider how diversity in hiring grows market share, promotes creativity and stimulates fresh ideas. Finally, think strategically about how you are building teams and providing thoughtful professional development.
Connect with Nicole and follow Ocrolus and NYC Fintech Women on LinkedIn.
In 2019, we doubled our team. This year, we’re doubling it again! View available roles here.