Back in February, I had the opportunity to bring in Sasha Pilch, Co-Founder of NYC Fintech Women, to the guest chair of In the Suite. As the country continues to adjust to our new, Coronavirus norm, I believe this is the perfect moment to share Sasha’s inspiring story that began with a dream, a journey and a risk-it-all approach to the Fin-Tech industry.
Originally from Australia, Sasha arrived in the states after working for some of the biggest banks in London and Sydney, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Citi and Commonwealth Bank. It was in these roles that Sasha caught wind of the emerging sector of FinTech. After an extended holiday, Sasha winded up in New York. And in just 2.5 years, Sasha went from not knowing a soul in America to becoming one of the most important women leaders in NYC FinTech.
Sasha’s foray into FinTech in the states was accelerated through her relationship with Michelle Tran, who was considered a Fairy Godmother of Fin-Tech in the city. The two began partnering together after Sasha attended one of Michelle’s events on a cold rainy New York evening. And it’s been magic ever since. The two went on to partner together to grow NYC FinTech and in two years, the organization has gone on to bring in close to five thousand members, has held over 50 events, distributes a weekly content series, and even put on their first FinTech Female Awards last year.
Sasha’s relationship with Michelle underscores her value of networking. As she states, “no conversation is a wasted conversation.” If you don’t want to start your own financial services business, Sasha reminds us that networking can also lead to promotions, acquiring new clients, and building your personal brand.
And these networking opportunities are aplenty at NYC FinTech Women. At events, members are encouraged to meet new people and make on-the-spot LinkedIn connections. And it’s clear something is working. Before Covid-19 hit, NYC Fintech Women had a full line-up of events booked until October, with CEOs clamoring to get involved to help further their own diversity initiatives.
However, it’s not only Sasha’s networking skills that have gotten her this far. After working at Quovo, Sasha went on to work at Plaid (which was eventually acquired for $5.3 billion by Visa) and is now in a new business role at Ram, a financial services business dedicated to helping companies reduce burn and have control over their spend.
I loved hearing about Sasha’s career trajectory, as well as how easily she breaks down the FinTech industry. For those less familiar, Sasha defines FinTech as a “customer-centric approach to helping people with their financial service needs.”
According to Sasha, the five need-to-know categories of FinTechs are:
- Payments: This allows you to transfer money cheaper than traditional banks. E.g. Venmo and Transfer Wise.
- Wealth Management: Opens up investment opportunities to those who aren’t necessarily high net worth. You can start investing with as little as $5 with some of these FinTechs. E.g. Robinhood and Stash.
- Retirement: Helps make the process towards retirement more enjoyable and turns the confusing information around retirements into easy-to-understand material. E.g. Kinda
- Lending: Uses non-traditional underwriting methods instead of traditional credit score. E.g. Prosper and Upgrade.
- Personal Financial Management: Helps people get control over their financial situations. E.g. YNAB and Albert.
Sasha is an encyclopedia of FinTech knowledge and her approach to the industry is one of verve and ingenuity. Take a listen to the episode and take the below three steps to help you make use of the inspiring information shared by Sasha.
- Sign-up For A Virtual Event: While in-person events may be less available to you now, virtual events are everywhere. You can continue building your knowledge and expanding your circle from the comfort of your home office. Look on the website of your favorite organizations to see what’s being offered.
- Reach Out To A LinkedIn Connection: Many of us do a great job of connecting with people we meet on LinkedIn, but often we don’t do enough to keep the pathways open. Leverage the fact that many people have fewer engagements right now and reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with and schedule a Zoom coffee or a happy hour call.
- Research and Sign Up for A FinTech: Sasha shared so much useful information on Fin-Techs. Look into any of the ones she listed to see how you can start using them for your personal or professional lives. And then take the next steps – download the app, set up alerts on your phone, and start exploring the features of the app. These newer services are changing the way we conduct our financial lives so let’s stay ahead of the curve by integrating them into our lives.
Today in the In the Suite guest chair we welcome Sasha Pilch, Co-Founder of NYC Fintech Women. Sasha arrived in the states after working for some of the biggest banks in London and her native city, Sydney, Australia. In just 2.5 years, Sasha went from not knowing a single soul in America to becoming one of the most important women leaders in NYC FinTech.
Sasha’s foray into FinTech in the states was accelerated through her relationship with Michelle Tran, who was considered a Fairy Godmother of Fin-Tech in the city. The two began partnering together after Sasha attended one of Michelle’s events on a cold rainy New York evening. And it’s been magic ever since. The two went on to partner together to grow NYC FinTech and in less than two years, the organization has close to five thousand members, held over 50 events, distributes a weekly content series, and even put on their first FinTech Female Awards.
Sasha’s story reminds us of the importance of connection and how one contact can change the trajectory of a woman’s life.
Join the conversation to hear more about:
- How Sasha got started in Fin-Tech (5:59)
- How extending a holiday turned into a move across the Pacific (6:46)
- An easy way to define Fin-Tech (8:48)
- The five, need-to-know categories of Fin-Tech (10:35)
- How Sasha used a rainy winter night to change the course of her life (15:43)
- The surprising ways networking can advance your career (24:50)
- How male CEOs are responding to NYC FinTech Women (31:38)
- The types of inspiring leaders that you can find at NYC FinTech Women (35:35)
- The shocking physical object Sasha gave away to make it in New York (39:01)