CEO @ Mettle
Marieke is a French-born computer engineer who has worked across the globe in a diverse range of companies that include Boston Consulting Group,Expedia’s Hotels.com and Circle, one of the world’s largest crypto companies.
Marieke is now the CEO of Mettle, a unique fintech proposition as the app-based business account for small businesses, backed by NatWest. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which technology can be used to change people’s lives and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in financ eand technology. Marieke was recognised in the Women in FinTech Power list for2019 and frequently provides media commentary on technology and the future of finance.
Have you seen a progression for better equality in the workplace?
When I was studying Computer Science, women made up 10% of the faculty. Unfortunately, I don’t think that number has changed much, and I believe there is still a lot of stigma and biases that we still need to break: for example, skills like coding are not just for boys.
If we want to build better products that are inclusive, and for everybody, then we need diversity and inclusion in the teams that are building these products. Otherwise unconscious biases are built-in, and the output won’t reflect the society they should serve.
Closer to home, today Mettle is 22% women. It’s slightly better than theFinTech average of 15% but for me this isn’t good enough, we still have work to do.
How do we overcome these biases?
The first part for me is realising that we all have them. So step one starts with awareness. Biases are mental shortcuts so that your brain can go faster and process an ever-increasing amount of information, but that means thatyou might take shortcuts such as “oh, that person is like me so they will understand what I’m looking to achieve”.
I think the Black Lives Matter movement, especially through COVID, was so important because it made the conversation not only thrive but also mandatory. I found that a very empowering moment because we had employees speaking out and feeling comfortable about doing that. And that helped raise awareness of our biases.
What’s the next step after awareness for you? How does an anti-bias agenda play out?
It plays the biggest role in recruiting for me. When you recruit someone, it’s easy to recruit someone that is like you. So, I do my best to champion finding people who complement each other, and cover blind spots we might have, rather than people who look and feel the same.