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FinTech Women (FTW) had their launch event at Morningstar on Monday, December 11 in an effort to bring together experienced women in the financial technology space and highlight their achievements.

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December 13, 2017, by Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni, Founder of the Title Connection

FinTech Women (FTW) had their launch event at Morningstar on Monday, December 11 in an effort to bring together experienced women in the financial technology space and highlight their achievements. With a keynote speaker and expert panelists, the group talked about why diversity is important, opportunities for women in cryptocurrencies and how to get a seat at the table.
The event kicked things off with Tricia Rothschild, Chief Product Officer at Morningstar, talking about her 25-year career at the investment research firm and why companies should strive for diversity.
“When I was an analyst at Morningstar, I didn’t think about gender any more than other identifiers like religion or race.  However, I did notice that a lot of women weren’t advancing in their careers,” she said.  “It is important to fix this because it’s the right thing to do but also because it delivers better business results.”
After moving from an analyst role to product management, she reflected on the secret to her success.
“The key to success was to love the problem more than the product.  So you have to love the problems of the people that you serve, ” she said. “If you focus only on men then I don’t think you will have the right resources to solve the problems of your customer database.”
After Rothschild keynote, the event moved into a panel discussion with Kristen Thiry, Co-founder at K+H Connection moderating panelists Heather La Freniere, Corporate Finance Director at Silicon Valley Bank, Kristi Ross Co-CEO and President at Tastytrade, Colleen Sullivan, Managing Member at Sullivan Wolf Kailus, Jason Henrichs, Chairman of FinTex and Rumi Morales, Founder of Rumi Ventures.
After Thiry asked why this was such an exciting time for women in FinTech, Rumi explained, “There are so many changes happening and those changes come with opportunity.  FinTech can look so nascent and what I love about AI-Finance or Bitcoin is, they don’t care if you are or a boy or girl.  They care if you are passionate.”
One topic that the panelists themselves felt strongly about was opportunities in the digital assets space.
Rumi mentioned cryptocurrencies again. “I am scared that Bitcoin will become more mainstream and adopt the usual gender roles.  Get in now while it is still new and unestablished. “
Colleen Sullivan recommended the audience get in on the cryptocurrencies craze too. A partner in CMT Digital Holdings, a firm that invests in the digital assets and blockchain technology, Sullivan echoed Rumi’s remarks. “The Bitcoin space is great for women to enter for opportunity.”
The panelists also looked back on their careers and what they learned about making pathways for themselves and other women.
Heather La Freniere from Silicon Valley Bank said to broaden your candidate pool and look at where you are going for hiring needs. “As a leader, be aware that this is your opportunity to make a difference.”
Kristi Ross stressed confidence and showing an interest. “Look for someone you admire or has a job that you want.  Find someone you can learn from, ask questions of and form an opinion,” she said. “People think you are interested when you ask questions and these are things that will get you a seat at the table.”
Nearing the end of the conversation, Rumi shared a story about managing your career, at large.
“When I was 22, I was working with the Malaysian Bernie Madoff,” she said. “I was the director of global headquarters in London for a firm that made money on risky investments.”
She said when things went haywire and her boss went MIA, she had to sell off his assets, “including a Rolls Royce,” to pay the companies’ bills.
“There are so many things you can’t control, but I made it out alive,” she said.  “Right when you think you are at the end of the rope, your rope reveals to be a lot longer than you ever thought.”
The FinTech Women’s group looks to bring together a community to inspire, attract and advance women in the financial technology field.  With this in mind, their first event was a success.  They highlighted women as role models, distinguished points of entry for women looking at new opportunities and provided actionable advice on how to move forward in this ever-evolving landscape.

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Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni, Founder of The Title Connection

Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni

Founder of The Title Connection

Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni has over 15 years of experience building relationships, networking and connecting the dots. Jessica was able to build an extensive network as co-Founder and President of Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD). As WILD’s President, Jessica led WILD’s parent Board in Chicago from 2009-2014 and established branches in London, Frankfurt, Toronto, Mexico City and New York.
Jessica also spent time as the Marketing Director for the Americas at Itiviti, previously known as Orc Group, as well as a Communications Specialist at the National Futures Association and the Senior Vice President of Sales/Editor at Large at John J. Lothian & Company.
Currently, besides managing The Title Connection, Jessica is also the Head of Business Development for DyMynd, a financial empowerment firm that provides educational resources to help women feel confident about their investments and build healthy relationships with money. She is a frequent contributor to The Glass Hammer and her content has also appeared in Automated Trader and Markets Media. She is a re-occurring presenter at the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Options Institute, a member of the Futures Industry Association’s Operations Americas’ Board and co-chairs the Board’s FCM Committee.
Jessica has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Maryland in College Park and a Master’s of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University.
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