Celebrating Women’s History Month at Canoe

Being a woman in the workforce has its challenges even today, ranging from pay gaps and workplace safety to a lack of representation. This can often be true in industries such as finance and tech—which are often very male-dominated spaces, and recent statistics only prove that the lack of women in the fintech space is palpable. 

Recent statistics estimate: 

  • Women make up less than 30% of the fintech workforce globally, and only a small 8% hold leadership roles, according to research conducted by Deloitte
  • Currently, women make up about 35% of the tech workforce 
  • About 46% of employees in the finance sector are women, of which only 15% occupy executive roles 
  • In 2019, the Deloitte Center for Financial Services reported that only six out of 107 financial institutions in the United States had female CEOs

With that in mind, this Women’s History Month we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the incredibly intelligent and driven women here at Canoe. Being a woman in the workforce isn’t always easy, but at Canoe we are dedicated to creating a supportive, safe, and diverse environment for everyone. 

Read what some of our employees have to say about what it’s like to work in the fintech industry, and how working for Canoe has been different:

Michelle Wilson | VP of Product

Q: The finance and technology industries are not exactly viewed as the most diverse, and that perception is backed by research. In the last seven years, the representation of Black professionals in the tech sector has only increased by 1%, and studies by the BCS have shown that Black women account for only 0.7% of all IT roles.

You are in a relatively unique position as a technology leader. What advice would you give to young women of color, or women in general, who may want to break into an industry like ours?

A: Find your niche! The fintech industry is very broad and ever-evolving, especially with the current AI revolution. Try to identify an area in particular need of a specialized skillset or knowledge base, and become an expert in that subject. For me, it was the alternative investments industry, which has a unique set of client profiles, workflows, reporting requirements, etc. Throughout my career I have focused on roles that have honed my skills and expertise in the field, helping me get to where I am today.

Network! Make strategic connections, not just in your workplace, but through meetups, industry conferences, and other networking events. Keep up with former colleagues and reach out to folks whose work you find interesting or inspiring. Find mentors who can offer guidance and support as you progress in your career, and consider joining professional organizations or affinity groups where available for professional development opportunities.

Betsy Daitch | VP of Marketing 

Q: After working with Canoe for several years as a consultant before joining full-time to lead the Marketing Team, you are well-versed in Canoe’s history and values. What do you value most about your interactions with others at Canoe, particularly as a woman in fintech?

A: At Canoe, there’s something indescribable about our team dynamic that truly sets us apart. It’s this balance of determination, genuine thoughtfulness, and a shared commitment to doing what’s right that makes our workplace culture so special. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing and being part of this unique blend of characteristics that defines us.

As a mother and a woman in fintech, Canoe’s approach resonates with me on multiple levels. The emphasis on both individual ownership and collective collaboration creates an environment where everyone’s contributions are valued, regardless of gender or background. It’s not just about excelling in our roles but also about lifting each other up and ensuring that every voice is heard and respected.

Transitioning from a consultant to leading the Marketing Team at Canoe, I’ve experienced firsthand how our values translate into action. Gender isn’t a barrier here; it’s an asset. Our team members are judged based on the quality of their ideas and their dedication to our mission, rather than any preconceived notions about gender roles. It’s incredibly empowering to be part of a community where inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword but a fundamental part of our DNA.

Maura Coyle | Senior People Resources Manager

Q: You are the first touchpoint/experience for most Canoe employees upon hire. What is your approach to creating a supportive culture at Canoe, especially for women, in the present and future? 

A: There’s no shortage of ways corporations can expand their support for women in the workplace. As Canoe grows, there are several areas I see as being crucial to cultivating a culture where women feel supported and valued as members of our team. The first, being representation. It’s no surprise that the fintech industry is a white, male-dominated space. As Canoe grows, our focus will be to continue to diversify our representation in all levels of the organization. This means being strategic when it comes to sourcing for new talent, as well as ensuring there are ample opportunities for upward mobility internally. Last year, we kicked off a mentorship program pairing employees with senior members of the organization, which was a great way for women at Canoe to have direct access to senior leaders and discuss their career development. 

This year, I’m really looking forward to rolling out Employee Resource Groups and creating a space where women at Canoe can have a psychologically safe space to discuss issues or areas of development that are unique to them. This can include subjects like negotiating compensation, articulating their individual value add, expanding influence, and gaining buy-in. 

Canoe has a paid parental leave policy for both birthing and non-birthing parents, which is a key feature in ensuring women are not forced to shoulder a disproportionate amount of parental responsibilities. I think it would be great to expand this support even further, such as daycare cost assistance. 

Still, there are ways companies can think more strategically when it comes to supporting women in this phase of life. The data tells us a) women are much more likely than men to feel concerns about being promoted once they become a parent, and 2) while men take intermittent parental leave, women often take it all at once, immediately following the birth of a child. As a member of the People team, my job is to dig into that: Do we need to build out bias training for managers? Are there ways we can ensure women don’t get left behind, or feel the need to play catch up once they return from parental leave? Are there support groups we can sponsor to assist new parents in navigating a new normal?

Christy Cheung | Full Stack Developer

Q: STEM industries are often very male-dominated, and there have long been discussions on how women can become more involved in these spaces. You, yourself, played an integral role recently as an engineer on the development of the Document Receipt Dashboard and the Pre-Processing Queue Project, which is a major feat!

With that in mind, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the STEM space, and how has working at Canoe been different? Is there a particular moment in your professional journey at Canoe that you are most proud of?

A: Navigating STEM as a woman has presented interesting challenges and expectations, however, I don’t think these are unique to my experience alone. Alongside struggling with confidence, I’ve also faced the frustration of having my knowledge questioned or overlooked, and the isolating experience of frequently being the sole woman in the room. These are issues that are constantly on my mind regardless of where I am, but at Canoe, the landscape feels refreshingly different. Throughout my time at Canoe, I’ve found unwavering support from all corners of the company with colleagues genuinely invested in my growth both within my role and in my professional trajectory. 

One of the moments I often reflect upon with pride is my involvement in the Document Receipt Dashboard project. This project presented a series of challenges, including the development of a new product, which gave way to the development of many other products. 

Taking on a significant role in shaping the front-end design components, I found myself deeply immersed in the project’s evolution. This experience not only showcased the supportive environment fostered at Canoe but also highlighted the trust placed in me by granting me such a pivotal role in this new architecture. It provided me with a sense of control and autonomy, empowering me to contribute meaningfully to the project’s success.

Jennifer Surtees | Client Project Manager, EMEA

Q: You recently joined as a Client Project Manager in our European market, which is a new office and relatively new market for Canoe. As a new joiner to the team, and one of the first EMEA-based female hires, how do you hope to influence the EMEA Team’s future?

A: As a new addition to our growing team and one of the first female hires in the region, I’m excited to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to support the expansion of the client base and help our clients realize time to value more quickly and efficiently. I hope to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment where everyone’s voice is heard and valued, ultimately driving innovation in process and success for our team and our clients. 

There is so much more work to be done—not just in fintech—but the world at large in order for women to truly feel and be equal to their male counterparts. 

Here at Canoe, we hope that as time progresses, so does the state of women in the workplace, and we are excited to make small steps toward that every day. 

Happy Women’s History Month from us here at Canoe!