Each issue we interview one of the amazing members of the SCG Team!  This issue our Featured Colleague is ERICA!

Q. Do you remember what inspired you to pursue the career path you have today?

A. I’ve always had a love for banking, a passion for technology, and an interest in its impact on society. Having a career in the FinTech industry allowed me to combine finance with cutting-edge technology and the ability to take part in improving financial inclusion and fostering economic growth for underserved populations.

The FinTech industry also offers career growth and advancement, particularly as it continues to expand and evolve. Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve had a dynamic career in FinTech, where I’ve had the opportunity to hold several roles as a Business Analyst, Business Process Consultant, Client Manager, Product Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Relationship Manager, and Sales Representative.

Q. Now that you reflect on the first stages of your career in FinTech, what is the best advice you can give to someone who just started this journey?

A. Reflecting on my career in the FinTech industry, I would advise being open to continuous learning as it is rapidly evolving with new technologies, regulations, and market trends. Staying curious and committed to constant learning could involve formal education, online courses, workshops, or staying updated with industry news and publications.

Building a robust professional network is crucial in this industry. Attending industry events, joining relevant online communities, and actively engaging with professionals in your field are essential for networking. This can open opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and career advancement.

Given the fast-paced nature of FinTech, one must be agile and open to experimentation, iteration, and adaptation. Embrace agility in product development, project management, and problem-solving.

Finally, be open to feedback from peers, mentors, and customers. Constructive feedback is invaluable for personal and professional growth. Use feedback to refine your skills, improve your work, and ultimately, excel in this industry.

Q. What are the toughest challenges you’ve overcome in the FinTech profession?

A. There are many challenges in FinTech regardless of your role. The top three challenges in my career were building customer trust, dealing with ever-changing cybersecurity threats, and personal data privacy.

Building trust with customers and encouraging the adoption of new products and services is a significant challenge. Overcoming this challenge involved demonstrating the software’s reliability, security, and value proposition and always providing excellent customer support and transparency.

Another growing challenge was cybersecurity threats, as increasing reliance on digital platforms and handling sensitive financial data make cybersecurity a top concern in FinTech. Overcoming this challenge as a Business Analyst involves implementing robust security measures, staying updated on emerging threats, and fostering a culture of security awareness within the organization.

Maintaining the privacy and security of customers’ data is paramount in the FinTech industry. As a Quality Assurance Manager, I had to overcome data privacy challenges by adhering to strict data protection regulations, implementing encryption and access controls, and developing and auditing data handling practices to ensure compliance.

Overcoming these challenges in FinTech requires years of technical expertise, regulatory knowledge, strategic thinking, and a customer-centric approach. Flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to innovate are critical for success in this dynamic and rapidly evolving industry.

Q. In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you the most proud of?

A. I am most proud of the relationships I’ve built within the FinTech industry over the past twenty-five years. My years of knowledge, ability to communicate with clients, and work with others have earned me a trusted reputation and opened further opportunities.

These relationships have allowed collaborative opportunities and knowledge exchange. Whether the relationships are with colleagues or industry experts, they have led to joint ventures, beneficial projects, initiatives, and customer solutions.

Q. How have you grown professionally while on our team?

A. Working at Smith Consulting Group started a new chapter in my career. As a Senior Solutions Analyst, I’ve been exposed to complex financial problems and challenges, which has sharpened my ability to analyze situations, identify issues, and propose effective solutions. In a consulting team setting, I am continuously absorbing and learning about various financial instruments, markets, regulations, and strategies, which enhances my ability to provide accurate and insightful analyses to our clients.

Through interactions with team members and clients, I have refined my ability to convey complex financial concepts clearly and concisely while adapting my communication style to different audiences.

Working collaboratively with team members on projects allows me to improve my ability to contribute effectively within a team dynamic, including sharing ideas, providing constructive feedback, and integrating diverse perspectives.

Interacting with clients, understanding their needs, and providing tailored financial advice has improved my client management skills, including building rapport, managing expectations, and fostering long-term relationships.

My growth on a financial consulting team at Smith Consultant Group has improved my combination of deepening financial expertise, honing problem-solving and communication skills, fostering collaboration, and leveraging technology to deliver value to clients and the team.

Q. When you are not engaged with your Consulting work, how do you prefer to spend your free time?

A. In 2017, I launched Flower Me Tampa Décor and Rentals, an event-planning business specializing in custom flower walls, micro-weddings, and intimate events. I create and design BloomBoards that are unique to Flower Me Tampa. A custom BloomBoard can average four to four hundred hours. In addition to planning events, I’m a fitness enthusiast, runner, and certified yoga instructor. I teach Hot and Aerial yoga. All things that make me a healthier and happier being.