People of Payvision: a talk with Martine Berden

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On March 8, in occasion of the International Women’s Day, we set up a women-only internal call to jump-start a conversation on how it is being in the fintech industry. It’s been a brightening experience, and we want to keep the highlight on developing careers in fintech.

We took time to voice the first-hand experiences of some Payvisioners, and today we’ll hear more about developing a career in fintech. We met with Martine Berden, Head of Marketing and Communications at Payvision.

Martine has been with Payvision for 2 and half years, and although she was new to fintech, she entered with impressive expertise in the banking industry. With a 13 and a half years career in financial services at ING, which Martine joined after completing her degree in Business and Economics at the Tilburg University.

Why did you decide to go into the payment industry? 

To be honest I came to Payvision because I liked the company and the role, rather than explicitly choosing payments. I have always liked financial services in general, and I believe they are a core for people's daily lives and businesses running smoothly. It's often not what makes you tick by itself. But it facilitates a lot of dreams coming true. Now that I work in the specific area of payments, I can say that I like it: it's a day-to-day enabler and I like the complexity of it. 

Have you noticed any differences between working in financial tech and financial services? 

As responsible of marketing I look at our solutions in a different way than our developers who create them . What I observed is that it started as a tech belief, a trust in some tech solution that is then brought to the market. I like the geekiness of it, but I noticed that I need to bring the perspective of the customer to the table a bit more explicitly. In fintech, it's just easy to get carried away by technical opportunities. But it's the bridging between tech and customer needs that has to be done.

You've been in the fintech industry for a while now. How's your experience of being a woman in tech now? How has this been to you compared to your previous experience? 

I don’t know if I find it that different. I sometimes have the feeling that as a woman you must work a bit harder, and I noticed that I had to stand up and arrange things for myself already in my past experiences.

About fintech specifically, it’s an industry that you must like. Being able to talk to developers is paramount, there is a need to talk with people and let them open up to you. Maybe it's a female skill or maybe it's just me, but I find it quite easy to connect to people. And I will be honest, sometimes I ask the blunt questions while using the fact that I am a woman. And I can tell you, people will be very happy to explain all the details to you!

Do you feel like fintech is becoming a more natural industry for women to choose? 

Yes, definitely. It covers such an important part of our daily life that everyone is growing more interested - women too.

Personally, I understood the opportunities tech can bring through first-hand experience. I used some private time of my life in developing an app for brain tumor patients, working very closely with the developers who helped us create the app. I think that’s the moment where I got dragged more and more in tech.

Do you have any personal story that really stands out to you that you would like to share, in terms of being a woman in tech?

I had a moment of realization where I told myself: “come on Martine, you really have to stand up for yourself”. I covered several distinct roles, and I aspired to grow and become a manager – but people kept wanting to have me as part of their teams. I didn’t really ask for this management job, until I realized that my colleagues weren’t aware of my true ambitions. From that moment on, I started being more unequivocal and asking for what I wanted. I was scared initially, but everyone kept telling me how right it was that I was sharing my ambitions. That really changed my career.  


So that’s my best advice: dare to ask for what you want. Who knows, you might actually get it!

What do you like about working in the fintech industry? Any success story that you'd like to share? 

When I’m at the table I do see a difference, compared to my male counterparts, in the way I tend to stir a conversation toward a specific direction, or in how I sense the vibes among colleagues. I gained a lot using what are generally considered “female” qualities in bonding and connecting, to then get the right attitude. That’s surely a story of success to me. However, I’m always very aware that I’m respected for my work and I’m not stereotypically perceived as an issue solver. There is a thin line between being asked to do something because you are good at it or being asked to do something because no one wants to do it and the “women are better at this” excuse comes in handy. If the latter is the case, I will kindly but clearly make this explicit and suggest a different approach.

What has been your experience working in fintech? Have your expectations differed from reality?  

What I really like is that I learn more about it every day. There is a positive sense of discomfort in this. Things change so quickly in the world, and we are always being challenged to keep up and jump in the innovation train. Here lies the uneasiness: it keeps you awake.


What advice you would have given your younger self when first starting your career? 


I really like the question. Dare to be proud of yourself and to say what you want. Maybe I would have liked to have the guts to open up earlier, to be more aware in taking the lead of my career, of who I am and how I can achieve the things I want.

I’d keep in mind from a younger age that we are in charge of our own career, our own happiness and our life.


And what advice do you have for younger women starting their career?

Again, I suggest to tell people what you want. Think of it like a Santa Claus list - you need to make your wishes explicit. You won't get it all. But if you don't put it on the list, you definitely won't get it. I also advise to be curious, which means to listen to others and to be open to their perspectives. It enriches your knowledge and sustains your success. 

The author

Veronica joined Payvision in 2021, as a Communications intern. She brings a wealth of skills, enthusiasm and passion for well written texts and engagement.

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