CFO Taryn Augoustatos: Challenge accepted!


Taryn Augoustatos shares some of the challenges she’s faced as a non-techy, woman CFO in fintech.

When Taryn Augoustatos took the job as the CFO of Finch Technologies, she had little understanding of how technology solutions work, as her career had been focused on the retail, health and fitness industries.

She wasn’t scared of the challenge though, and quickly realised that it’s more important to believe in and be passionate about the product you are selling than to have the knowledge base of a developer.

“Fintech is all about solving challenges that consumers are confronted with,” she explains, adding that this is something she isn’t new to. During her time as a strategic analyst at Virgin Active, much of Taryn’s role involved understanding customer needs, desires and experiences. “The end goal was to maximise the value of the company’s diverse product offering so they could optimise the customer experience and create consumer-centric services.”

Finding fintech

Having been in her new role for a year now, Taryn says she loves the high-intensity and innovation. “I was in search of an environment that was ever-evolving and dynamic, and wanted to make use of my experience in finance. Fintech has given me that opportunity.”

Taryn explains that her biggest challenge when taking on the new role was getting used to being part of a smaller team where she has a lot more individual responsibility.

However, she adds that it was also incredibly exciting. “Because it’s a growing and ever-changing environment, you can easily jump on the educational bandwagon by building relationships with your colleagues who know more about the industry and can share their insights with you.”

Now, her focus is largely on building diverse teams who are able to understand consumer needs in order to build innovative and inclusive tech products.

The right values

Having worked in finance, and now having entered the fintech realm, Taryn has realised that it’s important to stay true to who you are and what you believe in. “Historically, more men are in finance- and technology-focused roles because they studied related fields at university, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t educate yourself and get yourself to where you want to be within a company. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because knowledge is empowering – especially for women in fintech.”

She explains that there are seats at the table, if you look in the right companies.

“Along my career journey so far, I’ve realised that company values have been the most important factor for me.”

She adds that women are less inclined to apply for jobs in companies that are less diverse, making it crucial for business owners to make it part of their core company pillars. “Seek out companies that align with your values and see the value in promoting women into leadership positions.”

During her time as a financial analyst at Nike in the UK, Taryn got to experience working for a company that was driven by embracing diversity.

At Finch Technologies, she has found similar values and a space where she can assist aspiring young women to have the confidence to enter the tech industry.

Women in fintech

As a mom of two daughters, Taryn tries to live by the sentiment, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. A champion for diversity and inclusion, she is focused on building awareness in the fintech industry. “I recently took part in a careers day workshop at a local girls’ school where the students were surprised to learn that you don’t need a tech qualification to be an asset to the tech industry.”

She explains that for the first 20 years of her career, she had very limited tech experience.

“Now that I’m working for a fintech company, I’ve realised my broad experience and confidence are my greatest assets.”

Taryn adds that there are other advantages to being a woman in the fintech industry. “I recently read a study that said 59 percent of working adults say women business leaders do a better job at being compassionate and empathetic, which can foster a much more diverse and inclusive culture.”

In addition, fintechs that embrace diversity tend to be 25 percent more profitable, innovative and successful, Taryn says. “This illustrates that the impact of women leadership goes beyond just social responsibility and ethics.”

Slowing down

Because she works in such a fast-paced industry, when Taryn is home she prefers to slow things down a bit. “I’m a bit of a homemaker, so I love spending time with my family, cooking and trying new recipes, as well as getting out with my daughters to enjoy nature and the outdoors. It’s a good break from technology.”

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