On the eve of International Women's Day, Elena Berestovaya, CMO UpTrader, shared her prospective on female leadership and fintech trends.

07.03.2022

Originally posted on Fazzaco
 

Hi Elena! Thanks for joining us at Fazzaco today! How did you get into the finance industry?

In 2011, a classmate of mine invited me to work at a Forex broker with which her training company was working as a partner, and which needed a Public Relations Officer. I was on the lookout for a job and a new field that would inspire me. After graduating from the university, I worked in public relations in environment protection for a few years but became disillusioned. I encountered many NGOs whose purpose was to make money out of environmental problems, not to solve them. It was not in line with my idealistic view of the fight against climate change. That is why I decided to look for a more honest industry, where the goals of all stakeholders are transparent and the desire to make money is not disguised as something else. So a job offer at a brokerage company was exactly what I needed.

 

 Could you please share with us some highlights from your career with UpTrader?  

I was the one to design the corporate identity and marketing materials and to organise the first international exhibition. I met Vasily Alexeev, CEO of UpTrader, when I was working at Grand Capital, their major client at that time. UpTrader was their main contractor, implementing the whole cycle of software development. At that time, UpTrader's management, having gained significant experience in custom development, began to think about cloud services. The company needed a brand, PR, a statement about itself in the professional environment. It began to grow, there was more and more work, and I was offered to head their marketing department. In 2017, UpTrader worked on the ICO Serenity-Financial project, the first blockchain escrow for Forex brokers. We took care of the technical and marketing support for the project. Now UpTrader is one of the major players in brokerage software.    

 

 In your opinion, what gives women an advantage over men in the Forex industry?

I would say that the more highly qualified the employee is, the less attention you pay to their gender or any differences at all. An employee in a managerial position at any company requires professional skills, the ability to delegate and lead a team, build relationships with other departments, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence. However, the advantage of female leadership can be noted in greater caution: men are more prone to risk, which can lead to both ups and downs, while women are often more cautious in decision-making, which allows the company to develop more steadily and avoid unjustified crises. Women are also more receptive to the idea of creating good working conditions, taking care of the team, and motivating employees.

 

As a female leader, do you think it’s a challenge to get into the finance industry where men are still a majority?

No, I don't think so. On the contrary, there is a clear demand for workforce. According to my observations, there is always a shortage of qualified professionals in the finance industry. There are few of them on the market, so we often hire promising juniors or middles and train them. We do not engage in hiring from competing companies. We work in a small industry, we all know each other, so we do not welcome such behaviour. We have quite a big team in UpTrader, where people of different backgrounds, races, genders, etc. are represented. I think this is one of the strengths of the company. Recently, a 25 years old woman joined UpTrader's team as a main project manager, and she is the best candidate we have ever seen. She has excellent managerial skills and already has good management experience. She knows how to set goals and organise the work process perfectly. She pays attention to individual motivations of her team members, and, what is especially valuable, is able to delegate tasks, which means that she has enough time for management.

 

Reportedly, the first year of the pandemic knocked 54 million women around the world out of work. Out of the women who lost their jobs in 2020, almost 90 per cent exited the labour force completely, compared to around 70 per cent of men in the same situation. As an experienced female leader, what is your advice to those women who are striving for excellence in their workplace? 

The pandemic is a difficult time for everyone. It has been a test for different industries, for employees and managers, and for families too. Judging by my close circle, some of those who have left the job market do not want to go back to a full-time job in an office. Many have discovered a part-time job and are happy in a remote mode. Some people moved to the suburbs during the pandemic, settled there, and do not want to go back to the old rhythm of life. All in all, to each their own. For those who are looking for career development, my advice is to better yourself, read professional literature, and to not be afraid of additional work or work that others do not want to do. And the main secret perhaps is to take responsibility. Being a manager means taking responsibility for both the team and the result. Few people are prepared for this, but this is a real challenge. Even if you are not competent enough, you'll have to get better to get results. Show your management that you are ready for responsibility, and you'll be noticed.  

 

Do you have any role models that have inspired you? 

My grandmother was always an example to me. She started working at the age of 15 as an assistant accountant. At the age of 20, she already defended her first report at a district party meeting. In the early years after the war, she was left alone to raise four children, two of her own, her younger sister and her husband's younger brother. She worked as a librarian and also as party secretary. She held all the district meetings where she highlighted the economic and social problems of the area, defended the interests of the townspeople, and demanded the budgets to be increased. This required a strong character and the ability to communicate well with different people. She was not afraid of working and never passed the responsibility onto others. That is why she worked her whole life as a manager. 

In finance, my first boss was the model of an ideal manager for me. She had a rare combination of charisma, intelligence, and professionalism, and was willing to share her knowledge without begrudging it. She constantly learned, which made her different from the others. During interviews, she always took an interest in what the candidate was reading. She successfully managed a male team and I never heard her raise her voice or clash with anyone.  

 

What are your thoughts on the fintech industry? Where should it be heading? And what role would UpTrader play in it?

Service development. Now, unlike 10 years ago, a small brokerage company has no problem finding cloud services, like Forex CRM or a copy trading platform. However, all Forex CRMs today have the same drawbacks: they are cumbersome to maintain and install, relatively highly priced for startups, and have insufficient functionality for large companies. At the same time, UpTrader is developing a bespoke cloud service, a kind of a multi-modular construction set consisting of different independent parts that may work together or separately: bonuses, affiliate programs, sales module, investment service, etc. We want large companies, for example, to find everything they need for their business and startups to be able to take advantage of the most basic features with a turnover fee only. We know that subscription fees are a big burden for emerging businesses, so we are working to ensure that such clients pay only based on turnover. It is more profitable for us to support the client at the start so that they succeed and stay with us as long as possible. We are also working on automating the integration of Forex CRM into our MetaTrader 4/5 server, so every client could download a distribution package and connect our free Forex CRM in just 5 steps. We have big ambitions in this niche, since we want to create a truly high-quality, user-friendly, and accessible product for everyone.

 

 

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