Female Leaders in Fintech and Financial Services
There are many women leading the fintech surge.

Despite the fact just 13 percent (according to the EY Fintech 2016 survey) of fintech leaders in Australia are women and 47.5 percent of startups employ no women full-time, there is a trend of women leaving traditional financial services, for up and coming, more diverse fintech services.

Fintech has followed both technology and financial services in showing low numbers of women. To address this, a new FinTech Australia constitution was created, requiring at least 30 percent of board members to be women in Australian fintech companies. A Female FinTech Leader of the Year Award is also given out annually, to reward some of these women.

Here are some of the women leading the charge in financial services, and the fintech world.


Debby Blakey, CEO of HESTA

Debby Blakey has been the CEO of HESTA since 2015, and has worked separately as both the Deputy CEO and an Executive leading the Member Advice Unit at the company since 2008.

She has over 25 year experience in superannuation and financial services.

Simultaneously, Debby is also a Director of Fund Executives Association Limited (FEAL), an organisation which supports leaders in the superannuation industry with their professional development.

She is responsible for HESTA’s $36 billion industry fund, which is dedicated to the health and community services sector.


Francesca McDonagh, CEO of the Bank of Ireland

Francesca McDonagh is the freshly appointed CEO of the Bank of Ireland, the first female to take the job in its 234 year long history. With a background in technology and a history of being innovative in her solutions, Francesca is said to be aiming to change the workplace culture at the bank, through advice from management consulting firm AT Kearney. She is also said to be reviewing the bank’s technology program.

She was with HSBC for over twenty years and was the Deputy Chair of the British Bankers’ Association trade body, and was the Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management in the UK and Europe for Europe’s biggest bank.

The Bank of Ireland embarked on a four-year technology investment before Francesca took over, a job which she will now carry, from her history of using technology for solutions.


Anna Bligh, CEO of Australian Bankers’ Association

Anna Bligh is the first female to be appointed CEO of Australian Bankers’ Association, a group which represents over 25 banks in Australia.

She is a former Labor MP, who served as the Premier of Queensland between 2007 and 2012. She is also the CEO of the NSW Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).

This year, she was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia, for her work in politics and her work with women.


Cindy Hook, CEO and Partner of Deloitte Australia

Cindy Hook has been the CEO and Partner of Deloitte Australia since early 2015. She is the first female chief executive to be appointed to one of the ‘big four’ professional services firms in Australia.

She is well-known as someone who creates innovative, new solutions, supporting diversity for the firm. She is a Global Executive Committee and APAC leadership team member.


Danielle Szetho, CEO of Fintech Australia

Danielle Szetho is the CEO of Fintech Australia.

She previously worked for several media organisations but in 2016, she was appointed as CEO.

Before she was given the position, she volunteered for FinTech Australia, with hopes to make Australia one of the Fintech hubs of the world.


Emma Weston, Co-founder and CEO of AgriDigital

Emma Weston is the co-founder and CEO of AgriDigital, an agri blockchain company. They pitched at Finovate in New York; the first agritech company to do so.

She was awarded the Emerging Fintech Leader of the Year Award and the Female Fintech Leader of the Year Award, in May of this year.

She is an ADCA board member.


Marta Krupinska, Co-founder of Azimo

Marta Krupinska is the co-founder and Managing Director of Azimo.

Azimo was founded in 2012, when Marta was just 23, changing the way people who live overseas are sending money home. It is one of the fastest growing Fintech companies, with over half a million customers connected to the platform.

She is one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 for finance in Europe.


It is women such as these who are impacting the fintech industry, and the industry of startups. Collaborating with men and women, they are making new technologies and more options in more innovative, creative ways.


This is the first article in a series about women in fintech. To read more, check out Women CEOs: There are more CEOs named David, Peter and John, Why the pay gap in Financial Services needs to be addressed, and Three Hurdles to Gender Diversity.