As Fintech Leaders, We Must Focus on Building Community

Melissa Hentschel was recently named 2022 Woman in PayTech. Read why she is focused on building a diverse, inclusive, and supportive team that looks beyond the business to give back to the communities that intersect with ours.

Recently, I had the honor of being named the 2022 Woman in PayTech at the PayTech Awards. This award recognizes leadership as something that extends far beyond business. It’s about mentoring and inspiring others, even if they don’t work at your company, and about driving positive change in the fintech industry.

Innovation in our industry doesn’t just mean changing how businesses and consumers make and receive payments. We need to innovate when it comes to building a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community, too—one that reflects our clients and the customers and workforces they serve. As Chief Delivery Officer, I lead a team that is doing just that—not only building and fostering a vibrant, welcoming culture but looking beyond our business to give back to the communities that intersect with ours. This work requires daily focus throughout our organization and I’m proud to champion these efforts.

Let me back up a bit—when I got my start in this industry, I was one of only a few women at the table. While that’s changed somewhat, women remain a minority in this field, comprising just 19% of fintech leadership. So, mentoring professionals who are underrepresented in fintech has always been important to me. I was fortunate to participate in the inaugural year of RiseUp, a program that helps aspiring women leaders unlock the next steps in their careers. During the program, I mentored two incredible women, guiding them to find the confidence and job offers they deserve.

Creating similar opportunities at Onbe has been a priority for me and the executive leadership team. We’ve focused on promoting from within and mentoring employees as they advance in their careers. I’m also proud to say that although women leaders remain underrepresented in fintech, at Onbe we have taken major strides to change that: 52% of our company leadership is comprised of women. In addition, 37% of our employees identify as BIPOC and over half of all new hires over the past year have been BIPOC—part of our commitment to building a team that reflects our diverse world.

Simply hiring and promoting a diverse employee base isn’t enough—we must support our employees to help them do their best work and ensure that their contributions reach our clients and end users. Therefore, we work to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to be themselves at Onbe, through a community approach. Employee-run committees dedicated to supporting DEI, wellness and engagement, and community involvement have helped create opportunities to learn and get involved. We held our first-ever annual women’s forum in 2021 to start an open dialogue about the challenges and opportunities for women in fintech. I love seeing—and joining in on—all the ways our team connects with one another and makes a difference. Together, we’ve marched in Pride parades, raised money to support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), learned about each other’s cultures and traditions, and a lot more.

Giving back, as part of the Onbe community and the fintech community at large, is important to me because so many people in this industry have supported me on my journey. I want to do the same for others by helping them find a sense of purpose and belonging in their careers. And while I’m proud to have received recognition at the PayTech Awards, our work at Onbe continues. There’s still a lot to be done as we build a more equitable—and more human—fintech industry. I’m delighted to be part of an organization where that’s possible through the power of community.

by Melissa Hentschel, Chief Delivery Officer