Meet the Team

International Women's Day: Interview with Lauren Jones

Happy #InternationalWomensDay to the incredible women who work with us and to all women around the world! 

At Open Banking Exchange we are working hard to deliver the options and the right support mechanisms to achieve true equity in the workplace. We understand that each individual brings different qualities to the table and if we provide the right environment, we can truly enable the value of our diverse experiences and collective skill sets.

Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. In solidarity of #IWD2023, we took the opportunity to catch up with two brilliant women from the Konsentus group, both with very different roles, to understand what motivates and inspires them, and how they fully #EmbraceEquity.

Below, read our interview with Lauren Jones, Director of Market Development at Open Banking Exchange. You can also read our interview with Anika Tazmin, Engagement Manager for International Markets at Konsentus group, here.

Hi Lauren, please introduce yourself…

Hello, I’m Lauren Jones, Director of Market Development at Open Banking Exchange.

I’ve been in the payments and wider banking industry for 12+ years. I’ve had many different roles including Head of Standards at what is now Pay.UK, where I was leading standards policy and worked on standards, that were promoted by the G7 in the post-financial crash; I’ve advised banking tech providers in their payments go-to-market strategy and even a Chinese telco on their payments product roadmap. It’s never a dull moment!

What is the most important advice you have been given that you would like to pass on to other women?

Be authentic. There are many ways to feel like a woman, and being true to your personality and leadership style not only shines through but also makes a huge difference to how you feel in the workplace. We work long hours, so being dishonest with yourself is draining!

Also, trust in your knowledge. It is proven that women are significantly more likely to over-prepare, whilst men tend to use initiative. You are likely to be better prepared than most other people in the room! Believe in yourself.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

Early on in my career, I wasn’t as valued in the role I held as I might have been. It used to frustrate me on the inside, but I would never let it show. I always made sure I spoke up, let my abilities speak for themselves and those comments quickly disappeared. There is this fantastic book called ‘Quiet’ – it says that most of us are really closet introverts but that we feel we must be extroverted to get ahead. To most people extroversion is an act, and it definitely was for me in the early stages of my career.

Which women inspire you the most?

So many! From a business perspective, Minouche Shafik is a truly amazing woman. She has held so many interesting posts and her public speaking is something to behold. Elizebeth Friedman, the mother of modern cryptoanalysis and cryptography! Yevgenia Ginzburg – we can all only hope to be as brave as she was. But I am inspired by so many women on a daily basis.

How do you influence others around you such as your colleagues and the wider business?

I am a firm believer in influencing by doing. When people see a confident, yet open and empathetic colleague, they know it is possible to be that way themselves. I have had my fair share of rude, disgruntled colleagues, but for me, personally, it is so important to stay true to yourself and not be led down that path. Younger and more influential employees will see that, and it will have a positive effect. I am also really interested in behavioural psychology – many people bring a different version of themselves to work for a variety of reasons. Sometimes this can useful, but sometimes it can be extremely detrimental. It is so important to be a good listener, open to other ideas and allow people to grow!

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

We all have lived different experiences. Those experiences make up the rich fabric of life. The workplace should mirror that. How can we set policy, launch products, or develop solutions if this broad range of experiences isn’t represented or catered for? These solutions will only ever represent the people who made them, or at best, represent a hollow view of someone else’s needs.

Also, I have travelled extensively over the years. I hope that in my lifetime, we all work in an environment where people feel comfortable wearing hijabs, thobes, kufis or any other traditional dress; practice their religion or can be open about their sexuality. We will all be better for it.

Thank you, Lauren… and Happy International Women’s Day.

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