This blog post is part of our #femalefintech initiative to showcase women in the fintech scene.

We have to remember who inspired us on this path, and be ready to inspire and guide others. Honor the past, work hard for a better future.

My name is Paloma Sevilha and I started my studies with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Mackenzie University, and continued upgrading my skills with a master’s degree in economics from FGV. As I entered the financial market in 2008, and started fresh in the economics and capital markets, I noticed the lack of women in the classroom and in the work environment.

The usual “Lack of Women”

I started my professional life working at Cetip and BM&FBovespa, where I built my knowledge in treasury products and operations, such as fixed income, OTC derivatives, and settlement processes. Despite the usual lack of women, especially in leadership positions, there was one woman – the Head of Operations. Her name is Simone Acioli, and she still inspires me until today. That gave me hope, but also showed me that for a woman to be in a powerful position, she needs a lot of skills, knowledge and strength. 

Career: Next step

The next step in my career was in Anbima, building the regulation and self-regulation for trading and investment products. They had more women in management positions, but still, none at the higher level. I still remember the day when my manager at the time was promoted to superintendent – the way we looked at each other, knowing that it was more than deserved, but still a surprise. Her name is Patrícia Herculano, she’s still the head of the department, and again, a woman who inspired me and gave me the strength to keep fighting.

Risk: Something new

After that, I decided to risk something new, and take the challenge of dealing with corporate innovations strategies at CIP. Despite the few women in the high leadership, it was a very warm and respectful environment, where I was actually heard. It was there where I started to know so many women leading fintechs and startups – and again, that inspired me and led me to be the Head of Business in Bitrust today, thanks to the 2TM Group that believed in my skills.

I have over 12 years of experience in the financial and capital markets, with extensive knowledge of financial market infrastructures such as central depositories, trade repositories, and custodians. It was not easy to get here, there were days when I honestly thought about giving up due to the inequality in terms of opportunities, recognition and payment.

All this experience grants me the ability to work directly with regulators and specialists around the world, helping build consensus, best practices and even regulatory frameworks – especially related to the application of new technologies to the financial market. 

Needed: More support from the fintech and financial market community

We need more support from the fintech and financial market community to have greater representation of women, especially when it comes to stakeholders. It’s time to realize that equality brings more successful new ideas, products, services and new ways of leading high-performance teams. Finally, equality is having your voice heard, your opinion respected and room to grow and apply your better skills for better results.

I’m an active member of GT Fintech – from the CVM Innovation Lab, the Brazilian Commission for Standardization – from ABNT, ISO Advisory Group for Digital Currencies, ITC Committee from ITSA, Token Alliance – from the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and also a member of the Digital Currency Global Initiative from ITU.

Author: Paloma Sevilha, Economist, Financial Market Infrastructure and Cryptoeconomy expert. Head of Business at Bitrust Digital Custody (LinkedIn Profile)