The “Powerlist” celebrates the contributions and talent of women from different business areas who are shaping the future of the fintech sector. This year, the list includes four women from BBVA who play a significant role in the bank’s strategy.
The four are Carmela Gómez, Head of Global Treasury Solutions; Marisol Menéndez, the Head of Open Innovation; Alicia Pertusa, Head of Digital Transformation in Investment Banking; and Alexa Fernández, Head of Fintech Partnerships. They were included in the list compiled by “Women in FinTech” to give visibility to women in strategic leadership positions who are setting the course of a rapidly growing sector.
The goal of Women in Fintech, an initiative created by the Innovate Finance association, is to ensure that “female leaders play a vital role in creating better financial services for our communities.” That’s why they publish the “Powerlist” every year - in recognition of the role played by the many women who are developing new ideas, projects and business models in financial technology, a field with a substantial male presence. Currently, women represent just 23% of staff in the sector, according to Innovate Finance.
Although they work in different areas related to business, technology and innovation at BBVA, each of the women plays a decisive role in the Group’s transformation. Alicia Pertusa leads the initiatives that seek to apply the potential of distributed ledger technologies like blockhain to financial processes and to the financial industry’s infrastructure. Among these initiatives are the pilots recently conducted by BBVA and BBVA Bancomer of a system for foreign currency trade matching.
The digitization of the industry is also a priority for Carmela Gómez, who is in charge of an area that has been recognized for its capacity to harness technology for customers. Gómez and her team work on developing pilots in collaboration with fintech firms – an experience that allows BBVA to incorporate some of the elements of the startup ecosystem into its strategic core.
Alliances are another key element for getting closer to the fintech ecosystem. For that reason, there is a need for intense monitoring of the most interesting trends, projects and companies in the sector. Alexa Fernández, from London, is in charge of monitoring this emerging sector and establishing alliances with appropriate partners to bring the business models with the greatest potential for success to the market.
Women in Open Talent
Whether it´s through consortiums, alliances or pilot projects, collaboration is an essential part of BBVA’s road map to the future. Marisol Menéndez is in charge of the bank’s open innovation strategy, which, through initiatives like the Open Talent competition, seeks to create common ground between startups and large corporations, to accelerate innovation in the Group. This year, Open Talent included a “Women in Fintech” award, which was presented to entrepreneur Rebeca Minguela at the BBVA Open Summit.
“The goal of this award is to give visibility to the tremendous work women are doing in this sector. It should set an example for the entire industry. We want to promote the idea that diversity generates talent and is a key element in creating better products and services for our customers. It’s great to see that lists like this exist. I’m so happy to see BBVA so well represented,” said Menéndez.
Elena Alfaro, Global Head of Data and Open Innovation at BBVA, was recently chosen by the Spanish government to join its Group of Experts in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. The group, which includes other artificial intelligence experts from the corporate and academic worlds, will study the social, legal and ethical implications of using these technologies in the private sector, the government and society in general.