Leticia Faria - Women's day interview

This month we’ve been interviewing some amazing females here at SumUp surrounding International Women’s Day to learn what makes them tick, who inspires them and why they decided to work with us.

This is Leticia Faria, Global VP People, at SumUp sharing with us her thoughts on being a female in a typically male-dominated industry.

The FinTech industry is not famous for being an attractive field of work for women. What made you decide to work at SumUp?

The life of a woman in leadership is not easy at all. It gets harder the more senior you get. I've been through very difficult experiences during my career. You never really know what you are going to face in a new job until you really start working there. I chose SumUp because I saw that there were other women in top management. The people that I knew who were working here care about diversity, and I noticed the company's culture embraces people with different profiles and backgrounds. After 1.5 years of working here, I can say that this is true, and I feel very lucky about being here and being recognized by my professionalism and deliveries, instead of being left aside because of my gender.

If you had the possibility, what would you change for the advantage of women all over the world?

First, I'd give each of them self-confidence. Insecurity is one of the main competitors that we have. Second, I’d like to have a society free of unconscious biases, making women and men free of certain labels that we employ most of the time but aren't even aware of. Third, I’d like to make sure that public policies which support both men and women, like giving parents equal parental leaves, are universal.

If you could meet an impactful person, who would you meet and what would you talk about?

For sure Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook). I am a big fan of her as a person and as a professional. She plays a key role in a very successful company and is an ambassador of female leadership and is also a mom. She inspires me a lot for being able to do all of this at the same time! If I were able to meet her, I'd ask advice for my career as well as how to balance the career as well as being a mom.

What can you recommend to every woman (e.g workshop, book, show, activity)?

For sure! Every woman (and man) should read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It opens your eyes about the natural unconscious biases that we have, as to change it, you need to be aware of them first. In addition, have an inspiration to look up to. Pick a woman (or many) that you admire and who inspires you as a person and a professional. And lastly, be involved in a forum or community where you can talk openly about the challenges that you face so you can get advice and support.

A strength you are proud of?

Grit, the perseverance and passion to achieve my long term goals. It has been helping me to thrive in adversity and to ensure that I'm focused on achieving my dreams. You won’t face only pleasant situations, but I believe that difficult situations make you stronger.

What do you like about your leading position?

In a leadership position, I see myself in a role that supports the company and its people to become more successful, removing any blockers as well as coaching several of these individuals. And this impact around me is what makes me most excited about my job.

What are the challenges in a leading position?

The main challenge is prioritisation and how to do hard trade-offs so the team can focus on what is more impactful for the company. You need to keep an eye on the market to understand what is going on, to develop the team, and to understand the business’ needs and opportunities. Then you must make sure that the team’s strategy is highly aligned with it.

What are the challenges in hiring a diverse team?

Diversity is great, and I strongly believe that any company that wants to be innovative and competitive in the market needs to embrace different visions, opinions, and backgrounds. Hiring a diverse team is not easy, and we need to consciously look for it. But this is only the first step. Once these people join us, we need to make sure we are more conscious of our unconscious biases, so we can better create a workplace of inclusivity. When people join us, they need to feel a sense of belonging and to be comfortable in their roles. Discussions will take a longer time to finish when considering different perspectives and backgrounds, but at the end of the day, this is always better for cultivating an accepting and diverse environment.

Thanks for taking your time and your inspiring words, Leticia.

Check out our blog for more interviews with women from SumUp.

Julia Maehler