MEA Women in Fintech with Keren Chavkin from Israel

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is
generally an up and coming region with respect to its wider
economic development. Specifically, the region has seen a growth
and importance in fintech, producing its own unique innovations,
entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the space. As The
Fintech Times
in September celebrates the Women in Fintech
we take a moment to hear more from some of the leading female
leaders in both the Middle East and Africa. One of them is
Keren Chavkin, who lives in Israel and is an
expert in fintech and specifically in Data and Banking.
Keren Chavkin is the COO and Director of Israel for an AI start-up company Innovesta
Keren Chavkin is the
COO and Director of Israel for an AI start-up company Innovesta

Keren is a global operations and business development delivery
executive. She is passionate about delivery and data.

Keren has 20 years of proven international record in running
operations and products in a multinational environment. including
leading teams across global locations to achieve operational
excellence and ongoing efficiency.

For the last 2 years she has been the COO at
Innovesta and before that worked for 17 years in
the global bank HSBC (she made a huge move from
big corporate to the startup world). She is passionate about
fintech, data and delivery. specialising in really make a
difference in the way companies and products work as a business
strategic thinker and problem solver.

Ke ren is an enthusiast of innovative technologies and 
financial services, grasping an exceptional understanding of the
fintech ecosystem.

Describe your career journey

During the end of the studies at the university, I began to work
at the branch of the global bank HSBC as part of the establishment
team of the Israeli branch.

My next most significant step was to lead the architecture of 15
countries in Europe and, in the end, I was an established partner
in building and leading the Bank’s global innovation and cyber
center in Israel.

As a manager of innovation, I scouted and looked for startups in
the financial fields, I found a new world that was exciting,
challenging, and tough of start-ups. From that moment I was
fascinated and I decided to get the courage, to leave the wonderful
conditions and salary of the global banking technology career and
to go to be an entrepreneur in a startup company. So today, I am
the COO and Director of Israel for an AI start-up company,
Innovesta.

 As a recognized thought leader and a
female, what difficulties have you faced in your
career?

During the 20 years of my career journey through financial
technology, I worked mainly with men, mostly European. I got used
to being different, as a woman, as a foreigner (language and
culture). One difficulty I will never forget, and it’s important
for me to convey the message forward: Six years ago, I was asked to
participate in a conference to lecture to 300 seniors IT  from the
bank about the innovation lab that I established. The lab was my
“babyâ€, but the thought I would stand alone on the stage, Keren
Chavkin from Israel facing all the European men, frightened me so
much, so I let my colleague take the lecture instead. On the day of
the lecture I sat in the hall, I looked around me, I saw 4 women
(including me) and 300 men – At that moment, I promised myself
that I  would always speak up in order that this case will not come
back again.  And since then, I have always been answering “yesâ€
for invitations to speak and to be on the front of the stage.

What are the future trends and predictions you see
happening in the region?

Two main trends in the region ecosystem: one: New regulatory of
banking and technological regulation reflected in similar Outlook
in Europe and :two: Develop a trust relationship between the banks
and the ecosystem and their integration in the bank’s technology
strategy.

What advice and recommendations do you want to give
future female entrepreneurs and thought leaders who are based in
the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region?

My advice is to take the chance and be brave, from my experience
one you have the courage and acting accordingly, somehow you have
solutions for all the issues.

In every kind of career, there are always reasons why it is not
worthwhile to take a risk and why it is not appropriate for a lot
of reasons (such as this is not the right timing, I’ll wait that
the children grow up, I’m not suitable, there are better
candidates than me) but the as a human being  – our life and
career changes according to our courage.

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MEA Women in Fintech with Keren Chavkin from Israel
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