Career story: from investment bank to fintech startup

07 January, 2022Juno Baker

Toni Mitchell joined an investment bank in 2000 as an apprentice and worked there for 21 years. She was interested in digital banking and ready for a new challenge. So she applied for the Women in Fintech scholarship and joined our Certified Fintech Practitioner course in autumn 2021.

Why did you choose the Certified Fintech Practitioner?

Toni Mitchell profileI’ve been lucky to have a varied career, with senior roles in corporate and investment banking, but I wanted a new challenge.

I wasn’t sure what sort of role or industry I wanted to work in. It had to be an area with long-term prospects, related to the field where I had expertise, but not necessarily the same. Something that would offer me opportunities.

Then I saw the advert for Certified Fintech Practitioner at LIBF. I scrolled down and noticed the scholarship for Women in Fintech.

I’d been a transformation director in my last role, using a lot of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) based technologies. But when you’re in a full-time senior level role, you’re more focused on the execution than learning.

Here was a chance to learn more about those technologies.

How did you find studying CFP

The most wonderful thing about CFP is the balance between theoretical learning and the practical application. I think that mix is a really great way to learn.

Because there’s an industry leader at every session, you don’t just get theory – you get this example of real-world use. That helps you understand exactly how those technologies are making an impact or what’s happening in the retail banking market of the emerging world.

How has CFP helped you in your career?

It widened the career field for me – gave me the confidence to think about coming away from investment banking.

Retail banking fascinated me – probably because it’s exciting at the moment with the challenger, neo and digital banks – but I’d never considered it as an option before. Now I’ve joined a startup as chief operations officer.

CFP has had a significant impact, as I look at the mid to long-term strategy for business expansion and the operating model. Studying those technologies in great detail has helped me think about our business model and how we’ll incorporate them as we develop the future strategy.

What do you love about your job?

It’s great fun! Because it’s a startup, I get to have a go at everything.

That might be admin, accounts, branding research, digital strategy and marketing videos, web design or building an investor deck. We’re just about to start pitching for funding which is something I’ve never done before!

In a startup, things are always changing and pivoting, so you need to be constantly thinking ahead.

Paying forward the Women in Fintech scholarship

I’ve been mentoring and coaching colleagues for about 15 years now and continue to mentor some of my former colleagues.

One of the conditions for the Women in Fintech scholarship was a continued commitment to women in the industry. So more recently I’ve started volunteering as a career coach for the Young Women’s Trust.

I’ve been fortunate to have had many strong leaders as coaches and mentors supporting me in my career. It just feels like the right thing to pay that forward to other people who may not have those leadership models in their own networks.

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