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Maeve Dorman

Senior Vice President, Customer Success, Sales Ops and Sales Enablement, PayPal

Laura Scully

Senior Director, Governance & Planning, Global Financial Crimes & Consumer Protection, PayPal

Annette Hickey

Vice President, Europe and Middle East, Customer Solutions, PayPal

Three inspiring senior women from the fintech sector reveal how to navigate workplace challenges — and why taking charge of your career is the key to professional success.

If you’re a woman embarking on a STEM career, two things are practically guaranteed. The first is that you are going to have a dynamic and exciting job that will be endlessly stimulating and fulfilling. The second is that you could encounter various challenges in your future. How you recognise these challenges and navigate your way around them, will be crucial to your professional development say three senior women from financial technology company, PayPal.

It’s not just systemic obstacles such as gender bias that can put the brakes on your ambitions. Internal obstacles, such as lack of confidence, can also stifle potential. In her twenties, Maeve Dorman — now Senior Vice President, Customer Success, Sales Ops and Sales Enablement — believed that her hard work would automatically be noticed and rewarded. Unfortunately, things didn’t happen that way, but she didn’t like to make a fuss. “It was only when I began working that I realised I needed to take more ownership of my career,” says Dorman. “Things began to accelerate when I began to be more vocal about my aspirations. So be open about you want to do — not just within your own circle, but with senior decision-makers.”

Why you need to be wary of imposter syndrome

Laura Scully, Senior Director, Governance & Planning, Global Financial Crimes & Consumer Protection, agrees that women can’t afford to limit their careers with silence and self-doubt. She also advises women to be wary of imposter syndrome: the idea that they somehow don’t ‘deserve’ to be in the roles they occupy. “It’s a feeling that affects many women,” says Scully. “Yet always remember that you have a perfect right to move your career forward. You can’t be what you can’t see.”

When it comes to starting and raising a family, the pressure to step away from work — and therefore career-advancing roles — always seems to fall on women. It’s a feeling that Annette Hickey, Vice President, Europe and Middle East, Customer Solutions, remembers only too well.

We’re lucky to work for a company like PayPal that empowers all women, whatever their circumstances.

Annette Hickey

“As a mother you wonder how your career will develop if you miss work for a period of time,” she says. “You feel guilty about being at home, guilty about arranging childcare so you can get to an important breakfast meeting. I found it extremely challenging. But we can’t change our biological circumstances or pass everything over to our partners. It’s important that we don’t feel the need to take on all of the parental responsibilities ourselves.” Also, cautions Hickey, you shouldn’t feel obliged to make big career decisions until you are ready to do so. “See what works for you and what brings you joy. Always be yourself as your career progresses.”

Don’t underestimate the power of mentors and sponsors

Thankfully, Hickey has had various supportive bosses, mentors and sponsors at PayPal who have constantly advised, championed and pushed her forward. “Mentors are invaluable,” she insists. “But, for me, having a sponsor — someone senior who would speak up for me around the table — was a game-changer.”

Good support and encouragement has benefitted Laura Scully. “Our organisation is amazing because there are women above me, like Maeve and Annette, who could have just sat back and enjoyed the view from the top, but instead reached down and helped pull me up. They taught me to always look behind to see who else you can pull up,” she says.

“As women, many of us have a side job—to help other women climb. I spend almost four hours every week mentoring and empowering other women,” shares Maeve Dorman.

“We’re lucky to work for a company like PayPal that empowers all women, whatever their circumstances, through its female advocacy programmes and other strategies,” agrees Annette Hickey. “It’s a vision that comes from the top and encourages all of us to have successful careers.”

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