Creating Social Impact in FinTech, With Rochelle Nawrocki Gorey

Rochelle, thank you for joining us today. You’re the first certified B Corp to be featured on The Cheat Sheet. Tell us about SpringFour, and what it does.

Thank you so much. I’m excited to chat with you today.

SpringFour is a social impact FinTech company. We created our company in 2005. I certainly had no idea what FinTech meant, I was just really looking to solve a problem.

At the heart of our company is the belief that when people are experiencing financial challenges, something is happening in their financial lives that makes it impossible for them to pay.

We’ve built a powerful database of over 20,000, vetted and curated financial health or financial wellness resources.

We are trying to understand why somebody cannot pay, and connect them to local resources. These resources help them reduce their household expenses, increase cash flow, and get them paying and saving again.

So we’ve built technology that’s utilized primarily by the financial services industry to help their borrowers connect to those resources.

At the end of the day, we’re trying to help as many people as possible. We want to make certain that they can get access to the resources that do exist that can help them.

What gave you the idea? How did you move from your prior policy work to fintech? It seems like a rather big leap.

I’ve spent my entire career working in affordable housing and community reinvestment. I studied pre-Law and Public Policy undergrad.

Then I started working in Chicago with a very well known nonprofit. In fact, my first boss Gale Cincotta, was known as the mother of the Community Reinvestment Act. So right from the get go, I worked alongside her and others, crafting policy and programs at the national level.

I got involved in some of the first ever pre-purchase counseling programs. Back in the 90s, that was a new concept. To get people  into home ownership, we created low down payment programs and pre-purchase counseling, something that has become a part of the industry today.

From there, I worked at neighborhood housing services of Chicago. This led me in the early 2000s to do a lot of work on foreclosure intervention, because the subprime market was taking off.

A lot of loans were being made that shouldn’t have been made, and a lot of families got into unsustainable loans. We were seeing families getting behind on their mortgage who didn’t know where to turn for help.

So we created some of the first ever foreclosure intervention programs. Chicago was the first city to pass an ordinance against predatory lending. We passed the first state regulations against predatory lending.

I had the good fortune of working with an Illinois state senator at the time, Mr. Barack Obama. I worked side by side with him to get that regulation passed. It was really exciting. I had no idea that he was going to become our future president. It was a highlight of my career.

In 2005 I felt we needed to do a better job of connecting people who are experiencing financial challenges with programs and resources that could help them.

I began to understand that when people experience financial challenges, they don’t talk about it. They don’t share it. There’s a lot of shame attached to it. Banks weren’t set up to know how to help their borrowers in that way.

Once you had the idea, how did you proceed?

I think I was kind of naive. I had a lot of experience putting together these big partnerships and getting major financial institutions  to do what we wanted. So I thought this would be fairly easy.

We’re going to create this technology, it’s going to help the banks out, it’s going to help their customers, let’s just go and do it. And of course, it hasn’t been that easy or that fast, but I had the idea that somebody needs to build the technology to make this happen.

I was absolutely convinced that it was the right thing to do. So number one, I knew that it made business sense. Banks really don’t want to see their borrowers go into delinquency, default and foreclosure, because if they do, they lose money. 

I saw an opening where it really wasn’t in their wheelhouse to do that, nor would it make sense for them to do that. So we decided to do it. And you don’t know what you don’t know until you do it, but I just thought we would try.

Because I had always worked from the nonprofit side, I really felt strongly I wanted it to be a business, I wanted it to be a for-profit business, where the banks would pay for the solution.

I felt that they helped create the problem that we were trying to solve. And so it made sense that they should pay for the solution.

How did your experience with getting funding in the nonprofit sector help you with your new business?

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I like how you related it to the fundraising of a nonprofit, because when you work for a nonprofit, you can’t do anything until you have funding.

That’s how I’ve always approached everything we do at Springfour – we have to have a way to pay for it.

I don’t think that’s the approach of a lot of organizations today, particularly fin tech companies, or startups. They think, “I have this idea, let me go raise a bunch of money. And then I’ll see if it works.” I’m not of that school at all.

My way has always been that first you figure out how to create something that somebody is going to pay for. And then you put that back into the business and you use that to do your next product enhancement, or bring on your next team member.

I’m very fiscally conservative with our company and our revenue. That’s just the way I believe in.

I also think it’s important to note when we started SpringFour, I didn’t have this idea that we’re a startup or that we’re a fintech. 

It was,  “We see this problem, I think we have a solution, so we’re going to build it a little bit, but then we’re going to get somebody to pay for it.” And to me, that’s how business should be done.

How did you fund your business?

Remember, this is in 2005-2006. So my partner and I put in a small amount of money to start the company and at the time, I was very scared to do that. My husband actually encouraged us to do this.

I was thinking, Oh my God, but that’s so much money. It was $5,000. That’s not much money at all, but it made me so nervous.

But we went ahead and did it and we have never taken any money from any outside investors.

We have not raised capital, we’re revenue generating and profitable. We went and we got contracts.

That gives me hope, because women entrepreneurs find it hard to get venture capital funding anyway.

I think that’s kind of sexy, and it’s exciting. And you get written up a lot.

The media is very interested in that story of raising capital, but at the end of the day that doesn’t create a sustainable business.

Think about it, they’re just taking a bet on you, among many other companies. And they don’t have to see you succeed for them to succeed.

How did you handle the early stages of the business? What challenges did you face, and how did you tackle them?

One of the downsides to not raising capital is that your growth is very slow but I also think that’s good, in that we didn’t have a ton of glitches.

I think that a lot of people who have big budgets, they bring in big engineering teams, and tech teams, and they try to build everything all at once instead of moving slowly and really understanding all the pieces.

I was working with banks, who have such a high reputational risk that if they’re going to work with a company like ours, everything has to be perfect.

That’s not to say that sometimes we don’t have something in our data that needs to be changed or whatever but for the large part, we just moved very conservatively and made sure everything was right.

At the beginning, it was a very small project, pilots that we were doing. Today we have a database that we were in 625 cities across the US and growing, but when we were starting out, we were so small it makes me laugh.

But it is also important for people to hear this, if you have a vision and a passion, you just have to go out and sell it.

Your authenticity and your belief in what you’re building will come through.

Because I look back on it and I remember pitching to a top-five bank and we had five cities, but their customers are all over the country. So that was not really the best solution for for a lender that large.

But I had that crazy belief that what we were building was the right thing.

So at the time, I didn’t think that was crazy.

When I look back at it now, it almost makes me cringe. But it worked.

Did you ever write a business plan even though you didn’t have investors?

We sort of did. We laid out what our thought process was, it was a business plan. But we didn’t really go out and get funding back in 2000 or 2005 – 2006.

My co-founder and I were doing consulting together.  But I had left my job. We were consulting and we were working for large mortgage servicers and foundations around this idea of asset building and foreclosure intervention.

We put together a very light business model.

I think it’s important to keep it fluid because if you have something in your business model or your plan doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to that.

It’s evolving, and you’re learning as you go. I’m of that mindset.

I’m not one of those people that is very rigid in writing everything down and following a strict plan. I’m more of the creative type.

Did you refer back to it or compare progress to it?

There were a few things that were very important to us when we were building our company that are still true today, which I’m very proud of.

Number one is we were never going to charge a consumer who is experiencing financial distress. To charge them money to access what we were building was just wrong. And that wasn’t something we were interested in.

Secondly, all of the resources, nonprofits and government resources that go into SpringFour, we were never going to charge them to be in our system as well.

There are organizations who do, but that’s not us.  We wanted to be a trusted third party for this information.

The third thing was, we were never going to charge our bank clients on the number of referrals that they made, or the number of referrals that they utilize SpringFour for , because to me that would create a real disincentive for them to help their customers we wanted.

At the end of the day, everything that we do is around how we can help as many consumers as possible.

All of those things are still true today and I’m really proud of that, because it says that we knew from the beginning what was important to us, we knew how we wanted to create impact.

I didn’t know about social impact companies when we started our company, but I’m very clear on the fact that we are a social impact company, and we always have been from day one.

Looking back on it, I think that’s pretty amazing and I think that’s because we were rooted in the community.

We didn’t start our company because we wanted to start a company and make a zillion dollars and then go sell it. There’s nothing wrong with that but that wasn’t the our mind.

You’re a Certified B Corporation. What was the process to get that certification?

I believe it was 2016, that we became a certified B Corp, so it was much later on in the process of becoming a company.

I think it probably is difficult for a company. You need to establish yourself as a company first. There’s a lot of paperwork involved. A lot of documentation of who you are as a company, why you do things.

You have to commit to increase social and environmental standards.

For our company, environmental is much less of our measurement, because, for the most part, we’re remote companies. So our impact on the environment is very small.

But you could imagine if you were a large company and doing lots of things, to lessen your environmental impact you’ll have a high score on that.

Ours is more on the social impact side of our business, but you have to do a lot of documentation. Until you have a lot of your processes in place, that’s not going to make much sense for you, it would be really hard to do.

We learned about it and thought, wow, we’re already a social impact company. It would be good to have a stamp of approval that says to our clients into the world that we are an impact company, so why not try to get this stamp of approval.

You can’t “fake it till you make it”.  It’s very rigorous.

You go through an online assessment and questionnaire, then you have follow up with staff to go through all your documents, you submit all of it, it takes a while.

And now there’s even a requirement that you have to legally change your corporate status to a benefit corporation.

Are there ongoing requirements to maintain certification?

Yes, it’s every three years.  There is a fee involved, too.

How long did the whole certification process take?

Several months, at least. Probably a bit longer than that, but under a year, provided you have everything when you’re going in for what it involves.

Switching gears, how do you manage the finances of your business as the CEO?

My right hand person, who’s also a partner in our company, does the majority of the finance.

Also, almost since day one, we engaged a CPA and she does all of our accounting work. We utilize them for our payroll and bookkeeping and they guide us on all the kind of issues that you don’t even know exist until they come across your desk.

So in my role as CEO, I feel I am really helping set the stage strategically.

I’m our visionary about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, where we’re going.

I do a lot of the preliminary sales, when we’re really trying to get people interested in our company, what we do and why we do it.

For finance, of course, as a CEO, you’re helping make decisions where you’re spending money, what your budgets look like and all of those things.

But I would say for me, that is not my primary focus.

I think it’s also really important to understand what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at.

And that is not my area of expertise. I have a master’s in urban planning and policy.

I don’t have an MBA, I think that is completely fine.

There are times where I do wish I had a little bit more of that expertise or understanding: all the ins and outs of P&L and balance sheets and things like that.

But I don’t want anyone to think that if they don’t have that you can’t start a business – you just ground yourself with people who are smarter than you on those things.

You talked about hiring professional advisors like CPAs. How quickly did you do that?

We had put in a  very small amount of money. Right away, we did engage with a lawyer and a CPA for incorporation and getting all of our legal documents in there.

But I think it’s important if you can find people that you that can help you, but then they scale and grow with you.

When we first started out, we didn’t have our CPA doing as much as they do now for us because we couldn’t afford it.

So as we’ve grown, they take on payroll.

For the first several years, nobody was even getting paid. So there was no payroll. 

We just asked people, other small business owners, who they utilize for certain business functions.

I think probably it’s even easier today. There are all kinds of online companies now that you can just utilize for HR functions, accounting or payroll.

So, don’t have a set employee for everything is what I’m trying to say.

I also think I tend to be attracted more towards small business owners, like Mom and Pop type providers.

Our accounting firm is a woman lead CPA firm, and she also happens to be an attorney.

So she can also provide some legal advice when we need to, and has been helpful in connecting me to attorneys at the right time as well.

Looking at the financials, which numbers are most important to you? What would you recommend to other entrepreneurs who may not be comfortable with finances?

Well, number one: Revenue.

Bringing in new sales and revenue, and just knowing how much money we need to have in our bank to cover our payroll, those are the numbers that I pay attention to, retention of our clients, such figures.

How do you approach growth? What are your aspirations? And how are you gearing yourself up both in terms of your operating footprint as well as your financial base, to grow in future?

We approach growth conservatively.

So when we hire and bring more people onto our team, I really want to be in a position where I know that this person can be on our team for the long haul, I would never want to bring somebody on and then have to let them go, because we don’t have the revenue to support that position.

So we tend to hire later, but we’re just really careful about when we hire.

We also have a substantial amount of subcontractors that work with us to do our data work, our tech work.

So thinking smart about who needs to be hired. For us it never made sense to bring in-house tech.

I think a lot of startups go out and hire their tech teams. But if you’re not everyday developing and building that tech, I don’t know if that’s the best use of money.

As far as our vision goes, I think that every single company ought to have a financial health strategy. And part of that strategy is connecting people to resources when they need them. So that is my vision.

COVID-19 in the pandemic really helped uncover the fact that a vast majority of Americans are not doing well financially.The vast majority has been hurt financially.

We know that when businesses help their workers and their customers, it is good for their brand, it’s good for their company, it’s good for their employee morale, and it helps people get back on track.

To me that says that every company ought to be looking at and engaging in financial health and wellness opportunities. We need to move the focus from just product product product to what are the services that go around products when we’re offering products to consumers?

I think about growth, because I am really motivated about making a change in how we’re dealing with the situation in our country. And so I’m not looking at 20% of this market, if we could capture 10%, then we’re doing really well.

I am looking at how we’re bringing innovation and change to the industry. And in order to do that you have to ask, what is the big picture that you’re trying to change? What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?

And get people to connect on an emotional level, because I think that’s when you’re able to create change and positive change.

This is stuff that keeps me excited, I’m seeing this clear pattern in terms of I mean, not to generalize or stereotype, but I’m just seeing a very qualitative difference in how women entrepreneurs think about growth and what success means versus the traditional story you’ve been taught about. We need to aim for 20% growth, and then you work back and say, Okay, what markets do you want to, you know, attack next to to achieve that growth? So that’s fascinating. We talked a little bit about the financial side of your business, and kind of how you feel about it. Any additional thoughts on like, going forward? Do you have any thoughts? Or what thoughts do you have on building your financial, you know, the comfort level that you talked about earlier with numbers, profit and loss statements? Is that on your radar? And how would if you had to do it, how would you do it, given that you’re a busy CEO, and probably have other commitments, you know, family, personal, and not much time.

I’m just a firm believer in bringing people on your team that have expertise that you don’t, that you can trust and build relationships with, that are connected to your mission, that share the same passion for what you’re trying to build. I’m really quite comfortable with not being the expert in that. I don’t think that I need to, and I don’t think it’s the best use of my time.

So I’m not looking to grow my financial capabilities. But yes, to understand what that means, and for what it means for our company and our growth, where we need to be. Also connecting with mentors and other people like CEOs who have bigger companies and maybe have raised capital, or are in corporate America versus us and our small company and learning from that and trying to figure out the good tactics and good practices to have in place.

So it kind of got to the heart of the matter, just go to the school of experience versus the school of academic learning. I don’t like it. I’m learning a lot of this call. So I’m just one other thing on the business side. One issue that I personally struggled with, and I know many women do is this question of negotiation, right? So you have to negotiate deals, wherever you start a business, whatever it is, whether it’s an employee salary, how the terms of your financing or whatever it is, right pricing on your contracts. Negotiation is number one, how comfortable did you feel? And do you feel negotiating and how did you approach negotiating effectively so that your company’s interests were not jeopardized?

Yeah, that is not a fun. I don’t think most people relish it. But I do think there there seems to be a difference between male and female and the comforter boldness of negotiating it negotiating. [didn’t get]

I would say it’s not something that I love to do, but it is one of those things where, contrary to what I said before: fake it till you make it. I would say the majority of people are uncomfortable with it, and you just have to make certain that they don’t know that.

You have to be very confident in whatever you are negotiating and I think you have to remember your value and what you’re bringing to the table. Like for us, we have to think about everything that is gone that has gone into whatever we’re on, Whatever is part of that proposal today.

if somebody wants to purchase spring force products today, they’re not just getting the stagnant thing that we just built yesterday, they’re getting 16 years worth of our hard work. And they’re also capitalizing on our track record, reputation and the trust that we built. And I think there is a price on that. So that is part of when we price things out, and our negotiation.

You know, listening to you, it sounds like, a lot of your negotiation has to do with being incredibly well prepared. And just being very aware of what you have done and what the facts of the case, right, and being able to present them in a way that is compelling and credible, because you have to you have to walk the talk, right, and they should know that you’re actually meeting everything you’re saying. So over preparation, and being absolutely sure of your facts. Sounds to me, like key building blocks of work have worked for you is that?

Yeah, I think so. Also just flexibility and really listening to your customer. And if they’re telling you something, figuring out a way that you might be able to say: ‘Okay, let me take this back, and come back to you with some ideas’ so that they feel heard, because everybody wants to feel heard.

I also think it’s good to present choices. So never just give somebody one price tag, because everybody you know wants a triplicate of choice. That’s an old thing. You don’t want to be seen as the cheapest, you don’t want to pay the most. So you’re probably going to come in the middle. So if the middle is where you want to land, that’s where you price,

I’m guessing you have kids call it blind.

So I do, I actually learned that from my husband who’s in sales. But I will say what I realized is that I have been in sales my entire career because I worked at a nonprofit, and I did advocacy, and I had to go get funding, you know, yes, it was from about one sales [?] But it’s sales. Just a different sort of sales.

Perfect, just great. So it sounds like overall, what I’m hearing is soft approach fact based, credible, respecting the counterparty and what I’m really hearing what they want and trying to incorporate what’s important to them in the offering you’re giving them and then allowing choice so that they feel that they have freedom to do what is best for them based on their understanding of their needs.

Exactly. I would just say one piece of advice, if you’re doing a proposal or negotiating, if at the end of the day, you’re not going to feel good about where you end up, that’s not good.

You have to be excited, you have to get paid for what you believe your value is that you’re bringing. So that’s always important to keep in mind too. I think that also can help you say no, when you should.

We don’t have to say yes to everything, if somebody isn’t going to pa you or your company, what for what you think the true value is of whatever you’re offering, then it’s okay to walk away, there’ll be another client, because you want to have that mutual respect and value for what you’re providing.

It’s just to me, it’s a great, you know, it’s hard to say, Oh, if it’s below X dollars, then you should walk away feels, how do you notice x and not y? Right? Right? Whereas this seems like a much more reliable guide, because your intuition, or whatever you call it, right? It’s your gut, your subconscious tells you, hey, I can articulate it. But I know this is not the right answer for me. And it’s kind of selling me short, right? Bring answering my bring to the table, which I think is pretty practical. If I’m for me personally, if I’m a woman entrepreneur, I’m sure it’d be for others, too. So thank you for that. Let’s talk a little bit about network and access. Right. So one of the things that the researchers proved that blocks women entrepreneurs from being more successful is that they don’t have access to the networks of funding of talent expertise, you know, whether it’s a lawyer, you know, venture capitalist, even somebody who knows people who you need to hire, to what extent was this an issue for you? And how did you get access to networks that are important to you?

I think it’s a lot easier today than it was 15 years ago. But definitely, at the outset, it’s about really tapping into your existing network. So I was working with my existing bank clients or bank contacts at the time.

I think today there’s a lot more entities available around like women founders, tapping into those networks, but I’m a firm believer in never burning any bridges. and always really being helpful to people within personal and business. So if you do that, I think you can reach out to people and you can connect to them and ask for help.

And that’s how we were connected, because we have a mutual friend or business colleague, and we had a great relationship. So she felt comfortable asking if I would be helpful to you. And now you and I have been helpful to each other. And I think by nature, women want to be helpful, we want to share connections, and we want to network. And I think that’s crucial.

That’s just how I’ve always been. I’m a connector, so I want to try and help connect people where it makes sense and is of service. I think our team and I try to impress upon our team at Spring for how can we be in service to our clients or to our contacts, because everybody likes that. Everybody is looking for ways to grow, whether it’s their own individual company, or their own individual, career path, or just the deal they’re working on.

But I do think you have to get outside yourself, take some risks, go to events and put yourself out there. It’s okay to ask for help or ask if somebody knows someone, or can they help connect you? And I think just making sure you ask, and people will tell you if they don’t want to, or it doesn’t feel right to them. But most people will say, ‘oh, yeah, sure. No problem.’

Just out of curiosity, do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

I don’t know. I think I play both. Well, I really like my alone time. But take me to a conference or a cocktail party or a networking event. I’m definitely an extrovert.

and you’re not tired at the end?

Oh, yeah, for sure.

Okay, definitely. You’re just a very high functioning introvert.

I think so. But yeah, I also appreciate a good networking event. Because that is how you get things done. And that’s how you meet people. Especially if you’re bringing a brand new idea to someone or something. I mean we’re not Coca Cola, or McDonald’s, we don’t do ads, we’re not a household name. So we have get out there and hustle.

And so if you’re someone who is, for example, just starting out, or an introvert, it sounds like, what I’m hearing you say is, you know, don’t try to like build a network, just go out and meet people try to see how you can be of help to them, and things will naturally lead to other things and pay off over the course of time. Is that, do you think that,

Yes, I agree. But I also think you do have to build a network, you do have to connect with everyone, for example, on LinkedIn and make a conscious effort to grow that presence and join things.

I joined The Wisdom, the women technology program. Out of 1871, I joined 1871, which was for startups. Different things that can help put my company on the map and try to grow my professional network, and basically have more eyes on spring for what we’re doing.

Got it. So you do have to make that conscious effort. And you have to get out of the comfort zone, you want to accomplish something, you got to get out there and do it, even if it feels really unnatural and uncomfortable or unnatural. But nobody else knows that.

I think it’s always important. Nobody else knows what you were going to say. So if you don’t get it right, nobody knows that you didn’t get it right. It feels like everybody did, I know. Nobody does. That’s the thing. And that’s what you need to get to practice and keep doing over and over again until [you’re?] awesome.

So looking back, what do you think have been kind of like your top three or four biggest learnings from this whole entrepreneurial journey today?

Well, if I had to describe myself, I would say I am not a patient person. But when I look at what our company has done and is doing and how long it’s taken us, I realized that we are really patient people.

If you’re trying to sell into a major financial institution or corporation and you’re bringing change, that is not something that happens quickly. We have deals that have taken four years and then you have other clients with whom it takes 60 days. It is just is all over the place for us. It has taught me patience. So that’s number one.

Number two is somebody once told me: ‘No doesn’t mean no until they tell you no’ which I think is really helpful, especially in the current day and age where you get ghosted or people that reflect don’t reply to you. But now that I’ve learned that until they tell me no, it’s not a no.

I keep thinking of ways to keep in touch with people. It’s not a matter of have you made a decision yet? Or about spring for it’s often about: Oh, I saw this article, I thought you might be interested.

We’re always putting together our pieces of research or information or sharing an article with our potential client that we think would be helpful, and doing it that way.

Got it. So it sounds like you’re using thought leadership as a way to keep the leads warm, and stay front and center in their minds, but in a very unobtrusive and a very helpful, you know, you oriented way versus like a me oriented way that says, Have you decided that you’re going to give you the deal? Or not?

Yeah, absolutely. Then the power of delegation, building a team and giving your team the power and ability to be an integral part of your company. So I think that’s really important. I want to empower everybody on our team to have their area of expertise, and be able to contribute to our company and make decisions and feel good about their job.

Great. And then one little add on question to that. You’ve talked about a journey over the course the entire conversation, you’ve kind of shared many useful insights, how do you think that being a woman has shaped this journey? And what? How has it I would say, how has it affected the way you think about it, your strategy and your approach going forward?

I do think it is relevant. The fact that we are an impact and mission oriented company, has a lot to do with being a woman and wanting to create impact. I don’t have the stats, but there is some stat that when you compare the type of companies women choose to found with those that men found, it is definitely more on the impact side, more of this is what we want to change in the world type of companies.

I think it has made things difficult. There are times where I wonder where our company would be if we were a male lead company. Especially in FinTech, you don’t see many women lead FinTech companies. With the results that we have, and the companies that we’re working with, I’d like to see who those other companies are that stack up against us.

But we haven’t really tried to raise venture capital, because that isn’t what we wanted to do for our company. But I think only two to 3% of venture backed companies are women led and yet women led companies are I think 10 times more, they’re much more profitable, profitable. Yes. So, um, hello.

Rep. I see market opportunity here. Magnetic systems. And then yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

When I look back at my career and starting this company, I wish that 15 years ago, I would have had the confidence that I have today, because I didn’t tap in early enough to my authenticity and passion for what we do and that is helpful. It’s helpful to our journey, and it helps sell what we do.

That is surprising, because that is the one thing I would not have said, because, to me, it sounds like that’s all what you’re about is if you’re so passionate, and you’re so committed to this cause talking to me now or talking to me in the past, and everything that I’ve seen of you on LinkedIn, and so forth, so

Yeah, thank you. But I think at the beginning, I was just so nervous about having the right business answer and having a presentation be a certain way or just thinking that it had to be a certain way.

So it sounds like, you know, if you had to do it over and rewind, you’d say, You know what, I don’t care what they say it must look like, I’ll just go and be my full self into like what Melinda French Gates says and says, This is the only way to be is to be who you are. Right, right. Is that a fair characterization? Oh, yeah. Right. And then I wanted that, what advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps, a woman who wants to start a FinTech company? You know, regardless of how much social impact there is, what, what advice would you give us?

Well, I think you have to understand that you should be tackling a problem that needs to be solved. Without that, it doesn’t make sense to go down that road of creating a company, and then it should be something that you do feel passionate about, because as I said, I think it does help. So it helps you stay committed on those dark days. Or write all the ups and downs and then go out and validate that.

And when you say that there’s a problem. Are there markers or hints you can give to somebody to say, how do you know what, what do you need to see or feel, to know that it’s a real problem, and not just something that is unique to you?

Well, you have to go out and you have to ask. You have to find other people that are experiencing that problem.

Gotcha. And for you that happened through your own natural experience of working with these financial services, companies. And

Although I will say I do have a personal connection to it. I did not come from a family with a lot of money. We did have to rely on outside resources at different times growing up, and I always felt really embarrassed and ashamed. I always wanted my family to have more money. And I always tried to hide that part of myself. So I think that’s where that connection is, to remove the stigma attached to financial challenges.

Things happen to people every day, and it’s not a result of anything that they did wrong or did right. You know, tomorrow one of us could have a medical catastrophe, and with the way health care is, that can ruin you financially. That’s nobody’s fault.

But you were talking about the if the advice that you’d give is to kind of tap into that personal connection, and the reason why something is meaning. Yeah. And that makes absolute sense. To me. That’s why I started to cheat so completely. Yeah. And then so we’ll leave with one last question. So if you had your wildest dreams come true. What is your vision for spring for?

As I said earlier, this is something that is part of every company. Just like almost every company today provides access to health insurance or benefits to becoming [?] mental health counseling or being [buying?] your whole house wholesale.

I think financial health and wellness is really important. It affects every other aspect of our lives. So we need to catch up as an industry and help put those things in place that make everybody have a better or an increased opportunity for Financial Health because it’s better for everybody.

Yeah, it’s It benefits employers too, because now I read some research that employees are losing productivity because of the stress from their personal



So the expansion is beyond just financial institutions to help with their immediate delinquency or financial non payment issues, but in a much broader vision for whoever’s in employment, or is breathing and can fog a mirror likely has financial issues and can use financial capacity.

I need a company, whether it’s for their customers or their employees should be offering financial health and wellness.

Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m gonna