Leading ladies in FX: Yael Warman, Leverate

“I have founded businesses, which allowed me the experience to do literally everything and I learned what it takes to build a brand”.

Ultra-modern, highly technologically advanced, and at the cutting edge of the world of financial services and technology, the FX industry heralds executives who are ambitious, enthusiastic and upwardly mobile.

In its relative infancy compared to the hierarchical, wood-paneled institutions of traditional banking, FX represents all that is urbane and fast moving, hence the lack of a metaphorical ‘glass ceiling’. With this dynamism comes the rise to success of several ladies whose prominence in senior management positions across the entire FX industry, from social trading, to interactive educational systems, to signal provision, platform engineering, events, and brokerage.

As is a FinanceFeeds tradition, we decided to celebrate these hard working professionals whose expertise and enterprise is forming the future of the entire business.

Full Name: Yael Warman

Company: Leverate

Time with the Company: Just shy of 1 year

Years in Industry: I’ve been in marketing and advertising for 15 years, but my position at Leverate is my first job in FinTech.

City of Residence: Modiin, Israel

How did you get into the industry and where did it all start?

I’ve had a passion for writing since I can remember and as Content Marketing began to take such a crucial role in marketing strategies, I was able to turn my passion into my livelihood. I came to Leverate when I was looking for my next challenge, and the company and its corporate culture seemed like a perfect fit, so even though I had never worked in FinTech, I jumped in with both feet and I couldn’t be happier I did.

Any interesting anecdotes from your background and how they helped you succeed?

During my last year in college, as I was getting ready to graduate and had a job lined up, I flunked one class. I had to re-take the class the following semester and let the job opportunity go, which meant I had a lot of free time in my hands. I decided to start my own business, and then another one.

I did everything from writing all the marketing material, to managing staff and selling. When I moved to Israel 3 years ago, I was able to put my experience in taking a business from ground zero to developing its branding to good use and I began helping companies develop their branding through content marketing, which today, takes a center stage role in marketing campaigns and has allowed me to do what I love and am good at, which is producing interesting and impactful content pieces. I guess the saying proved to be true and every cloud does have its silver lining.

What are your views on the role of women in the financial services industry?

I remember going to my first expo soon after I started working at Leverate and seeing a panel of 8 men and one woman.

It really struck me because I had never worked in an industry that seemed so male-driven. You may feel a gender gap or not during your day-to-day activities, I know I personally don’t because my company truly strives to foster a gender-balanced environment, it is incredibly parent-friendly, so I see both mothers and fathers manage a flexible schedule to be able to do school-pickup for example and I am confident in my role and have never felt my opinions not taken into account because of my gender, but the gender gap is certainly there with a significantly lower number of women in management roles and R&D.

It is a shame really, because women have a tendency to be goal-driven, to think creatively, we are hard-working and good team players and companies are missing out on great talent because of a lack of flexibility in working conditions. Women can bring great value to companies, but as long as these companies focus their innovation on their offerings to the clients, and not so much in their offerings to employees in terms of hiring and retention practices, then the entire industry will miss out on what women can bring to it.

I do feel however that women are learning to forge their own paths and we are seeing more and more women in executive positions. It is ultimately about skills and ambition and not necessarily gender, but the industry has to understand that it needs to adjust to the needs of a two-working-parents household.

Tell us a little about yourself. What are some of the things you enjoy outside of work?

Even during my off hours I like writing. It’s my outlet, so whatever funny thing happens to me or when I need to vent about something, I write it on my blog. My motto is “whatever doesn’t kill you… makes it into a blog post”.

I also love spending time with my family. We do day trips almost every weekend, we go to the beach or the pool, we do water hikes… we keep busy, but just as well I enjoy spending the entire day in pajamas watching movies with the kids and ordering pizza for dinner. My husband and I also like food. We like going out to eat.

What was your journey like to get to where you are today?

Long. Across-the-Atlantic long. Pack-a-container-and-ship-it long. I grew up in Colombia and moved to Miami to go to college. I started a family and a career there. I founded businesses, which allowed me the experience to do literally everything and I learned what it takes to build a brand.

When I moved to Israel 3 years ago, I was able to apply those skills and focus them on content marketing, which in the past few years has become a key component to businesses’ marketing strategies.

One word that describes you?

Just one? I can’t do that. I’m a writer, a woman of many words. I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive. I’m strong-minded but soft-hearted and I have a positive attitude.

Yael Warman, Leverate

What was the biggest challenge to date that you’ve had to overcome?

As far as my personal life is concerned, moving here has to have been the biggest challenge. Adapting my expectations, learning the language, the cultural differences. As far as my career in FinTech goes, the biggest challenge was finding a way to merge my style with that of an industry that is very serious and straight-forward.

Before joining Leverate I had been writing about luxury lifestyle, travel and fashion and financial services seemed like a big change. I wanted to find a way to bring a lighter tone to the industry and to bring innovation in terms of the marketing pieces we develop and the ways in which we convey our messaging.

What does the future hold for Leverate? Anything exciting/new coming in the near future?

Yes. As a technology company you don’t have the luxury of staying still. We have always characterized ourselves for being innovative and we work hard to find a way to meet the demands of the market while at the same time predicting what the market doesn’t yet know it needs.

We are soon launching the first-ever regulation-compliance cross-community social trading platform, which will prove to be an incredibly valuable tool for brokers. We are also launching an automated marketing funnel in which brokers can benefit from automated and customizable communication with traders at key decision-making points in order to enhance their conversion and retention efforts.

What are your thoughts on where the industry is heading?

As regulation becomes stricter, the experience and cost involved in operating a brokerage today are much higher, which results in a business environment comprised of brokers that are a lot more demanding as they attempt to meet the needs of the now more sophisticated traders. I think the tools that tech providers will offer brokers will be a lot more specialized and focused on contributing to increasing the broker’s ROI and improving their conversion and retention efforts.

I also believe the B2B industry will become consumerized in terms of the content it demands and the consumer experience. Business decision-makers will expect the same experience they have in their B2C occurrences from their B2B vendors and we need to adapt in order to provide that.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Five years is a long time, but I think I want to keep doing what I’m doing now, which is helping position a brand through content by connecting with the customer.

There is still a ton of work I can do at Leverate and a lot of change I can instill from my role, so my plans are to continue innovating the ways in which we connect with our audience.

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