Chirine, Head of Innovation, talks about her career development at Finastra, and the company is playing its part to generate change and give amplification to underprivileged and silenced voices.

Image of Chirine BenZaiedImage of Chirine BenZaied

In my role, there is no average day, which is what makes the job so fun! I have such a diverse set of projects and objectives for my role that every day is different. Priorities can change very quickly, so I have to be able to adopt change very quickly, but this means that I can have a significant positive impact on Finastra’s strategic projects and innovations.

I also have the opportunity to positively impact people both inside and out of Finastra, through inspiring innovation with events like the hackathon. This year’s Hack to the future is all about having a positive impact, with the key themes being Hacking Systematic inequalities, Embracing Technology-enabled change, and of course, Hacking through COVID – 19. It’s so important that we respond to the real global issues of today, such as the black lives matter movement and the current global pandemic, to create a positive change and enable our people to get involved and to be the change. Finastra is on a mission to redefine finance for good, and these are not just words, you see it in the projects that we’re investing in, in the CSR activities, etc. Joining means you can have an impact, drive the strategy, and redefine finance for good!

Whilst things have changed since I’ve moved to working from home full-time, most of the people at Finastra I work closely with are based outside of Paris anyway, so although I do miss having coffees with my colleagues, there is still a little normality!

Whilst my way of working has changed a lot in the past year, my role has always been changing and developing. I joined Finastra just out of University for a Financial Engineering internship, working on Kondor, our treasury system at the time. In my early days with Kondor, I had the opportunity to relocate for 3 months to the Gdynia office, a really great time to connect with my colleagues there, who were extremely kind and welcoming (we even had one of them lend us his car for the 3 months!). I have lots of stories from there, including beach parties, discovering the country, the people, the culture, the language. Poland, Gdynia and its people still have a very special place in my heart from this fond time.

I have always had very interesting opportunities to learn, and to move to new roles: I was in charge of product management on Kondor first, then moved onto other Capital Markets solutions. I then moved away from deep technical expertise in TCM to explore the fintech world with in its very early days, working on fintech partnerships.  This experience was lots of fun as it was the early days of the platform, almost feeling like a startup project within the bigger company: I learned a lot there.

My role has since transitioned into the innovation team, which is a very exciting place to be! I have been very surprised by how many career opportunities there are within Finastra – even cross functionally. I had moved from engineering to product, then another LoB with platform and then innovation, and also know lots of people who’ve moved from engineering to customer support or to pre-sales roles. There are opportunities at all different stages of your career. It’s also a flat org, where the leaders are accessible, and the culture is open. It is so refreshing, as you don’t need your managers permission to go and engage with other teams or with the leadership, which is so important when you want to collaborate.