Celebrating Women’s History Month this year, we’ve been lucky enough to sit down (virtually) with an incredible range of inspiring, powerful women across the retail and eCommerce industry. Today, we’re feeling super empowered after our chat with one of our very own: Nina Mohanty, Card Strategy & Expansion at Klarna.
Where did you start your career, did you always know what you wanted to do?
I started my career working at the US Embassy in London under the Obama administration. I was working for the Foriegn Commercial Service at the time, and it was a very rewarding experience that I think back on fondly. However, I can’t say it was exactly what I wanted to do. I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up! It’s always been really important to me to enjoy the work I’m doing and to feel challenged in the workplace. I can’t say I grew up dreaming of working in FinTech, but it is certainly a very exciting and challenging industry I’ve ended up in!
What are the greatest challenges or frustrations you face as a woman in business (if any)?
How much time do you have? In professional settings, I have come across people who have preconceived notions of what a woman is capable of achieving and let those prejudices affect their interactions with women. On top of that, we as women are still underpaid (the Fawcett Society estimates it will take about another one hundred years to reach pay parity and the pay gap is worse when you disaggregate by race).
Who is a woman who inspires you?
Well, that’s got to be my mother, right? My mother is the smartest woman I know. Anything I know, she already knows or can learn faster than I did. She’s also incredibly strong and stubborn, the latter which I definitely get from her. Beyond that, I am constantly inspired by my girlfriends and my colleagues every day. I am energized by being around women. So many of my friends are doing brilliant things in their lives: one recently quit her job to start her own business, another started a podcast, another bought a house, another finished writing a book, another just had a baby! It is thrilling to see women around me live life on their own terms.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am really proud to have made a dent in the Open Banking part of our FinTech universe. At my previous job, I had the tremendous but wonderful challenge of convincing a lot of businesses that Open Banking is the future and it was a technical standard worth investing in. I’m also proud to have been part of the team at Starling Bank who launched the current account in 2017. Outside of work, I’m proud of having hiked to the summit of Huayna Picchu (the tall mountain behind Machu Picchu). Last year, thanks to all our lockdowns in the UK, I read 60 books and perfected my Coq au Vin recipe. And now, I am so proud to support charities like First Love Foundation, Migrant Action, and the Joint Refugee Action Network.
What’s the riskiest move you’ve taken in business?
I once walked away from a job offer because I knew they were undervaluing me. It was a very privileged thing to be able to do, but I trusted my intuition. I had done the research, I made a business case for myself, and I knew I was being completely reasonable. It was risky, but it was worth it because it pushed me to seek out a different role with a company that was thrilled to have me and pay me what I was worth.
What 3 traits do you think are most important to be successful?
- A strong work ethic
What’s the best business advice you have ever received?
A mentor of mine once reminded me, “Make sure you’re always learning. Make sure you’re getting something out of all this time you spend at work.” It really changed the way I view work and my employer/employee relationship and helped me advocate for myself.
Any advice to future female leaders?
There’s room for all of us at the table. And if you realise you’re the only one up there at the top, make sure you reach down and pull up a sister to join you at the table.