The Top 7 Women Disrupting The Financial Space in 2021

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female leaders

Women make undeniably powerful leaders. Take Angela Merkel, the leader of the Eurozone's largest economy for example. She has single-handedly transformed German politics since 2005 and has successfully steered Germany away from a recession that shook the world while making the German economy blossom. Not to mention Margaret Thatcher. Love her or hate, she was powerful, had a strong vision, and stuck doggedly to it. Christine Lagarde, Ursula Von Leyden both changing the face of the global economy.

According to Forbes, the countries with the strongest response to coronavirus are those run by female leaders. "From Iceland to Taiwan and from Germany to New Zealand, women are stepping up to show the world how to manage a messy patch for our human family. Add in Finland, Iceland, and Denmark, and this pandemic is revealing that women have what it takes when the heat rises in our Houses of State." These leaders are gifting us an attractive alternative way of wielding power through truth, decisiveness, tech, caring, and love.

And yet, women currently hold just 29 CEO positions in S&P 500 stocks, which represents 5.8%. Frankly, that's just not good enough.

In this article, we look at top female innovators in the financial space who have all achieved greatness in 2021.

Cassidy Daly

Cassidy Daly is the token Design and Research for Centrifuge, a protocol which unlocks liquidity for real-world assets through tokenization. She has been called a design "genius", and it's no wonder. Her creations are excellent and she takes her foundations from economics into her work on token economy design and engineering at Centrifuge. As if that wasn't enough, she holds a Master's in International Finance from Columbia University, where she also worked as a consultant for the Federal Reserve. Her vision in token design is born from its potential to re-imagine what an economy should look like from the ground up to better help our needs as a global society.

Kristen Stone

Balancer Labs is a top DeFi brand in the world, and their Chief Operating Officer is none other than the brilliant Kristen Stone. This talented executive was formerly a product lead at Coinbase. She reportedly has a passion for improving the culture in decentralized ecosystems and only joined Balancer Labs because they shared a similar vision. Her dedication to seeing fintech reach its peak led her to work harder by discovering, creating, and making these common practices publicly available. Kristen's main goal includes introducing fresh models of organizational processes to crypto protocols.

Maggie Wu

Maggie Wu is the CEO of Krypital, a multimillion-dollar financial institution. In less than a year, Krypital holds a record of successfully executing more than $100 million worth of blockchain projects. Furthermore, she has over a decade of experience under her belt as an investment specialist and consultant in a wide range of industries. She completed her degree in Xiamen U and MIT Sloan.

Milana Valmont

Milana Valmont is the founder and CEO of Kira. The organization's mission includes developing a cryptocurrency ecosystem through liquidity of tokens at stake; the first of its kind. Also, real-world assets are valid for obtaining blockchain applications. This Singapore-based CEO beats all odds to produce groundbreaking results in the global scene. Milana is a high-priority female figurehead in the Fintech industry. In her interview with Odaily, she reiterated:

"Our goal is to develop KIRA into a self-driving and sustainable network. The governance of the network will be controlled by the community, not a small group of wealthy individuals."

Lone Fonss Schroder

Lone may well be superwoman. Not only is she leading Concordium, an enterprise-grade blockchain with a unique identity layer, but she does this while raising 5 children. Respect to her. She started young in high power positions after getting a double Master's degree. She has since gone on to become the highest-ranking woman in Maersk as Senior Vice President, and she is considered a key figure in business in Scandinavia, having represented companies like Ikea and Volvo Cars at the top levels.

Valeria Kholostenko

Valeria co-founded the Polkadot DeFi Alliance, the hub for DeFi projects on Polkadot. Polkadot DeFi Alliance is where projects and teams collaborate to propel forward the larger Polkadot ecosystem and the overall cryptocurrency industry. No mean feat.

In addition, Valeria is the CMO at Reef Finance, which is currently building the Reef Chain, a DeFi blockchain that is built using Substrate Framework. Reef's objective, which aligns firmly with Valeria's, is to make DeFi easy and accessible to everyone, with teams able to migrate their decentralized apps directly from Ethereum. Valeria has over 15 years of experience in early-stage innovation, and in 2017 she forged collaborations across enterprises to explore Ethereum-enabled technologies in her role at ConsenSys. She has also worked for LUKSO blockchain and headed collaborations at Parity Technologies.

Bette Chen

Bette is a Co-founder of Acala, Defi hub and stablecoin platform running on Polkadot. With her MBA from Duke University and her background in software engineering, she is quite a force to contend with in the Fintech sphere. Meanwhile, she only infiltrated the crypto space in 2018 doing product management. When asked what motivated her to create Acala, she explained the origin and what spurred "code dating" Polkadot builder, Fuyao Jiang:

"While we were building Laminar on Polkadot, we needed a stablecoin as the base to mint synthetic assets. In order to do that on Polkadot, the critical pathway is a stablecoin. We were early, our team was one of the first builders in the ecosystem, and we were honestly waiting for someone else to build it. We considered building one, but we didn't think it could be something proprietary, a stablecoin in a cross-chain situation needs to be community-powered."

The Crux:

We have heard how countries led by women have fared better from the pandemic, and it's more than just an anecdote. Research shows us that the number of cases and fatalities were statistically better in those countries led by women. Another research paper showed us that in the U.S, the states with female leaders had much lower death rates. In this research paper, which looked at 60,000 leaders (22,603 women and 40,187 men) we saw how women were ranked as better leaders by their workers, versus those led by men. Given all of this, maybe it's time we looked at that glass ceiling, and then we well and truly smashed it?

This article was first published on August 20, 2021