In our latest #SheFounder Q&A we talk to Co-Founder of InChorus, Rosie Turner! Read on to learn more about InChorus' Fintech For All Charter helping companies champion more inclusive environments, how she tackles imposter syndrome and what she would say to her 18-year-old self.
How did you get into the tech industry?
Early on in my career, I began working in corporate innovation: typically supporting large companies e.g., financial services to discover new tech. My role was to assess business problems, and look at how new technologies could address these issues. This was a great launch pad into the tech ecosystem, and I was able to experience working alongside both large corporates and smaller startups – with the challenges & benefits of both cultures. However, I became increasingly interested in the tech for good space, and was working on a side hustle exploring how technology could tackle harassment – which ultimately grew into InChorus!
Tell us more about your company InChorus.
InChorus was founded in 2019 with my Co-Founder Raj Ramanandi, we’re a tech for good business passionate about how data can be used to build more inclusive workplaces. With InChorus we wanted to create a way for companies to capture actionable insights into the lived experience of different employees so that they could design targeted interventions and track effectiveness.
We believe that critical to this is looking at, and understanding, subtle everyday behaviours – microaggressions. These micro-behaviours are critical to addressing systemic discrimination!
What is the Fintech For All Charter?
At the start of 2020, we launched our Fintech For All Charter with the help of Innovate Finance, FinTech Alliance, and Level 39. We kicked-off with an industry-wide research project to understand bias & harassment across the FinTech sector. Our goal was to root the conversation in data, taking the anecdotal evidence that so many of us are familiar with and putting quantitative data against it in order to accelerate the conversation.
We always focus on going from data to action. And so with the data collected, we are working with our partners to shape initiatives that can help the FinTech sector level up their diversity and inclusion work. From this the Fintech For All Charter was born! There are five-points to the charter that we believe will help companies become more inclusive.
- Leadership buy-in
- Create and promote an effective Bullying and Harassment
- Develop Employees awareness
- Fit-for-purpose Reporting Tools
- Ensure Bullying and Harassment policy is adhered to.
Were you surprised by the findings of the study?
From our work within the music industry, we have seen a much clearer pattern where it is often women in the early stages of their careers who are experiencing & reporting unwanted physical contact. And it is often senior men who are most reported against. However, what stood out to me within the Fintech Sector was whilst it was still often women in the early stages of their career experiencing these issues, it was men of all ages who were being reported against. We found no strong trend from a seniority perspective, and that to me was very powerful. One of the common push backs we often hear is that the Fintech sector is very progressive and that the sector is filled young people, who generationally know this isn’t the right way to behave. There is the assumption that these types of behaviours are fading away, however our data challenges this.
I think another issue is the normalisation of these microaggressions, and people tend to ignore them. Our survey found that 78% of individuals did not officially report the incident. This showed us that there are many barriers to reporting e.g., they might not be taken seriously, fear of losing their job or don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker. This fear is something we’ve embedded into the design of our data collection by making it completely anonymous in the hope we create a space that people feel like they can speak up about these incidents.
Why are you passionate about D&I?
My work within D&I was cumulative rather than sudden. It was a combination of hearing these types of stories again and again and nothing changing. I am passionate about helping companies combat the smaller incidents that are so often clues of potentially more serious incidents. Capturing this earlier on in the hope of preventing more serious incidents in the future. If you have an inclusive culture at the very beginning it solves half the problem.
What would you say to individuals who feel uncomfortable talking about the conversation of D&I?
Awareness and change will only happen if we start to have these sometimes, uncomfortable conversations together. Creating environments where there is psychological safety, asking those uncomfortable questions and knowing that potentially at some point we might say the wrong thing. It’s knowing that when we do, people will call us out on it kindly so we can learn and get better.
What has it been like to see so many signatories pledge to create a culture where inclusive behaviour is championed?
We’ve been overwhelmed with how positively it’s been received. It’s also been fantastic to have the likes of the FCA on our steering committee. To see it galvanising momentum and to see companies of all different sizes and status on their inclusion journeys has been a real privilege.
This shouldn’t be something that only clicks into action when you have a company over a certain size. It doesn’t matter whether you’re five or 500. You will often have one person within a company championing these efforts however, it is important to get everyone invested as it will lead to success. This can be hard as it is often the case that companies at the very early stages of their journey don’t have the resources to turn their words into action. This is something that we are keen to simplify and make accessible at InChorus. A lot of our work can be shared, and we can learn from each other by sharing and humanising the data.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career?
There is a big challenge in the work we’re trying to do in terms of D&I with the disconnect between what companies say and what they will do. Over the last two years, I have worked very closely with lots of different companies and we always get so much positive feedback about our work, and then there isn’t any action. It can sometimes feel like everybody understands the value and everyone wants to talk about it but then the challenge is getting people to turn their words into action. We’ve had to be very creative in how we work with companies.
As a Founder one of the things, I love and am most proud of is that InChorus is a tech for good company. I am in this fantastic position where the more success we have, the more impact we have on making a positive difference to the world. You have to, however, have the correct balance between profit and purpose e.g., when we’re looking for the investment, we are looking really closely for alignment not just financial support.
There is also the challenge of gender bias that you do come up against as a Female Founder. You definitely do experience subtle, everyday sexism still – especially in environments like fundraising!
What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
Oh wow! I would encourage myself to worry less about where I thought I should be and allow myself to trust in the journey. If you follow areas that you’re passionate about, I think it will lead to very exciting places. I remember feeling a lot of pressure coming out of university and wanting to have a very linear path for myself. Careers, however, won’t always go to plan, and you can end up somewhere completely different from where you had originally thought. I came out of university with a humanities degree and didn’t know anything about the tech world. I remember thinking of tech as a bunch of people sitting in a room writing code. If I could go back, I would tell myself that tech will intersect so many industries that I am passionate about e.g., charitable sectors and the arts. Tech is the future, and you shouldn’t be scared, embrace it.
Finally, failing is also so important as you will learn from all those horrible experiences where you mess up or make the wrong decision. We put so much pressure on ourselves, we live in a hyper-connected world where it is so easy to go on Instagram and compare ourselves, fuelling our anxieties. I would advise myself to have some compassion for myself – I am still working on this over a decade later…
How would you combat imposter syndrome?
I think it’s something you learn to live with. There are however, some things you can do to lessen that voice in your head that telling you aren’t good enough. I’m still learning myself, but what I tend to do is first is identify the voice, and then challenge it. Surround yourself with supportive family, friends, and colleagues who you can talk to and who can also help you challenge the voice. Before going into that important meeting give yourself a pep talk, tell yourself you can do it.
Every person at one time or another will have heard this voice, but I think for woman and ethnic minorities, it can be more powerful. If you aren’t being represented and are, for example, the only women in the meeting it can amplify the imposter syndrome feeling and you may question if you belong in the meeting. You have to push through that doubt and lean into it. I used to use a lot of apologetic language in my emails as I didn’t feel confident in my own voice. However, I now proof read my emails e.g., checking for over use of words like “sorry”. There is actually a cool plug-in Gmail Plug-in called Just Not Sorry that flags apologetic language!
As a co-founder, I’m interested in what leadership can look like. We still so often think of it as someone assertive, confident, and who doesn’t apologise for who they are. But I think we have to create space for different kinds of leadership styles which will ultimately lead to a more inclusive workplace. I have learned that you can be a co-founder and be gentler – I think the best leaders, lead with empathy. So, whilst one part of me is trying to counter the imposter syndrome by managing it and trying to apologise less, there is another part of me that is thinking about how I can be authentically who I am and stay true to myself.
If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs such as food and water were taken care of, what three items would you want to have with you?
A radio so I could listen to music and connect with people, some nice smelling aromatherapy shower gel to ward of mosquitos, and wine or chocolate – I can’t decide!
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