In the first Employee Spotlight of 2022, we’d like to introduce you to Claire Robinson, a Senior Project Manager at FISPAN. Claire first joined our team in 2019 as a Project Coordinator, having previously worked for Launch Academy, a Vancouver-based tech incubator and accelerator, and Sports Technology Group, an ERP provider for the sports industry.
In her current role as a Senior Project Manager, Claire is responsible for managing a team of FISPAN’s own PMs, in addition to several of our commercial bank partnerships. In these business relationships, Claire oversees the bank implementation projects from discovery to operations (or client experience) handover.
Claire holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Claire has continued to pursue her passion for schooling and recently obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute in 2021.
Let’s get to know more about Claire, her journey to FISPAN and FinTech, and how her focus on continual growth has allowed her to flourish in her career.
Claire celebrates FISPAN's 5th anniversary with a derby-themed team celebration.
Why did you choose a career in FinTech?
To be honest, I can’t say that I deliberately chose a career in FinTech (!). I landed in the field somewhat haphazardly — and if you had told me five years ago as I was finishing up a Kinesiology degree that I would be working in this industry, I would have thought you were crazy. I came out of school firmly knowing that I wanted to gain enough work experience to be able to see what career options were out there.
My first job as an Executive Assistant exposed me to a number of different business processes that proved to be fundamental to my career growth. I highly recommend the Executive Assistant role to anyone fresh out of school looking for opportunities that allow you to experience a variety of career paths!
Soon after, one thing led to another and I applied to FISPAN as a Business Analyst. Following that interview, neither the hiring manager nor myself felt like that role was a perfect fit for me. In what I feel was one of the most important moments of my life, and probably a lot of luck, FISPAN later reached out to assess my interest in a Project Coordinator position — which catered much more appropriately to my client-facing communications and organizational skills. Now, I have been with FISPAN for two and a half years and have continued to grow into multiple different roles, which has all been an amazing experience and learning opportunity.
What factors helped you decide to start a career at FISPAN?
I was very kindly introduced to our current CEO, Clayton Weir, by the CEO from my previous company. From the get-go, I loved Clayton’s perspective on the industry and the attitude he had towards my relative inexperience with FinTech.
When I met with the broader FISPAN team, I was inspired by the company culture and growth mindset. It was clear to me early on that FISPAN did not necessarily place the utmost importance on subject matter expertise, but rather on one’s overall passion to learn and grow as an individual and team member. This quickly stood out to me and I am so glad that my initial perception turned out to be very accurate, even nearly three years later.
What is your favourite part of working at FISPAN?
FISPAN has truly been an incredible place to grow my career. I’m not sure what I did to deserve this experience, but I am so so grateful for it. I came into my first role with a very rudimentary knowledge of the banking industry and an even more rudimentary understanding of tech and the development process in general.
I would now consider myself somewhat proficient in both, which is a testament to the culture at FISPAN wherein we have a very tight-knit team that isn’t afraid to challenge each other to be better, but also encourages us to celebrate our wins together. The team aspect of the company has been maintained despite FISPAN quintupling in size since 2019 and is now a core part of our company culture. The team is most definitely my favourite part of working here.
Claire joins Amanda Warboys, Execution Manager, for a run in Joshua Tree National Park (left) and a quick lunch-time jog along the Vancouver Seawall with FISPAN's jogging club (right).
If you were to give any piece of advice to anyone applying to FISPAN what would that be?
My advice for applying to FISPAN would be to highlight your dynamic experiences. While we are now a (relatively) large company with 135 employees, we still maintain the start-up mindset where individuals are encouraged to think about issues through different perspectives, challenge each other, and build their own processes.
Individuals who can demonstrate that they are dynamic and willing to step into roles where there are no templates and processes already defined are a huge asset to FISPAN.
What are your future aspirations and how can FISPAN help facilitate them?
This is a conversation that my manager and I go back and forth on quite often! I don’t have a defined role that I’m targeting at the moment, however, I am quite certain that I am still looking for continual growth. I am an individual who thrives in chaos and does not do well standing still. I have been lucky to be a part of FISPAN over the past two and a half years where the company has grown from 20 to 135 employees at a time that has been anything but boring.
My future aspiration is to not remain stagnant and ensure that when I wake up in the morning, I am excited to go to work. If I have this feeling, I am confident that I will be happy in my career. FISPAN has continued to provide opportunities for growth and tackling new challenges, which has been critical to my happiness in my role, so more of this will help me reach my aspirations.
What are your main passions and interests outside of work?
I am really into long distance triathlons which have a lot of parallels to my work life, funnily enough. A lot of FISPAN issues and ideas have been resolved/sparked along the Stanley Park seawall. I would love to say that I round out my athletic interests with meditation and cooking, but truthfully, I am either on my bike or watching Real Housewives — there is not a ton of in-between!
FISPAN's triathlete: Claire takes to swimming, cycling, and running to meet one of her biggest supporters (her mom!) at the finish line (right).
What inspires you?
My mom is a massive source of inspiration for me. She has had a hugely successful career all while balancing the act of raising two kids in a household with two working parents. This feat continues to become more and more impressive to me as I attempt to have a career and grow my single dying plant. My mom has always preached the importance of taking care of yourself first. Contrary to how that can be perceived on the surface, you must put on your own mask first before you run out of oxygen trying to assist others. This is a principle that I have carried into my own career and has been critical to me keeping my head above water.
What is your favourite quote?
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
I wouldn’t call myself a particularly patient person and I often come back to this quote when the smaller day-to-day tasks feel like they are lacking in impact and importance.
What are you most excited about for 2022?
The return of Thursday night drinks with my FISPAN teammates. And more growth. FISPAN turned five in August 2021, which means our company has graduated past crawling to walking in a lot of regards. We are currently tackling a number of projects that we are only able to engage in now because they require a maturity that we have worked extremely hard to achieve. I am super excited to be working on these initiatives and can’t wait until the end of year review where we look back and see all the products and partnerships that we have built in 2022.
We invite you to get to know Claire further by checking out her LinkedIn and exploring the many career opportunities we have here at FISPAN for those looking to kick start their career in FinTech.