IWD 2023: From restaurants to FinTech – Yasmina Siadatan, Sales and Marketing Director, Dynamic Planner
On International Women's Day, we're celebrating the inspiring journeys of women in our portfolio companies. Yasmina Siadatan, Sales and Marketing Director at Dynamic Planner shares her journey from running restaurants to winning The Apprentice, and how her experiences have shaped her career n finance and marketing.
What is your background and how has it led you to where you are today?
I started my career in hospitality, running restaurants and employing up to 20–30 staff members at a time. As a young entrepreneur, I started from scratch and built my business from the ground up. After gaining experience in the industry, I had the opportunity to compete on The Apprentice and was fortuitous enough to win (slightly random!). I worked for Lord Sugar for a couple of years and gained expertise in finance and marketing. I then transitioned to a role in central government, where I continued to develop and hone my skills in these areas.
What is your current role and what does it involve?
As the Sales and Marketing Director at Dynamic Planner, a leading risk-based financial planning system, my primary responsibility is to drive revenue growth for the business. Our financial planning technology is designed to help financial advice firms be more productive and efficient, allowing them to grow their businesses.
In my role, I oversee all aspects of branding, marketing, and strategic positioning. This includes leading our sales efforts and ensuring that our clients are fully supported and able to realise the value of our technology. We currently serve over 1800 clients, representing approximately 6.5K users.
What attracted you to Dynamic Planner and the FinTech industry?
I was attracted to Dynamic Planner because of its unique position within the financial services industry. As a company, we sit at the intersection of the asset management industry and the wealth management/financial planning community (ultimately the route to the consumer) - essentially, we're right in the middle of the product flywheel.
Technology is playing an increasingly important and significant role, and Dynamic Planner is at the forefront of this. This is what drew me to the company - the opportunity to build and grow a business in a space that I found both exciting and compelling.
Was it easy to progress into the world of tech?
When it comes to accessibility, absolutely! I find that my experience has been incredibly positive. While the learning curve was certainly steep - and I continue to learn something new every day (which I thoroughly enjoy) - I've found that the industry has been very accessible to me, particularly when viewed through a diversity lens.
What more could be done to help get more women into tech?
I believe that role models play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion within any company. However, it's not just about having role models - it's equally important that the active promotion of diversity comes from the very top table.
This means that the CEO and their immediate leadership team must take an active role in driving the diversity agenda forward. By actively pushing for diversity and inclusivity throughout all decision-making processes, they set the tone for the entire company and help to create a culture that values and prioritises diversity.
Discussing diversity, how have you seen it work well and how can it be developed?
In my experience with Dynamic Planner, diversity is a topic we care deeply about. We believe that diversity should be looked at through every lens. Internally, we strive to ensure that we have proper representation of women in all our teams. If there is a gap, we take the necessary steps to understand the underlying causes and work towards correcting them. We aim to hire individuals who share our values on diversity and inclusion during our recruitment process, prioritising cultural fit over skill set. We want people that have a growth mentality because we've always been a growing business, but also people that intrinsically believe in the same values that we have as an organisation.
Our commitment to diversity is not only limited to internally, we also care about it deeply when it comes to our product. Since our target market primarily consists of men (76% of all financial advisers are men) we want to make sure we are continuously having a positive impact on how we can change that statistic as there is no reason it should be so heavily weighted towards men. We strive to ensure that our product caters to a wider audience, not just men, and we are actively promoting diversity in the industry through our voice as a business.
Our efforts towards diversity are also evident in our marketing and events. We ensure that our language is inclusive, that our website does not ‘feel’ masculine and our events feature diverse panelists. We believe that all these efforts combined have a positive impact on our gender diversity internally and externally.
What do diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you and why are they important?
As a mother of two boys, aged ten and 12, and someone who has been fortunate enough to have a fulfilling career and to be gifted in motherhood, I feel incredibly blessed. I have been very fortuitous to be surrounded by positive influences in my life and the nurturing upbringing by my mother.
I've been lucky to have some really good mentors in my life, male mentors who supported my growth both professionally and personally. While I have experienced gender bias in my career, I’ve also had countless, multiple more times where I've been given a seat at the top table, regardless of my gender and there's a lot of positive work happening out there. For me, it’s absolutely paramount that we continue that circle of nurturing and growth whether you're a man or a woman, it's our obligation in society to create opportunities for every single individual.
I believe that positive change can only come from each of us taking individual responsibility for equality. No matter where you sit in the hierarchy or what your role is, it's important to strive for equality in every aspect of our lives. Positive work is being done, but we must all contribute to creating lasting change.
What value can be created from having a diverse workforce?
A diverse and inclusive workplace will help to create a stronger workforce – a workforce that will stay longer helps to retain valuable knowledge and expertise within the company, which can lead to better decision-making and improved processes and reduces the cost of recruitment and retraining.
It’s also critical that our team reflects the diverse world around us and of course our clients and theirs, whether in terms of gender, ethnicity or any other aspect. If we don’t, how can we make the informed decisions that will enable us to achieve our goal as an organisation?
Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business. The value that is created through a more diverse workforce translates directly into profit, and it is our responsibility as business leaders to recognize and act upon this.
We also believe that our business has the power to do good beyond making a profit. Promoting diversity and inclusion is a crucial aspect of this belief, and we will continue to towards it in every aspect of our operations.
Finally, as this International Women's Day is all about #embrace equity - what does that mean to you?
As I am talking to a private equity company, I'm going to take this question in a very literal sense and #embrace equity. Going back to my previous answer - this has a positive impact on the bottom line. For the people that still think it's ‘nice to have’ and ‘I am too busy to focus on it as they are busy running their business’, they are missing the point! This will create more equity in your business. It will create human equity in your business, which will then equate to capital equity in your business.
So, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, don't just think of it as a nice-to-have. Embrace equity and the positive impact it can have on your business.