FinTech Female Fridays: Kisha Allison, Head of Content, USA, Money20/20
Can you tell us a little bit about Money 20/20 and your role with the company?
Money20/20 is the US's largest gathering of the money ecosystem. We gather a potent blend of people, tech, money and ideas. Since its inception in 2012, Money20/20 has created a space where the smartest, most outrageously inventive and ambitious people in the financial industry can connect, create, and showcase how consumers and businesses spend, save, manage, borrow, share and protect money. The show is hosted during the fall in Las Vegas.
To borrow some jargon from my days as a student journalist, fintech is my “beat”. And like any good journalist who is passionate about the beat they cover, most of my time is spent with my ear to the ground, listening as well as asking the right questions. As a content producer and strategist, listening to the market is key and allows me to craft content that empowers the entire money ecosystem with the tools, connections and insights they need to stay ahead and lead the way.
What are the most important skills you rely on in your role as Head of Content?
When I think about what skills are most critical in my role, the first word to pop up in my mind is investigator. I am obsessed with uncovering trends on the horizon, new tech platforms and collaborations. Fintech is buzzing with activity, and it’s my job is to cut through the noise and pick up on the catalysts and innovators disrupting the money ecosystem.
Having a sound research process is also key. Research is part of the “magic mix” when designing content for our audience. One of my core missions is to ensure the content I produce addresses current and future business needs.
What is the difference between Money 20/20 and your competitors? How is Money 20/20 able to distinguish itself within the event coordinating space for finance and FinTech?
Our caliber of attendees and experience at our shows are by far our biggest differentiators. We are an ecosystem show, so we tap into all the sectors that make up our attendee base to create content and experiences that foster cross sector learning, collaboration, and networking. And we’re known for peppering in some fun experiences along the way!
We are a bold and unboring experiential event, and you get a taste of that through the revolutionary voices we feature on our stages, our unique experiences, and the turbo charged networking you find at our show.
We attract the highest caliber of attendees with thoughtfully designed programs for industry leaders and decision makers like CEO Unplugged. This program is carefully crafted to align with C-Suite business imperatives and provide leaders with informative insights into emerging trends and threats. It’s a space we created for senior executives to “think tank” real business problems and benchmark against peers.
Currently, we are in a state where there are more virtual events due to COVID-19. How is Money 20/20 navigating the space to make sure that their events stay engaging for their audience and are constantly speaking about current topics that have not been repeated?
People are craving content now more than ever, and while the pace has been non-stop, it has been exhilarating! We are engaging with our audience on a continuous basis and not just at the show, which is important to me. This year has seen so much disruption that has created so much opportunity to create new and insightful content. The FinTech FightsBack series that we ran through the spring is exemplary of this and one of the ways we were able to create timely content. This really resonated with our audience because it celebrated them during a time where positivity was needed the most. We featured stories of ground-breaking new solutions and collaborations from across the global money ecosystem that helped to keep communities safe and secure in these times of unprecedented uncertainty.
What are some of the most recent and interesting Fintech & Financial services programs you put together?
Programming is like a puzzle and I enjoy the process of putting it all together. One of the key areas of focus for us this year on the agenda is digital transformation within the financial services industry. The effects of the pandemic has finally created the sense of urgency needed regarding this and we are seeing that through some of the innovative collaborations and products that have surfaced over these last few months. We designed an entire theme around digital transformation on this year's agenda and have some of the most brilliant minds in digital banking hacking one of our key questions this year: What's the infrastructure blueprint for digital excellence?
The startup community is another focal point for us this year because this tribe is a hotbed for innovation. I am really excited about the program we’re putting together for these future disruptors. We are developing a robust program centered around catalyzing growth, which is particularly important for startups and the rebuild ahead of us in 2021. This year we’ve also reimagined our pitch program and created the MoneyTank where in addition to our tradition of a $25k cash prize for the winner, we are upping the ante by convening a panel of VC’s ready to commit up to $250,000 in potential investments
The world was digitally driven even before the pandemic. What do you think are some of the pockets of the digital economy that accelerated their development due to the current situation?
One of the most notable accelerations I’ve seen over the past few months have been in e-commerce. The shift from brick and mortar to online in the retail space has created some real opportunities or “silver linings” for the payments companies enabling the e-commerce sector.
Earlier in your career you worked with diversity and inclusion executives. What were some of the lessons learned from those experiences and how did they influence your career?
One of the first events I produced was a D&I conference in Atlanta. I will never forget it. I was amazed at the vigor and excitement illuminating from the executives I stood next to, as they discussed and debated their ideas and approaches.
The most important lesson that I have taken away from that time is the distinction between the words diversity and inclusion. Diversity isn’t the hardest concept to get, but the real struggle is with inclusion. Inclusion requires action, it demands that you walk the walk. It’s not enough to just have diverse teams. Inclusion in action means diversity is reflected throughout your organization, including at leadership and boards levels.
Fast forward almost 10 years later, and unfortunately the conversation around inclusion hasn't changed much. But what has stayed with me is a firm belief that a diverse array of voices and perspectives challenge us to think differently and creates more avenues for innovation. This notion is forever ingrained into my thinking and my approach to content programming. As part of our call for content this year, we made a concerted effort to ask for more diverse voices to be put forth as speakers. We are also requiring all panels to have a 50:50 ratio of female to male and a mix of diverse voices that reflect our community.
Reach out to Kisha on LinkedIn.