FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Alexandra Bono, Founder & CEO at Pelican
Alexandra Bono is an impactful FinTech leader who was recognized as one of the 2022 Inspiring Fintech Females by NYC Fintech Women. She will be showcasing how her company Pelican is addressing the evolving needs of families through FinTech at NYC Fintech Week's Financial Wellness Pitch Day on April 24, 2023.
Alexandra began her career as an intern at the US Department of Treasury in 2008 where she saw the financial crisis unfold. As she realized the devastation the crisis caused including loss of jobs and homes, she dedicated her career to creating a positive change. Over the years, Alexandra has successfully built and brought products and platform to market, along with growing a community and recurring revenue for various businesses and entities including startups, non-profits, and various enterprises across industries. Beginning her career in management consulting helped Alexandra transition across industries - government, consulting, finance, arts, and equipped her with functional and technical skills across domains.
Today, Alexandra is the Founder and CEO at Pelican, a community and investment platform to help 100 million American invest in education of the children they love. With Pelican, Alexandra is on a mission to help families reach their education savings goals. Pelican is also releasing a unique gifting platform which enables friends and family to contribute toward a child's college fund with ease.
Built on principles of trust, innovation, impact, and community, the team at Pelican, while small, is highly dedicated. "Finding a mission and purpose in my work has been the biggest motivator that continually inspires me to work harder, despite challenges," says Alexandra.
Alexandra is proud of the impact she has made not only in the FinTech community, but on families. Investing in a child's education is one of the most important factors for a child's future success. Alexandra founded Pelican based on personal reasons - wanting to contribute to her baby niece's college fund - and now, she is helping families all across America do the same. Pelican's mission is to empower new families with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to achieve their financial goals and provide the best possible future for their loved ones. By combining financial expertise, technology, and community, Pelican aims to simplify the college savings process and provide personalized solutions that meet the unique needs of each family. Pelican is committed to promoting financial literacy and creating a supportive environment for families on their financial journey.
More on Alexandra
Where you currently live: West Village, NYC
Hometown: Bryn Mawr, PA
Favorite hobby: Running, tennis, yoga, hiking - anything active and outdoors!
Favorite part of your day: Nespresso on Mondays! Pizza on Fridays!
Favorite show to binge: Emily in Paris
What's the best job decision you ever made? What's the worst job decision you ever made?
While I was quarantined in March 2020, I made the decision to apply to business school. Columbia Business school gave me the confidence and foundation to launch Pelican.
Worst job decision was expecting a raise/ bonus for top performance and work-ethic. I quickly learned the importance of becoming your own biggest advocate.
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task or take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do/or be good at?
I am a natural explorer and absolutely love solving new challenges, so I really connect with encouraging leaders.
However, I can feel intimidated when thrown into a new project meeting, without having time to prepare! I’ve learned the importance of preparation and team-building. I look at the big picture but break things down step-by-step. I have also learned to rely on teammates, mentors, and advisors for guidance along the way.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
When I was first starting out my career, I was so nervous about delivering bad news that I would try to fix the problem or find a solution before asking for help. I learned the importance of flagging issues early and proactively managing risks and uncertainties.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I perform my best when I eat healthy, exercise, and sleep well. So, it is important for me to write down with pen and paper my weekly and monthly goals for work, health, and personal focus. It helps me to visually map out my weekly schedule so I know where I may be overcommitted or imbalanced. If I have a crazy work week ahead, I know to cut back on personal commitments, stock up on healthy groceries, and carve out time on the weekends to recharge.
What's a book/podcast/quote that inspires you and why?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
I’ve had this quote on my dresser as a child, and now on my fridge as an adult as a small reminder that this life is yours - fight for the things you care about!