FinTech Female Fridays: Meet CFO, Sruthi Lanka
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
This strategic finance professional is passionate about working at companies that provide tools and education to increase financial wellness among traditionally underserved populations. A computer engineer turned finance professional, Sruthi Lanka is no stranger to product and corporate development, and all things finance. Sruthi is working to break down barriers to investing, making it more accessible and social; while also advocating for underserved communities, including New York’s diverse communities, and women.
Full name: Sruthi Lanka
Current job title: CFO
Current location: Brooklyn, NY
Works from: Home
Favorite hobby: I am a voracious reader and read a book a week through most of the quarantine
Favorite part of your day: Morning walk with my dog which takes me to Mount Prospect Park (not to be confused with Prospect Park), a hidden gem that’s adjacent to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Productivity hack: I try not to use the precious morning hours to check my email, and I’m a big fan of writing ideas down on paper.
Currently serving as the CFO at Public.com, the investing social network, Sruthi Lanka is working to build financial infrastructure for the long-term, running consistent planning processes, and driving results through data-driven decision making. Sruthi oversees finance, data, and people operations within her role. Her current focus is setting up Public’s financial infrastructure, partnering with key stakeholders in the firm to build out a strategic plan, and building the company’s data warehouse.
Known as an extremely committed team player and for thriving in demanding external-facing roles, Sruthi has a track record of building high-performing teams and being a diversity and inclusion change agent. Public is an investing social network where you can buy slices of stocks and ETFs, and share ideas in a collaborative and inclusive community of investors. Sruthi is excited to see the continuation of the integration of social and finance, the increase in access and education around financial services, the participation of traditionally underserved communities in the markets.
Sruthi began her career as an engineer at Goldman Sachs, working in FinTech before the term was coined.
“I became interested in finance as I dove deeper into understanding the various businesses that Goldman operated in.”
This understanding and interest led Sruthi to a career in M&A and investment banking after receiving her MBA from Duke University. Sruthi’s next transition was into the world of startups, joining MoneyLion as their first finance hire after their series A funding. She left MoneyLion as the VP and Head of Strategic Finance to join the Public team in December of 2020.
Sruthi also serves on the Board of the nonprofit Women Creating Change (WCC), an organization that envisions an equitable New York City, where all women are civically engaged and have an equal voice in civic discourse.
“In an increasingly partisan world, it is a non-partisan organization that is working to further the voices of the marginalized.”
She serves as Secretary of the Board and on the Finance Committee.
“Every woman in corporate America has scars from times when she was passed over for a promotion or treated differently from her male counterparts. I once had a boss who wouldn’t look me in the eye while speaking to me, and several times when other peers received credit for my hard-won achievements.”
Over time, Sruthi came to believe that surviving those moments is a victory in itself, not allowing setbacks to derail us from our paths.
“The second step is to harness the power of community - I learnt to speak up for myself and build communities of sisterhood to achieve common goals.”
Sruthi is originally from Bangalore, India. She now lives and works from her apartment in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, where she has been quarantined with her husband and their rescue dog, Libby.
9:00 am: Review my calendar for the week, make notes for important meetings throughout the day.
9:30 am: Daily standup with my team (of one, for now). Brainstorm ideas for a new executive dashboard for the company and discuss data priorities. Some things end up on the cutting room floor. There’s always more to do than there are time and resources.
10:30 am: Prepare for a new hire starting later in the week, a Senior Accounting Manager. Create a detailed onboarding doc with D14 / D30 / D90 goals (takes me a good three hours to put together). Ensure the goals are achievable but ambitious, and ensure detail on the context for each goal is included.
1:00 pm: Talk to a mentee about opportunities in FinTech. Discuss potential ways of partnering or working together down the road. I’m (not so) secretly trying to recruit her.
2:00 pm: Enjoy an afternoon conversation that Donut set up for me. It’s a nice way to meet new people across the organization.
2:30 pm: Squeeze in time to respond to emails. It’s a good afternoon activity when energy is flagging.
3:00 pm: Review the hiring pipeline with the talent lead and reach out to a couple of prospective candidates.
3:30 pm: Talk to some investment banking peers and friends about the latest FinTech exits and updates on key metrics and valuations. It’s important to stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry.
4:30 pm: Block off the rest of the afternoon to focus on key updates related to our financial model and plan. Analyze any changes that are needed to the hiring plan and ensure key partners across the organization are clear about financial goals and budgets.
Reach out to Sruthi on LinkedIn.