FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Co-Founder & Head of Marketing, Maya Nijhawan
Growing up in an extremely hardworking first-generation immigrant family, Maya learned the value of a hard-earned dollar early in life. It became ingrained in her to find ways to make the most of her money and help herself and her family live life in a way that was unimpeded by financial limitations. Maya's path to entrepreneurship has been a convergence of her life experiences, values, and passions. Maya is passionate about financial access and inclusion, and as the Co-Founder & Head of Marketing at Finch, she is focused on helping Millennials and young professionals make the most of their money to live the life they want.
Full name: Maya Nijhawan
Current job title: Co-Founder & Head of Marketing
Current company: Finch
Current location: New York
Maya has a background in Finance, Accounting, and Marketing and is a Certified Chartered Accountant. She spent the first ten years of her career across professional services and corporate strategy at consumer and tech companies.
"Ultimately, I had the realization that at the core of each of my roles, I'd been tasked with helping to convince people to spend more money whereas my values and interests aligned with helping people to be smarter with their money." Having had this epiphany, Maya became highly motivated to spread financial literacy and build the tools to help people put their money to work in a meaningful way.
"People are leaving too much money sitting idle in their checking and savings accounts. For Millennials, we're holding as much as 65% of our assets in cash! But it's not our fault – putting your money to work is hard! Idle cash benefits our banks, but for us it means missed wealth creation opportunities". Finch is designed to be a hyper-productive account and the best home for your money. Finch combines the benefits of auto-investing and the flexibility of checking into a seamless all-in-one account. "I love that I get to be strategic and creative every day. I'm responsible for our company's strategic direction, communication, and distribution activities and giving our product a face and personality to help us best reach and connect with our customers."
"Something that makes me proud is the focus we're giving to building a strong cultural DNA for our company. It's been exciting to see our culture evolve over time and has been heavily affected by the personalities of our founding team. What I appreciate most is that we're diverse in our backgrounds and experiences, collaborative in communication, care about each other and our customers, and are united in our mission. A key part of my job is to help shape our culture, and as a young team, it all starts with hiring the right people. My team is awesome!"
"On a personal level, I want to see more women participate in the markets and explore career opportunities in Fintech". Finch is adopting proactive measures to bring gender diversity to their product development processes to help ensure their product addresses the needs of all users. "There is significant gender inequality when you look at the FinTech user base. To bring gender diversity to FinTech I believe we need to build products with all genders in mind."
Bringing change to a highly regulated industry is no small feat, and Maya accredits her support system and self-pep talks for keeping her motivated. "I wouldn't be where I am had I found complacency in my cozy comfort zone. I feel extremely grateful for my incredible support system and the self-pep talks that have encouraged me to repeatedly step outside my comfort zone and stay resilient on this epic rollercoaster ride."
More on Maya
Where you currently live: Currently in Jersey City, moving to NYC in a few weeks!
Hometown: Born in India, raised in Australia
Favorite hobby: I love the outdoors. Hikes (both natural and urban) are a weekend staple. When it comes to indoor hobbies, I enjoy yoga, playing my guitar, and creative writing.
Favorite part of your day: My morning coffee run right before I get started with my workday, and Friday nights when my 8-year-old nephew in Australia calls me for our weekly zoom date.
6:30 am: Rise and shine! I win the battle against my snooze button and make my way out of bed.
6:45 am: I start my morning with a quick workout. This morning is 30 minutes of Vinyasa yoga.
7:15 am: Quick shower and a mango protein shake.
7:45 am: Time for my morning coffee run. I have three go to coffee spots in Jersey City – Semicolon, Hidden Grounds and Dames. Semicolon has the most scenic walk and was my choice for the day.
8:30 am: I start my work day looking over my to do list, responding to emails and checking in with my team to help address any blockers.
10:30 am: A quick mid-morning breakfast and catch up on the news.
11:00 am: I’ll kick start my two hours of power. This is reserved time in my calendar to smash out the most urgent tasks of the day.
1:00 pm: My tummy is rumbling and so I stop for a quick lunch. On the menu this afternoon is a tofu and broccoli bowl.
1:30 pm: I catch up with what’s happening on slack before entering an afternoon of meetings.
2:30 pm: Two back-to-back investor pitches.
4:30 pm: On Monday – Thursday, this time is reserved for our management meeting where we sync up on the most pressing topics and where we need help.
5:00 pm: Every second Wednesday we have a virtual team event. Today we did a virtual escape room. We got out with 9 minutes to spare! Woot Woot!.
6:00 pm: Quick check of the emails at the end of the day, only responding back to anything urgent. I wrap up by making my to do list for tomorrow.
7:00 pm: Laptops off and I unwind by playing my guitar and catching up on social
8:00 pm: I take a hot shower and get ready for dinner – Neel’s cooking tonight and the Salmon smells great.
8:30 pm: We eat dinner – can confirm it was delicious!
9:30 pm: Neel and I make some small progress on a 1000 piece puzzle of the Moon while watching a comedy special on Netflix. We’ve been at it for weeks (and at this point are wondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into).
11:00 pm: Lights out. Goodnight!
6:00 am: I somehow wake up about 30 minutes before my alarm and I’m feeling good!
6:30 am: Time to get my heart rate up with my 8fit app.
7:30 am: Quick shower and I get ready for the day.
8:30 am: But first, coffee! Today I decide to head up to Dames. One regular almond milk latte and a slice of toasted banana bread coming right up!
9:00 am: Every Friday morning our team gets together for our weekly wrap-up. Each week we kick off with a fun team building activity – today we’re playing a quick round of Skribl, an online version of Pictionary. We then walk through our metrics and share updates on our projects.
10:30 am: Bi-weekly check-in with our lead investor & mentor on the progress our team has made, and to share any asks.
11:00 am: I am hungry. Time for a snack and a quick skim of the news.
11:30 am: We have a couple of key marketing initiatives on the go. I enter my two hours of power. Phew! That was productive.
1:30 pm: Like clockwork, I am ready for lunch. Time to refuel. Nothing fancy, just leftovers today.
2:15 pm: I catch up on Slack and start planning for next week.
3:15 pm: As the last task for the day, I review and approve our content calendar.
4:00 pm: We end our work week with a team wind down. This is something we adopted from our time at TechStars. We use this time to share our highs and lows for the week, our key learnings and our shout outs.
5:00 pm: Laptops off and we head out for Friday drinks by the water.
7:00 pm: I get back just in time for my Zoom date with my nephew. He shows me his magic tricks and reads me a story he wrote about a honey dung beetle!
8:30 pm: We head out for dinner with some friends in NYC and I think to myself.. I’m excited to be moving here :)
Reach out to Maya on LinkedIn.