Dina began her career working for an international MBA school called Hult, liaising between large companies and MBA students who were searching for jobs post-grad. Throughout her time at Hult, Dina was engaged with several startup networking events where she was able to get a glimpse into the world of entrepreneurship. The dynamic, exciting, nimble, and curious startups she met opened her eyes to the world of innovation and prompted Dina to pivot to a career path dedicated to helping startups succeed.
Dina went on to work for a number of accelerator and venture studio programs at MassChallenge, Global Accelerator Network, and Newlab where she honed her partnerships skills. She was given the opportunity to work closely with over 80 Fortune 500 companies on their innovation strategies and startup approaches. Supporting these companies by connecting them to startups that fit within their areas of interest, enabled Dina to build her network and get a crash course on how enterprises made decisions. After a while, Dina recognized that there was a need to gain in-house experiences to really understand how companies prioritize new technology and workflows. Thus, she spent time as a product manager at First Republic Bank, then transitioned to her current role as Director of Business Development at New York Life Ventures.
New York Life Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of New York Life (NYL). Its mission is to increase speed to insight by generating ROI and accelerating the pace of innovation at NYL. Dina’s team does this in three main ways:
Invest in startups that fit within NYL’s key areas of interest (i.e., Insurtech, Fintech, Enterprise Software, and adjacent categories such as Digital Health and PropTech)
Integrate startup technology and cultivate strategic partnerships to facilitate pilots and proof of concept to increase NYL's competitive advantage
Promote a growth mindset across the company through programs and support enterprise strategic initiatives by applying human centered design methodologies.
NYL Ventures' focus on these three areas of startup engagement distinguishes it from other corporate venture capital firms, giving NYL Ventures a competitive edge as a strategic investor and partner to NYL. NYL Ventures has been around for over 10 years and has a strong track record of success with over $1B AUM and over 250 pilots/proof of concept to date. Dina’s role is specifically focused on business development efforts within the Asset Management business. She evaluates relevant FinTech solutions with the goal of testing technology and ensures her team is continuously surveying the landscape for innovative FinTech solutions that align with NYL’s goals as an organization.
Dina also serves as an enabler between NYL Ventures and startups by expediting the pilot procurement process and ensuring her team is validating new technology quickly. Many startups and large corporations rarely speak the same language, so Dina plays a critical role as the intermediary who establishes transparency, proper expectation setting, and successful scoping of the partnership’s objectives. Throughout her career, Dina has been a leader and liaison for many parties. She brings strong communication and partnership skills to the table that drive innovation and have a positive impact on fintech.
More on Dina
Where you currently live: Brooklyn, NY
Hometown: Cairo, Egypt
Favorite hobby: Anything related to history, museums, podcasts, and shows
Favorite show to binge: Veep
What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?
The one piece of advice that resonated with me is that setting boundaries is the key to success. We always think that we must be “on” 24/7, but the reality is that ensuring a proper work/life balance will make you a more productive worker. If you are mentally drained, you tend to lose passion and love of the job. Taking time to properly disconnect, to not look at emails after a certain time, or to not look at your phone on the weekends can go a long way to ensuring success and happiness.