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  • Writer's pictureAnli Valdez

FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Jennifer Arnold, Co-Founder and CEO at Minerva

Jen started her career in banking just days before 9/11, working in communications for the first female CFO of Bank of Montreal. In the months that followed, Jen got her first glimpse into the fast-moving regulatory environment of anti money laundering (AML) and anti terrorist financing. It would be a decade before she officially changed careers, but she had never fallen in love with a subject so quickly – the potential to do good was incalculable. Leaving an executive role at a big bank, where she felt her work was ineffective, ended up being the best career decision Jen made as it allowed her to build something that matters to the world: Minerva.

Jen is the co-founder and CEO of Minerva, a proactive AML platform with a mission to get ahead of bad money for good. Minerva uses proprietary deep learning models, labeled datasets, data tools, and layered algorithms to accomplish contextual entity resolution. This approach allows Minerva to automate entity resolution at a much larger scale than ever before and to tackle much messier, unstructured forms of data with automated analyses to resolve different references in real time without manual intervention from analyst teams. Minerva’s culture is very open with a heavy emphasis on fun and working together as a community.

Minerva educates and enables its fintech customers and community on how to demonstrate compliance to their regulators quickly and easily. Minerva also helps fintechs to use AML compliance as a force multiplier for their own growth, accelerating expansion into new markets and creation of new products. For fintechs and regtechs, it’s important to treat regulatory requirements as a means to an end, not the end itself. The purpose of this work is to protect the financial ecosystem, communities, customers, and businesses from harm.

As CEO, Jen finds her roles and responsibilities change fairly regularly. The position is innately challenging and thus provides something new to learn every day. Her biggest challenges are currently around learning to let go and to delegate rather than micromanage. She also puts a conscious effort into self-care and taking the time to daydream, think, and imagine the future of the company.

One thing that excites Jen about fintech this year is how quickly the regulatory environment is evolving for both traditional finance and digital assets, as well as how easily the fintech community is able to solve the problem of ‘keeping up’. A key trend Jen is seeing in her industry is the increasing use of AI and how businesses can best apply it to prevent financial crimes. Jen believes that, if executed well, AI can be the path to effective and efficient compliance programs.

More on Jen

Where you currently live: Toronto

Family at home: Husband and a daughter

Hometown: I was born in Vancouver but went to high school in Peterborough, Ontario

Favorite hobby: Reading

Favorite show to binge: Yellowjackets

Favorite fintech media that inspires you: I’m currently all over Stephen Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO, especially the episodes where he discusses inspiring, female founders like Anne Boden

What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?

“Make mistakes and course correct quickly, rather than wallowing around in the wrongness of it all.

Do you have any productivity hacks?

To-do lists are your friend. If you can do something immediately – do it. Be sure to block your calendar to set aside time for thinking, returning emails, etc.

Daily Diary

5:00 – 6:00 am: Wake up, grumble, stretch, and yoga

6:00 am: Check emails, to do lists, and read industry research/articles/regulations

7:00 am: Stare at husband until he makes me coffee, then chat before the kiddo wakes up

8:00 am: Get ready, kiss the family, walk to the office or meet a friend for a walk, and squeeze in a barre class with a buddy 3x a week

9:00 am – 6:00 pm: Meetings, research, email, talk to the team, and goof around a bit

7:00 pm: Dinner with family and daily wind down with chat, exchange of our days, and then vibe check on the family evening activity (i.e., walk, tv, reading, baking)

10:00 pm: Check calendar, prioritize to do’s for the next day, and go to bed

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