FinTech Female Fridays: Meet MX Chief Advocacy Officer, Jane Barratt
This fast-moving, fast-talking tech leader is comfortable leading on an executive team at a company coined “one of FinTech’s brightest stars.” Jane Barratt believes that financial services should be a force for good in the world. Currently serving as the Chief Advocacy Officer at MX, Jane works with FinTechs, financial institutions, policymakers and regulators to drive Open Finance initiatives that will transform the next generation of innovation in our business. She also founded GoldBean - an education first investment advisory platform, and is an educator on all things personal finance on LinkedIn Learning.
Name: Jane Barratt
Current Role: Chief Advocacy Officer
Financial Educator, LinkedIn Learning
Location: Alpine, Utah
“I love the questions, feedback, and comments we get, literally every day, from all over the world - it’s like a real time barometer of what’s going on in the world of personal finance.”
Jane Barratt has been involved in financial services for two decades and from multiple dimensions. She started her career off in marketing, running both digital and traditional agencies managing brands and digital platforms for some of the biggest global names. Having been at the table for one too many meetings where the goal was on how to attract people who already had a pile of money versus to enable customers to actually engage with and grow their money, she made the leap into the entrepreneurial world.
Born in Australia, Jane has spent most of her career as an expatriate. She moved to New York at 18 to spend a sweltering summer as a swim instructor, and roamed the city on nights and weekends. Her path back to New York was circuitous - after college, the direct marketing agency she worked for offered her a one-year assignment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After packing up her life into storage and abandoning a Master’s degree program she had just begun, she quickly found that Asia was a wonderful place to grow her career and personal life.
Staying 8 years in total between Kuala Lumpur (where she met her Canadian now-husband), Singapore, and then Hong Kong, working with technology and finance companies across Asia and taking on management roles at a very young age. The big move to New York came early 2004, leading global teams and having 3 kids between 2006 and 2009 was equally frenetic and fun.
“The people, the passion, the constant stimulation of New York is an endless source of energy. It is a wonderful place to build a career, a family and a business”
After spending 5 years as one of the few female FinTech founders in NYC, Jane took on the role of Chief Advocacy Officer at MX in 2018. Relocating with her family from New York City all the way to the land of mountains, deserts, and high plateaus that is Utah, for the role. MX is a FinTech innovator founded in 2010 that connects and enhances financial data to help organizations deliver data-driven money experiences.
“We have thousands of customers, and are collaborating with hundreds more organizations to ensure people can access and understand their finances.”
Jane’s focus is on enabling positive financial outcomes for both people, and the institutions that serve them.
For the past seven years, Jane has also been contributing personal finance courses to LinkedIn Learning. She loves working with the team to produce these sources (14 so far) and collaborating with her husband on the content development. “I love the questions, feedback, and comments we get, literally every day, from all over the world - it’s like a real time barometer of what’s going on in the world of personal finance.”
Jane shares that in working and collaborating with executive women all over the world, one very consistent thing amongst the working mothers is that there is usually a partner who can carry more of their fair share of running the house, managing meals, and kids schedules. Aspiring to be equal is one thing - but having the unequivocal extra support is truly the secret sauce for Jane and her success. “I’m grateful to my husband every day for keeping it all together for us.”
Jane is a strong advocate for women in financial services, especially female founders.
My calendar is usually booked pretty solid and today is no exception...
8:00 am: Review the week and update my whiteboard with what needs to be done - I break it down into ‘urgent’ ‘today’ and ‘this week’. Today we are bringing on a new team member - I review his onboarding schedule, and add a last-minute team meeting to welcome him.
I’m fortunate that my husband does most of the work with the kids - getting them breakfast and off to school. Which, despite Covid, they have all been attending full time, which makes working from home significantly easier.
10:00 am: MX is a part of a number of industry working groups and task forces. Kick off the first out of two one-hour meetings for the day. Luckily, this one is audio only so I am able to go and fix myself a strong coffee and walk around for a bit while on the call.
It’s probably good to disclose at this point that I multitask constantly. MXers are prolific slack users, plus we have voxer & wrike pinging alongside regular email and texts.
11:00 am: Industry working group #2. The wonderful thing about industry groups is the collaboration with fellow travelers. My learning and understanding of complex issues is significantly accelerated by hearing real-time what is going on across the industry and in the policy world.
2:00 pm: Every day I do outreach, have formal and informal meetings with fintechs and financial institutions and answer inbound questions from across the financial services landscape. This week is also the end of the quarter and the end of our fiscal year - so pressure is on across the board to close deals and meet goals.
3:30 pm: A recurring weekly meeting got canceled so I am able to focus for the first time today on our major deliverable for the week, a comment letter for the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Responses to their ANPR (Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) on data access is due next week and we have a cross-functional team contributing answers. We’ve been working for months on the strategy and core pillars of our response - now it’s crunch time to finish writing, collate, edit and ensure that our submission is as strong as it could be. I still have a lot of writing to do and *checks calendar* - realize that it will most likely be done in the evenings.
7:00 pm: At dinner, share with the kids how the end of the quarter and end of a fiscal year works, as a preamble to why I’ll be working most evenings this week. Spend a few hours writing and thinking, and finish up with answering inbound messages from LinkedIn Learning viewers.
9:30 pm: After a few hours of work I head upstairs to hang with the kids, read for a bit, and pass out.
7:00 am: My mental and physical health is dependent on keeping to a schedule that I developed during marathon training. Running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, and cross-training on Sunday. As it’s the depths of winter in Utah, running can be icy, so I am grateful to my colleague who recommended Hoka shoes - technically for trail runs but works well in snow and ice.
8:00 am: Drop my middle schoolers and a few neighbor kids at school. A short carpool ride is always great to hear the latest in pop culture and to grill the kids on levels of mask adherence in their classes!
8:30 am: Have recurring team meetings, followed by a meeting with senior executives at a large institution who we are hoping to sign on as customers this week. The wonderful thing about spending time with people like this, is how clearly and passionately they can present their vision, and their requests of you as a partner. Great way to start the work day.
11 am: As well as year-end, there’s a lot of work going on to finalize 2021 plans for a company kick-off in a few weeks. Heads down on forecasting and interdependencies.
2:00 pm: Sync with the team who are managing our CFPB response, and a policy consultant who we brought in for last-minute input. This has been an intense process, and the symposium that kicked it off (in pre covid times) feels like years ago.
3:00 pm: Over the past few years we have built relationships with the largest Banks as the industry moves towards Open Banking and secure data access. Spend an hour with one of the top 5 banks on progress both across the industry, and how our teams are progressing.
5:00 pm: Slack and my calendar notifications finally slowing down - can focus again before dinner. Chat with a fellow female founder, friend and collaborator Dani Hughes. Her friendship and guidance over the years have been invaluable.
6:30 pm: Sit down for dinner with my husband and kids - this is my chance to catch up on what’s going on in the world and hear about their days.
7:30 pm: Back to my (home) office for a few hours of uninterrupted writing.
9:30 pm: Have made a commitment to go back to the pre-iPhone-in-bed days to reading a book a week. I can’t make it beyond 20 pages or so before I’m back to my phone.
8:00 am: Have a long day of 1:1s with my team, other execs and product leads. It’s the final push on deals, planning and the year and tension are high across the board. As much as I like to think of myself as calm and focused, I’m grateful to colleagues and friends where I can be myself and decompress a little throughout the day.
12:00 pm: One of the joys of working from home is unexpected packages. MX has been sponsoring Patriot Boot Camp for many years, and one of my favorite things is mentoring the founders. One of whom started a coffee company and sent a package of his rocket fuel in preparation for next week's event.
1:00 pm: That extra coffee has me flying through the afternoon!
3:00 pm: Another benefit of working from home is being able to see the kids after school. A quick chat, a hug, a check-in is a huge mental health boost for me. My daughter does her Viola practice in the next room each afternoon. It never fails to amaze and delight.
6:00 pm: I’m grateful for a partner that makes sure I get fed and for time with the kids. It’s hard to take a break while working from home, but it’s just what I need to re-charge.
8:00 pm: Time to work on LinkedIn learning content. Editing scripts to acknowledge the current reality of economic uncertainty caused by Covid, and dig deeper on gig working and other survival techniques, it is all pretty brutal.
7:00 am: I miss New York with all my heart, but after 15 years in the same apartment, running the same paths, it’s a joy to run a different route every day in the mountains.
8:00 am: It’s a good thing for the running mental health boost - it’s an insane day of meetings and multitasking.
12:00 Have a virtual lunch (well the food is real) with a colleague that I don’t work with on a regular basis. There’s rarely time to prioritize these chats – especially with no fixed agenda – and even though this is meant to be more about me providing support and guidance for her, I always walk away inspired and energized.
5:00 pm: Join a zoom happy hour with friends and collaborators from the financial services world. Grateful for these friendships, formed at conferences and now morphed into the new virtual world.
9:00 am: I co-host a ‘Fintech Friday’ room on Clubhouse. Today we talked with one of my favorite founders - Shamir Karkal from Sila. Having been so deep in the fintech space as a founder and an executive, I learn so much from these stories from the front lines and connecting with others. Fintech moves so fast that unless you’re paying attention - whole trends happen without you. Also - the number of women from all over the world joining these conversations is awesome to see!
12:00 pm: It’s been an intense start to the year, and a good learning for anyone in the tech world is to accept that velocity never really slows down. Which I’m reminded of during a meeting with the CEO of MX, Ryan Caldwell. His clarity, energy and focus off the back of a major fundraising round is incredible.
5:00 pm: Prep for next week, send out our monster comment letter for MX execs to weigh in on. Have a few long text exchanges with colleagues about the week that was, and update my whiteboard with what was done/not done. Unsurprisingly, lots more were not done than done.
7:00 pm: Most weeknights I’ll talk to at least one of my family members in Australia. This week has been particularly busy in the evenings so I missed these. I video chat with my Mum - gather the family to say hi too. Then we all settle in for takeout and a movie - The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock is a national treasure!
8:00 am: I love Saturday mornings. Sleep until 8 and take my time getting caffeinated. Read the Economist (yes the print version) and then go out for a long (slow) run.
12:00 pm: Spend the day doing chores, getting a haircut, and texting with friends. Sneak a few hours of work in.
5:00 pm: I don’t cook during the week, and even though I’m not terribly good at it - I do like to cook on the weekends. Made a huge vegetarian chili that also serves as lunch for the week ahead.
7:00 am: Up early and out the door by 8. My running keeps me sane during the week. But it’s my weekly trip to the mountains, hiking in warm weather, and skiing at Sundance during winter, that is truly a gift. Spending the day on the slopes with the family is a blessing that I will never take for granted. TBH, I’m a pretty terrible skier - just keeping up with the kids is a challenge. But such an incredible way to start a new week fresh and rejuvenated.
4:00 pm: NAP!
5:00 pm: Despite promising myself and the NYCFW crew that I’d keep a diary throughout the week - check in with my calendar and scribbled notes and write this. So grateful to this community of women who continue to drive and thrive in Fintech!
Reach out to Jane on LinkedIn.