Roxanne began her career in Canada where she built new business models and blueprint-free services to increase a company’s profitability. In this role, she participated in the launch of a car-sharing company (car2go) for Mercedes-Benz in North America and introduced the first mobile TV app. She then moved on to help large organizations structure themselves to adopt an innovative mindset and helped clients like L’Oréal and Amorepacific to shift from being product to tech companies. This required advising on operational changes and collaborating with startups. It was also during this time that Roxanne decided to move to Paris. Despite cultural differences and other uncertainties that came with moving to a new city, the decision to move allowed Roxanne to define the life she wanted and ended up being the most formidable years of her career. She now encourages those hesitating to take a similar leap of faith to go for it.
After several years of working abroad with large companies, Roxanne returned to Canada and applied the same operational efficiency learnings to building successful innovative companies and early-stage startups. She joined leading pre-seed and seed funds with the condition of being able to study ways to close the gender gap in VC. After over 300 hours of research, Roxanne realized that much of the stagnancy in the market is due to many conversations left unsaid and hard-to-shift power dynamics. Roxanne’s research prompted her to launch Cap Inclusive, which works with finance and investment firms to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
Cap Inclusive is a consulting firm that provides inclusion audits and workshops. The company has a proprietary model that identifies misalignment among a firm’s Purpose, Practices and Perceptions. Cap Inclusive team meets with the company leadership team to identify priorities, audit processes and policies, and interview employees and stakeholders to find misalignment between intention and action. Cap Inclusive’s culture is based on transparency (all operations are shared with the entire team), solution-driven (there is no place for finger-pointing), and courageous conversations (employees create spaces to have the hard conversations others would usually avoid).
Roxanne points to two women in particular who accelerated the success of her company. One made Roxanne realize she was the person in the best position to solve the issue of inclusion in finance, and the other gave Roxanne her first platform to share her thesis with the world. These women also instilled confidence in Roxanne that she had what it took to be an entrepreneur. Having struggled with legitimizing her credibility and managerial authority in the past due to her young age, this support was critical. Now as a founder and CEO, Roxanne refuses to place such age-related stereotypes or stigmas on her teams. Roxanne’s team is very young yet client-facing, and she is proud that they take on full responsibility and are well compensated.
Across the industry, Roxanne is seeing a growing need, particularly among firms looking to work with public organizations, for aligning with higher standards of inclusion. For instance, the Canadian government now requires the availability of additional opportunities to groups that are severely and historically underrepresented from the firms they partner with. This places additional pressure on FinTech startups that have B2G models to implement DEI programs. Roxanne’s team works with purpose-driven FinTech founders who understand the industry is very male and white dominant and who want to change the status quo. Cap Inclusive’s expertise and services ensure companies’ values are reflected in business operations, as well as hiring and promotion processes.
More on Roxanne
Where you currently live: Montreal, Canada
Family at home: Brooklyn, our Goldendoodle
Favorite hobby: Hiking
Favorite show to binge: Dear Child
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
Never stay in a workplace that doesn’t value your growth and fights for you when you’re not in the room. There are so many hurdles for women in the workplace, the worst thing you could do would be to stay somewhere where your managers are not making themselves accountable for seeing you succeed.
What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?
The best piece of advice I could give for anyone working on driving social change at scale would be: Whenever you get into a conversation, identify whether the person in front of you is ready to be convinced and influenced, or if today is a day for collecting information. I was once younger and convinced that if I was right and had data to support it, it would evidently lead to convincing the person in front of me. I now am working on being more patient and aware that changing mindsets can take years.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Talking to other founders has been a tremendous source of motivation to keep going. Being an entrepreneur is challenging, and you need to be comfortable with working hard with no one ever telling you you’re doing a good job. For a data-driven/performance review addict like myself, that transition was hard and being able to count on the insights and encouragement of other founders has made a tremendous impact on my mental health.
8:30 am - 9:30 am: Yoga and walk dog, Brooklyn
9:30 am - 10:00 am: Team scrum meetings
10:00 am - 12:00 pm: Intro calls, client meetings
12:00 - 1:00 pm: Lunch and walk Brooklyn
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Underrepresented investor office hours to help those getting into VC
2:00 - 5:00 pm: Focus time on audits
5:00 - 6:00 pm: Canadian Women in VC board meeting
6:00 - 8:00 pm: Emails and networking events