- Elsie Russell
FinTech Female Fridays: Meet the SVP, Product, at SavvyMoney, Bhavna Guglani
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
"Your career is always a sum of the many decisions you’ve taken and they all contribute to where you get to."
Bhavna Guglani is right. A career is not linear and her career has definitely taken a path full of calculated risks.
Bhavna went from a long career at traditional financial service firms like Citibank, GE Capital, and HSBC to a long maternity leave to business school at INSEAD to being the #4 employee at a pre-revenue start-up. While most go to b-school before kids, Bhavna time at INSEAD helped her re-skill, re-connect, and re-commit to her career after a 3 year break to raise her kids. Even her time at SaavyMoney was wrought with good twist and turns with funding droughts to then being the category leader in financial solutions for the credit unions.
As the head of product at Savvy Money, Bhavna always puts the customer first. She's particularly excited and proud of initiating a process that involved rapid prototyping early on to iterate during the ideation phase of product development. This allowed the company to visualize solutions sooner, and evaluate the efficacy of features or tools much earlier in the process.
Investing in women is one of Bhavna's passions. She nurtures the Fintech entrepreneurial ecosystem as an investor and mentors more women to play a leadership role in Fintech. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, she uses her global rolodex to help budding entrepreneurs get access to decision makers at Financial Institutions and shares her experience building processes, products and teams.
More on Bhavna
Where you currently live: Austin, TX.
Living arrangement: I live with my husband and dog, Donna, who is a mutt. My twin daughters are sophomores in college.
Family at home: As above.
Hometown: I grew up in India, lived in different countries early in my career, and have called Austin home for the last 10 years.
Favorite hobby: I love to read. I also enjoy swimming, kayaking, and hiking around the green belts in Austin.
Favorite part of your day: I love early mornings with coffee in my hand and the sun on my back.
Favorite show to binge: I most recently binge-watched Squid Game with my eyes half closed! I can watch Schitts’ Creek on repeat and still delight in discovering nuances I did not notice before.
6.00 am CST - Fighting the Monday morning rush at the Austin airport for a 6.30am flight to San Francisco.
9.00 am PST: I am attending a panel discussion with the Deputy Dean of Insead, the business school I attended 15 years ago. Insead has opened a hub - a place for international ideas to be shared, incubated and exposed to the US’s silicon valley culture - in San Francisco, and I have been invited to share my views about how to promote it. I enjoy this panel not only because bringing international and an immigrant’s perspective to the Silicon Valley is dear to my heart but also because I am meeting the Deputy Dean 15 years after I sat in his strategy class!
12.00 pm: BART to the SavvyMoney office in Pleasanton in the East Bay after lunch. San Francisco has a surreal quiet to it - no one is back in office yet - but East Bay’s buzz is coming back.
1.30 pm: Weekly senior executive meeting.
3.30 pm: 2 back to back interviews for open positions in my team. Doing interviews over zoom has been interesting. It is crazy that the hiring process can be run entirely without meeting the candidate in person. It has been effective and allowed us to hire from across the country.
6.00 pm: Exercise and wind down at the hotel
Since I usually start my day at 8.30am in Austin, TX, so unless I have a late night, 6.30am is when my day in Pleasanton, CA will start all of this week! I find that more effective.
7.00 am: Call with the first of the offshore teams in Europe. We recently launched a new analytics product and I have been coaching the team in building a discipline of weekly sprints and regular communication..
8.00 am: Call with the second offshore team in India. I prefer to schedule no more than 30 mins for calls unless they are working sessions or need immediate resolution.
9.30 am: SavvyMoney is hosting all remote employees at their Pleasanton office this week. I meet some members of my team for the first time. They were hired remotely during Covid and this is their first visit, and meeting the larger team in person.
11.00 am: 1x1 with a direct report from the product team
1.00 pm: Product working session, but in person and using the physical whiteboards for a change!
3.00 pm: Touch base with a client partner to discuss
3.30 pm: 1x1 with a direct report from the compliance team
6.30 pm: The product team goes out for drinks and dinner in the quaint and festive Danville downtown.