SPOTLIGHT: THE WOMEN OF OPTIVER, THEIR IMPACT TO THE FIRM, AND ADVICE ON BREAKING INTO THE FINTECH WORLD
ERIN BOWEN – DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
- Describe a typical work day for you. There is no such thing as a typical day at Optiver. We just finished our year-end audits and are in process of issuing the financial statements. Overall, we’re always making sure the numbers we report internally and externally are accurate.
- How does Optiver motivate you as a woman in the finance industry? Employees are given a lot of opportunity for growth. We are all given the chance to be part of the bigger picture and to provide continuous improvement.
- What woman inspires you and why? Sheryl Sandberg – She’s really encouraged women to “lean in” and have a voice, speak with confidence and believe in our own self-worth.
- Best career advice you’ve ever received? Always be prepared. It’s hard to build trust and easy to lose, so it’s important when meeting with others to be able to ask good questions, know what problem you are trying to solve and be able to provide solutions.
NICOLE NELLUMS – SITE RELIABILITY ENGINEER
- How did you discover the world of trading? I took my first finance course during my 2nd year of college and, although it was too late for me to change my major, I knew there was a genuine interest there. After I realized I could couple technology and finance together, I was sold. Now I can’t even imagine myself in any other industry.
- How does Optiver motivate you as a woman in the fintech industry? My career (especially early on) has been a lot of “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” Optiver has always given me the opportunity to do just that. I’ve never had to pretend to be someone I’m not, or act like I know something I don’t to save face. They’ve cultivated an environment where my work is allowed to speak for itself.
- What advice would you give to women trying to break into technology fields? Have persistence, technology is a unique field in that people who are self-taught can be just as valuable as those who come from purely academic backgrounds. Immerse yourself in whatever subject matter you’re passionate about, no matter how far over your head it seems in the beginning.
LAUREN HILL – TECHNICAL OPERATIONS ANALYST
- What is your role at Optiver? I am on Optiver’s Technical Operations team. We work closely with Trading, Development, and Operations to keep a healthy balance between risk and reward in our production trading environment. Our work spans across the business and technical sides of the firm, and requires a very strong operational mindset coupled with vigilant risk awareness in everything we do. My daily responsibilities include technical change and incident management, but the majority of my time is spent on cross-team projects which involve everything from third party connectivity, to systems security and large-scale business initiatives.
- How does Optiver motivate you as a woman in the finance industry? I consider the gender gap in finance to be both a challenge and an opportunity. At Optiver, I have constant opportunities to lead, and feel confident tackling any challenge that comes my way – in a large part thanks to the driven and supportive people around me and the strong principles and purpose we all share. I feel empowered to distinguish myself by doing great work, and Optiver provides me with the autonomy I have to fully own everything I do. As someone with unceasing curiosity in an industry built on a tight feedback loop, every day is hugely rewarding to me.
- What has been your biggest learning opportunity? Externally, the industry changes swiftly, and internally we have to iterate rapidly on a daily basis. Working here has provided me the opportunity to keep up with this learning curve by honing my abilities to ask good questions, take initiative beyond my specific responsibilities, and collaborate with all the incredibly hardworking and smart people around me.