Monica is a dynamic Fintech entrepreneur passionate about delivering solutions that create change in people’s financial lives. Her expertise is product development, customer experience and bringing the best out of teams.

Monica joined BigPay with the vision to build the first South East Asian challenger bank. Prior to BigPay, she started her Fintech journey in Tandem Bank, one of the pioneer challenger banks in London. Her experience in retail and development banks, payment schemes, corporate and startup environments, as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia has allowed her to develop a diverse and unique perspective and style.

She holds a Masters degree in Information Systems from the London School of Economics and has a background in Industrial Engineering. She is the host of Celebrate You! – the personal development podcast for the career and entrepreneurial woman.

What’s the story of your career so far?

I was very lucky that since my very first job I started in Product, and I loved it. My career started in a Development Bank in Mexico, I then moved to London to study my masters in LSE and what was supposed to be a one year adventure turned into nine! The first half of my career was in traditional retail banking – both in Payment Schemes and Banks. That gave me strong foundations to understand how the banking system works. Years later I was blessed with a rare opportunity to join a founding team to start a new bank from scratch; a good bank! – Tandem Bank; my first Fintech love and the beginning of my career in Fintech and entrepreneurial journey. What seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity became a life changing opportunity. Few years after starting in Tandem another blessing came up. I moved to Malaysia and joined BigPay as part of the founding team to start another challenger bank, this time a South East Asia one – where the Fintech market was almost non-existent, the timing was right, and the risk was very high! I called this move the #theasianadventure. For the past ten years I’ve also had an alternative career in coaching and all things personal development; my latest project is Celebrate You! – The personal development podcast for the career and entrepreneurial woman. You can find me on Spotify here:

What do you love most about what you do?

I love starting things from scratch – I like building and connecting ecosystems in my brain and creating new mental models of the world – from the vision, to the detail, to the hands on, to seeing it live! I also love knowing that my work has direct impact in millions of people’s financial lives – what I love the most is the fulfillment and fun of working on a big challenge with smart and driven people. Finally, I’m a people’s person, so I love bringing teams together, talking to customers, and understanding the psychology behind customers and products.

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2020 amidst all the Covid-19 disruption?

It is difficult to choose just one! 2020 was an interesting year for all of us – regardless of age, race, background or economic status. That was the biggest reminder: we are all humans and we are here to enjoy life and build beautiful relationships and experiences; not to build a career doing something we don’t care about. On a personal level, I focused on seeing, acknowledging, and accepting the light and the dark in me, the “good” and the “bad” – I’ve learnt that the more we accept ourselves fully, the more we accept others too; overall, self acceptance makes us kinder human beings.

As far as you can predict, what’s on the cards this year for you and your business?

Oh fun, fun, fun — lots of projects to work on! As a startup the first few years are very exciting and there is always scope for growth. Whether that is launching new product features, growing our numbers, or engaging better with customers; there is always something interesting and challenging to work on that will have impact on both, customers and the business.

If you could go back and do it all over again, would you choose a different career path and why?

Absolutely not! I didn’t really know where I was heading when I was working in retail banking. I took a risk joining Tandem and that gave me the opportunity to learn from amazing entrepreneurs and exposure on how to build a bank. I took a bigger risk with BigPay, and that led to a role building a new bank from scratch – in South East Asia! – and a ton of personal growth. So despite of the ups and downs and all the challenges, I would do it all over again; maybe this time smarter haha

Be Kaler Pilgrim


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