We had the pleasure of interviewing Maria Lucas, the Chief Financial Officer of Castles Technology, on International Women’s Day.
Check out her captivating interview!
What inspired you to pursue a career in finance?
I have always been interested in the world of finance and business, as I find it fascinating how money flows through the economy and impacts all of society. After completing my education in finance, I began my career in ANZ Banking Group in Australia and then transitioned to the payment industry. I was attracted to the very dynamic nature of this industry, with rapid advances in technology and changing consumer behaviors driving innovations and growth. An industry that we all use and do not fully appreciate its importance. POS is enabling us to pay for goods and services using banking cards. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the adoption of contactless payment options which has sparked more curiosity and interest in the technology behind point-of-sale devices.
As a female Chief Financial Officer in a male-dominated industry, what challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
As Chief Financial Officer, I have faced various challenges throughout my career, such as being underestimated, having to work harder to prove myself, and encountering implicit biases. However, I have overcome these obstacles by being persistent, speaking up when necessary, and building strong relationships with colleagues who support me. I also believe in the importance of seeking out sponsors who can provide guidance and advocate for my professional growth.
What do you think are the most important skills for success in the payment industry and how have you developed them over time?
In an industry where new developments are emerging fast, we need to constantly adapt, knowledge is fundamental, but we need to constantly learn to expand our knowledge base and this is the most important skill we need to know, Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” This will help you face everything else in business.
What initiatives do you think Castles Technology can take to support the advancement of women and how have you personally contributed to these efforts?
Castles Technology supports the advancement of women by promoting diversity and inclusion, hiring women at key responsibilities (I am a key example) providing sponsorship programs and providing equal opportunities for career advancement, offering training and development possibilities, offering flexible work arrangements. Personally, I have contributed to these efforts by hiring women in my team, giving equal chances for advancement and promotion in the EMEA region and by promoting collaboration and communication. And I am enormously proud of such achievements within Castles Technology.
What do you enjoy most about working at Castles Technology?
What I most enjoy about working at Castles Technology is the feeling of being in a global team, the diversity and cultures, the different way people want to grow and make things better, the growing pains, the enthusiasm, and how to keep encouraging everyone to keep feeling like this is the challenge that I as a Director face every day.
What do you think the future of payment activity will look like and how do you see yourself contributing to this future?
The future of payment activity is likely to continue to evolve rapidly, with increased adoption of digital payments, the rise of android technology for POS, and the development of new payment technologies. As EMEA CFO, I see myself contributing to this future by staying up to date with the latest industry trends, collaborating with experts in the field and continuously seeking out innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our clients.
What advice would you give to women who want to work in the finance/or the payment industry?
The advice I would give to women in the workplace is to be humble, empathetic and be a hard and logical worker, which has made me a pragmatic person that is highly valued in the payment industry. One more thing, that we seem to forget when we are at the top, don’t forget how you got here and treat everyone accordingly.