Caroline Farley is an innovative co-founder of the largest fintech meetings event with a passion for the tech world.
Take the chance. Your instinct is usually right. There are never failures, just adjustments.
After receiving her BA from James Madison University and her MPA from Georgia State University, she discovered her passion for the startup tech world. In addition to co-founding the biggest and best US fintech event, Caroline is also the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of Personatech and former Chief Growth Officer of industry leading events, including Shoptalk & Groceryshop. She is driven by reinventing traditional industries and building meaningful partnerships.
Not only is she grill master, she is also a dog mom-extraordinaire to Georgie and Lucy. We had the pleasure of learning more about Caroline and Fintech Meetup in this month’s community profile including favorite moments of her career, lessons learned, and sage advice for anyone wanting to advance their career.
Tell us a little bit about Fintech Meetup.
Fintech Meetup is the world’s largest fintech meetings event. We use proprietary technology to connect individuals and organizations from the payments, banking and financial services community for partnership discussions, vendor presentations, investment pitches, media/analyst interviews, recruiting introductions and other meaningful collaboration. The tens of thousands of meetings we facilitate each year help catalyze fintech innovation.
Who were some of your influences in creating the world’s largest financial technology meetings event?
Simply put, we believe the combination of digitization and virtualization will result in an omnichannel future, with face-to-face events existing both online and offline in perfect harmony.
Our mission is to develop software that solves the network effect on which events depend, and that helps individuals and organizations connect and communicate with each other so they can reach their full potential. We do this by focusing on the complete lifecycle, personas and dynamics of all stakeholders within defined retail communities to deliver high value face-to-face professional interactions.
We are a tech company at heart. Tech that enables events which is the key to building communities. Whether it be online or offline, we want to be the conduit to creating meaningful interactions that result in real results.
Finance has historically been a male-dominated field. Do you think this has affected the way you run your company? And, if so, how?
And it still is! I treat everyone I interact with with equal respect and expect it in return. Industries that are male-dominated are a byproduct of generational education and access to opportunities. I like to work with other women in a two-sided mentorship, where both parties learn from each other simultaneously. We challenge each other and work through negotiation skills, board room tactics, etc. With this model, women can empower each other to not just make a splash, but make waves.
When hiring, I look for the absolute best candidates with the highest potential. Not those with the best resume or most skills.
Lastly, if I feel I am being treated differently because I am a woman in any situation, whether business or social, I address it immediately. If someone doesn’t respect me as an equal in any situation, I choose not to engage and sometimes that means not working with them, which is OK.
What is something you learned early in your career (or in a previous career) that you still use today?
Stay true to your word. At the end of each day, I am the only person that I have to answer to and can control my actions and feelings. Each and every day I want to be able to look in the mirror and know that no matter what, I was honest, delivered on my promises, and remained true to myself. I also do not let others dictate how I should feel. I stand behind my decisions, admit when I am wrong, and remain open to criticism.
Tell us about a favorite moment in your career?
It was probably the closing of the sale of my first company. It made me realize what you can accomplish when you’re passionate about something and align your values to what you do day-to-day.
It also brought light to the fact that life is short and gave me the opportunity to step back for a bit and recalibrate so I could reflect on what I wanted my future to look like and how I spent my time. This is when my co-founders and I conceptualized Meetup which completely disrupted the events industry.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I spend as much time with my family, my husband, and our rescue lab/mix, Georgia, who will soon be joined by her new sister Lucy. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook, especially grilling. I grill a mean steak!
Do you have a favorite NYC moment or place?
Governors Island. Incredible views of the city, easy and quick escape from the hustle and bustle and I love the oyster bar 🙂
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to do what you do?
Take the chance. Your instinct is usually right. There are never failures, just adjustments. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Finally, focus on getting 80% of it right…the 20% will follow.
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