Nathalie Chamaa, Chief Strategy Officer FlexxPay, talks about her journey so far and the future of her career in technology.
Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
I would say that one of the leadership strategies that I follow is focused on bringing together the right group of people and cultivating their skills, strengths and talents. Its important to appreciate and maximize the unique set of skills and passions that everyone brings to the table. If you get the people right, the success will follow.
I also believe in fostering a culture that encourages education, transparency, teamwork and hard work. I try to create achievable goals with the team and motivate them to achieve these targets. When everyone shares a common vision, they feel emotionally invested to work hard and reach their goals.
What prompted you to consider a career in technology?
I was thrown into it completely by accident nearly 10 years ago. My first job was working for a mobile payments company in Lebanon as a Business Analyst. Coming from a business background, I grew my technical knowledge on the job. Ever since then, I’ve developed a passion working in a ground-breaking industry that is constantly changing and evolving.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
I would say that playing a part in designing new and exciting solutions and empowering my female colleagues along the way are some of the best things about being a woman in this industry. I’ve seen firsthand how my female colleagues have grown and the impact that they now make in the company.
It’s never boring and I love seeing how our efforts create positive results for the business. This boosts the confidence levels of the team, particularly the women, when seeing how their work is instrumental in the overall success of the company.
Do you feel you have had to work harder than male colleagues to advance your career?
I work hard in general not just because of my gender, but also because the technology industry is a perpetually challenging space and it’s important to always be on your toes.
In the end, a good company culture makes all the difference. I am lucky enough to have worked in companies that value and promote gender equality. I’ve never been treated differently because I am a woman, and I have been given incredible opportunities to grow in my career. I know that if I worked hard enough, I was always rewarded.
What motivates you every day?
I love what I do. Some days are harder than others, so it’s important that you take on a job that you truly enjoy and that provides you with a sense of self-fulfillment.
I find it very inspiring to be part of a cutting-edge industry and working with problem solvers who are using their exceptional talent to build amazing tools and solutions that address genuine market needs. That’s one of the perks of this business; having the opportunity to create a positive impact with every new product, feature and enhancement you release.
What is the best professional advice you have ever received?
Two pieces of advice come to mind. The first one being: never stop learning. The second one: always work hard, because your managers and colleagues constantly need to be reminded of your value.
What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
I was recently promoted to CSO at my current company, and it’s been an exciting ride so far. We are doing so much in helping companies create a more productive and stress-free working environment by improving the financial wellbeing of their staff. I know that we can do so much more to disrupt this sector and I am excited to see where FlexxPay will take me.
As part of my journey at FlexxPay, I also hope to give more opportunities to women in our tech and product departments.
What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
There are a number of technologies that I see disrupting the industry in the near future. To highlight just a few, I would say that there will be a continued focus on AI, automation and machine learning. Their applications are numerous, from improving customer experience to optimizing the back-office as well as developing new products. Although we are not seeing enough companies implement AI and ML in their businesses, these data-based technologies will continue to be one of the most transformative tools in the industry.
The transformation of money such as cryptocurrency, NFTs and blockchain technology are continuing to expand, whether we like it or not.
What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of digital technology?
Always find ways to keep learning. Ask questions and do not feel intimidated if something feels too challenging. Learning should be a life-long commitment to yourself both personally and professionally. Since tech is an industry that is always evolving at lightning-fast pace – making sure you keep your skills updated will help you stay ahead. The more knowledge you acquire, the more confident and adaptable you become.
Can you offer few tips on achieving work-life balance in today’s scenario?
In today’s fast-paced work environment, it can be challenging to balance your personal and professional life. There’s always a lot of work to be done and it’s not uncommon to neglect making time for yourself. It’s important to always be mindful of the things you want to achieve personally, and not just for work.
If things start to feel overwhelming, try to plan ahead. Set your priorities, focus on the key tasks and exclude ones that have little or no value to you. When you implement a proper time-management approach, you’ll be able to increase your productivity at the office which can then provide you with more free time outside of work. As a rule, I try to squeeze in about 1 -2 personal activities during the workweek. On the weekend, try to unplug completely. You’ll need a break from the weekly grind to focus on your own personal goals and interests. Ultimately, a good work-life balance not only lowers the risk of burning out but can also promote a more productive working approach that will allow you to excel.