Hearing from: Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20

Home  ❯  Interview   ❯   Hearing from: Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20

5th October, 2022 Chantal Swainston No Comments

We were lucky enough to catch up with Tracey ahead of Money 20/20’s Vegas show later this month. Read more about the show’s growth, how diversity is embraced, and Tracey’s top tips for speakers…

Money 20/20 has been going since 2012, and over the last 10 years we’ve seen so much change in the industry. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen, and what’s stayed the same year on year?

Money 20/20 has always been about the future of money, and the 20/20 in our name is a nod to that clear vision for the future. Whether that comes from the main incumbent banks who are partnering and changing to keep up with customer demands, or the challengers and newcomers that are disrupting the status quo, our role is to celebrate and champion that disruption. 

We’re here to guide people through what’s coming down the line and to talk about things as they’re emerging. We were actually having conversations about crypto as early as 2012, and we’ve been watching those themes evolve and change over the years.

We’ve read quite a bit about RiseUp, are you able to share more about what that is and how it works?

So I started a program before Money20/20, in the UK retail space (somewhere that also lacked diversity at senior levels). This was called BeInspired, and the goal was similarly to give everyone in the industry, regardless of age, background, gender, race, sexual orientation or ability – the tools, inspiration, knowledge and connections needed to fulfil their career aspirations.

And so when I joined Money 20/20 I knew I wanted to do something similar. I wanted to create a program that was very tangible, and delivered results. There’s lots of meet ups and drinks events in the industry, and they’re great for networking, but I really wanted to create something that had a legacy and a mission. 

RiseUp is like an accelerator program for ambitious women. And ‘ambitious’ within that can range, from wanting to be in the boardroom, or wanting to move 2 levels up, but it’s about bringing women together. For us, the power is in the cohort, there’s about 30-35 women in each group, and the 2019 Asia cohort are still speaking daily in their Whatsapp group.

Over 300 women have been through the program. It’s a small cohort, but building the strength of that group has so much long term value for all involved.

“Disrupting an Industry by Disrupting Yourself” session on the Ignite stage at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas, Nevada October 24, 2021. INSIDER IMAGES FOR MONEY 20/20

What else are you doing to make sure DEI is being embraced, can you talk through any other examples of what Money 2020 does to make its events as inclusive as possible?

The main thing I’ve done is ultimately change the stage. I couldn’t possibly run something like RiseUp without making fundamental changes to the show, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come. Even now, less than 15% of the submissions we get for speaker slots come from women, whether that’s on behalf of an individual or a company. We don’t have this years’ numbers yet, but it’s just a fraction of what we want to see.

But we’ve still seen massive support from organisations bringing forward their talent to speak on our stages. And the environment has changed significantly since we were pushing at these doors in 2017. It is much better trying to source women for our events, but we all know there’s plenty of work still to do.

When I started back in 2016-7, the stages were about 11% – 15% women, and in Vegas we should be getting much closer to half (around 45-48%). We’re really proud of that progress, and it’s a team effort from everyone, organisers, sponsors, participants etc. Ultimately, you have to see it to  be it, and we have a platform we can use to support people who are all too often underrepresented.

You mentioned inclusivity more broadly, can you share a bit more on that?

Absolutely, it’s not just looking at gender diversity, it’s all forms of inclusivity – we need to be better at sourcing and promoting speakers from different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds.

We’re as intentional and considerate about how we find those speakers as well as women, and we’re working to improve.You have to start somewhere, and we really think about who walks out on our stages. You will see the most diverse show in Europe this year, and then Vegas, and we’re really proud of that.

Of course, we’re not perfect, and if you set yourself up and say you’re diverse, then you open yourself up to criticism. But we are doing our very best to put diverse and inclusive voices out on the stages, and we try to showcase the very best in the industry. That’s the power and platform we have, and we try to use that as well as we can.

At The Heard, public speaking and bringing women and non-binary people into the spotlight is a big focus for us. As a frequent public speaker yourself, what are your best tips for delivering great speeches / panels in the fintech industry?

You will always be nervous! You will never not be nervous! It’s a very unusual personality who wouldn’t be a bit apprehensive about speaking in front of a few thousand people. My number one advice is to just do it. Stop thinking about it and talking about it, just get out there and do it in spite of the fear. Everyone else is nervous – so don’t let it hold you back.

Number two, prepare well. I am fastidious about rehearsing. I will never walk out on a stage unprepared, and making sure you feel confident in your content means you can focus more on your delivery.

And number three I think is to put yourself forward. Very rarely will your first opportunity just land in your lap, so what’s your strategy for securing it? Some people think it feels arrogant to put themselves forward, or a bit conceited… but truly it is not. Conference organisers work all day to find fresh voices – so apply! Find out who is running the content program and reach out to them. Nine times out of ten they’ll come back, and they might not have something right away, but they could in the future. Really, what’s the worst that can happen?

And as an organiser, what do you look for in speakers and panellists? Do you have any examples of great performances and why they worked?

For Money 20/20, we’re always looking for something fresh and inspiring. Audiences are very savvy, and they know when they’re hearing corporate lines, so speakers that give a bit ‘more’ always land well. Over the years we’ve had so many brilliant speakers (300+) that I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite.

But I’m always on the lookout for something unique, talking points with a strong personal view in it are always a great source of content. We love to hear the unvarnished truth. Not all speakers are up for that, but I do find it makes the best sessions.

*You can find out more about Money 20/20 and buy your ticket for the next event here. Money 20/20 begins in Vegas from 23rd-26th October 2022.

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