Friends of attract: Jess Joyce from Fu

By Colleen Gao |

TLDR: Stay humble, work hard and give without expectations.

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to showcase a special lady who has achieved some seriously cool things – so who better to interview than Jess Joyce, Chief Operating Officer of Fu! ?

Jess, why did you start Fu? ⚡️

Before Fu, I had worked in virtually every crevice of the traditional finance industry and one day I did a financial plan for myself and had a “holy sh!t moment” when I realized that I needed to make $1.1 million dollars more to live the life I wanted.

And I thought to myself,

I know this because I work in this industry, but what about all the other young people who don’t have the same financial literacy as I do?

On top of that, priorities are different when you’re younger and everyone seems to find themselves conflicted between saving money and living their best lives.

So, I wanted to create a tool to help Millennials get a handle on where they are with their cash flow and learn how to make decisions that are right for them, based on where they are at.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

As COO, I am involved in every facet of the business from onboarding a new team member to actually working on the product which I love, because I get to constantly learn new things.

Sounds busy. How do you manage it all? ⏰

As a founder, your job is effectively to problem solve. All day, every day. One of the key things that you learn is that there are always a lot of problems to solve and so time becomes your most valuable asset and your biggest challenge.

“You have to be very deliberate and work out what you are able to achieve in that time and aggressively attack those tasks. I think it’s important to be honest with your priorities and to work out strategies that work for you.”

For me, as I am constantly in contact with people in my role, I try to work at home one day a week if I can to be able to regain focus on what I need to get done and so when I am back in the office, I can dedicate my mindset and energy towards my team, ensuring I’m present and not half tuned in worrying about other work waiting for me at my desk when I get back.

One thing I highly recommend is finding someone who you are able to be super honest with and totally fall apart in front of without being judged.

“It’s so important to have someone to be your outlet because we’re not bulletproof and sometimes you just need to be vulnerable.”

Generally speaking, the fintech industry and startup space is predominately dominated by males. Why do you think this is the case? ?‍♂️?‍♀️

I believe there’s a huge misconception around what kind of person you need to be in order to work in either the Fintech or startup industry.

I think one of the common myths is that you have to be super logical and be strong in mathematics and programming whereas I think for a lot of females, their strengths lay in creative and soft skills.

People need to understand that all businesses and organizations need a mix of both skill-sets.

Another reason why I think the startup industry is predominantly male-dominated is that there is a higher level of risk involved. I think for a lot of females we think about risk with our hearts and not our heads.

For me, if I am about to take a risk, I think about all the people that I will impact and all the things that could go wrong rather than thinking about whether or not the reward will outweigh the risk.

Fortunately, more and more women are getting involved in the startup space which then demonstrates to other women that all you need is a little confidence to give it a go.

How do you gain that confidence?

When I was first starting out in my career, I experienced imposter syndrome where I thought everyone was doubting me and my abilities so I worked extra hard to prove to them that I could do the job.

“I thought that other people didn’t believe in how good I was and over time, I came to realise that was an issue in me and how I perceived myself.”

When I changed my mentality, all of those walls started to dissipate. By letting go of the things that I couldn’t control and developing a true sense of self-worth, I became confident in who I am.

You’re all about building rockstar teams. What is your strategy when it comes to sourcing great talent? What is your approach to building diverse teams? ??

To ensure we are building diverse teams, we’ve redefined our hiring process.

Instead of hiring purely based on skillsets, we look for individuals who are a great cultural fit, have a strong growth mindset and can come into the business and generating value.

By hiring for culture rather than skills, we’ve been able to broaden our reach and attract talent we usually wouldn’t have. It increases candidate confidence to apply for jobs that they may not meet 100% of the criteria but if they’re the type of person that fulfills Fu’s values, then we can help them bridge the skills gap.

We’ve also abolished formal interviews. We find by having casual coffee chats instead, candidates are far more comfortable and helps foster genuine connection.

As a woman working in an executive role, what’s your advice for those who aspire to a similar career?

“Have the confidence to step outside of your comfort zone and apply for roles that you are not 100% qualified for but you know that you can grow into.”

As women, we’re often prone to only applying for jobs that we know we can do which is limiting in so many ways.

“Something I realized as I moved up in the corporate ladder was that the higher you go, the less people actually know what they’re doing.”

But instead, they have this tenacious ability to grapple with what they don’t know and work their way through those problems until they get to a solution. They become super comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Whenever you come across the unknown, embrace it and take it as an opportunity to learn something new. That becomes a very powerful skill to have.

What are your top three values that have contributed to your success? ?

1️⃣ Stay humble.

If you’re arrogant, you won’t succeed, no matter how smart you are.

2️⃣ Work hard.

If you’re not working hard and you’re expecting your career will gravitate into stratospheric heights, it’s not going to happen. If you want something, you have to work hard for it.

3️⃣ Give without expectations.

I’ve come across so many people who give but feel entitled and expect something back. Chances are, if you’re giving with expectations, the return is never what you expect it to be. I found that as soon as I started giving without expectations, my life got a whole lot simpler and then when something amazing did come my way, it was extra sweet!

Hungry for more?

We also chatted with Kim Teo at Mr Yum about building diverse and inclusive teams.

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