Women in Open Banking mentoring pair discuss opening up horizons and sharing experiences

Ellie Duncan,
06 Dec 2023

Wasim Mushtaq, interim chief operating officer at CFIT, and Krista Novakova, business development manager, Open Banking and InterConnect at Equifax, revealed how they have navigated their roles as mentor and mentee, respectively.

They were speaking during a Fireside Chat on the Women in Open Banking Stage at Open Banking Expo UK and Europe on 18 October.

Mushtaq and Novakova were paired as part of the first cohort of Women in Open Banking’s mentoring scheme, in association with American Express.

Wasim Mushtaq

CFIT’s Wasim Mushtaq

“My role as mentor to Krista is [to] allocate time to her. I listen to her, I don’t judge – I’m someone she can confide in, whether it’s something happening in business, or something she wants to do or explore,” said Mushtaq.

“My job is to understand what’s her motivation, what’s her rationale, and has she thought about x, y, z? It’s to get her into a growth mindset, that’s my role as a mentor.”

However, Mushtaq told delegates that he doesn’t view it as “a hierarchical system” and that a mentee is someone who has had “perhaps less experience than me in a specific field and it’s my job to share some of the experiences that I’ve had”.

Novakova explained her route into mentorship came about as a result of losing her job in hospitality during Covid, which came “at a cost” given that she had to start at “the bottom of the ladder”.

Krista Novakova

Equifax’s Krista Novakova

“I wanted to open up my horizons, I wanted to grow my confidence and, last but not least, I wanted to have a safe environment to ask stupid questions,” she said.

“I ended up in a job in the Open Banking world, but I was up against people who had 16 years of experience in that field.”

During the Fireside Chat, ‘Mentorship and sponsorship: Leaving the ladder down for the next generation of female leaders”, Novakova emphasised that mentoring will look different for everyone.

“It is really about your experience and, as a mentee, you need to be able to formulate what you want out of that,” she added.

Mushtaq said: “The role of mentor/mentee is an honour and it’s a responsibility, and you have to earn it. People talk about, in fintech, you have to earn the right for the customer to trust you. I feel like that’s across the board.”

Find out the results of the Open Banking Expo Women in Open Banking industry survey, conducted in partnership with American Express.