The WFE's Women Leaders 2022 - Berta Ares Lomban, General Manager, Financial Information Inntech Solutions, Six Group
Member: SIX Group
Nominee’s name: Berta Ares Lomban
Nominee’s job title: General Manager, Financial Information Inntech Solutions
1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job:
Since 2019 I have been general manager of BME InnTech, subsidiary company of BME which is now a part of Financial Information Business at SIX, and member of the BME Management Committee.
At SIX, I am committed to leading the innovation area with a special focus on digital assets, ESG and data science as part of the Financial Information Business unit.
BME Inntech offers open architecture solutions that facilitate financial services related to data, innovation, and new technologies.
In my role as general manager, I have had extensive experience designing the strategy, business development and product management, as well as thriving for state-of-the-art technology and leading teams of up to 200 people. My role also includes expanding our services and tools across the European and Latin America.
2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):
Before STEM profiles were more common amongst women, I chose to become a telecommunications engineer from Madrid Polytechnic University and later I earned an International Executive MBA from La Salle University. I also have more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector and I have always worked in transformational projects with a high technological component.
Throughout my career, I have held different roles of high responsibility as CIT or head of business development. I have also held transversal roles, such as creating and leading the BME PMO (Project Management Office) or as head of innovation at BME Group where I worked towards promoting innovation labs for new technologies such as Blockchain, data analytics and artificial intelligence.
I truly believe that teamwork and open and collaborative approaches are the way to go for providing ambitious business models that ultimately add value to society.
I am a mother to two intense teenagers, and although I spend a lot of time holding “diplomatic discussions” with them, I love spending time reading novels, traveling as much as I can and enjoying the theatre and music because, at heart, I am a rocker.
3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021 (ie why should you be on this list):
2021 has been, by far, one of the most challenging and demanding years lately, and clearly my major achievement has been the approval of the first fully DLT-based marketplace for start-ups seeking financing on the first round of the Spanish financial sandbox. This sandbox is a public-private collaborative initiative aimed at offering a test ground for projects to transform the SME ecosystem. I am particularly proud of my unit and my team in this venture because it was the first project of these characteristics in the Spanish financial ecosystem.
I am also very satisfied with the launch of the new data Innovation area at SIX, with a special focus on ESG, analytics and digital assets.
During a time of continuous change in the industry and everywhere else, leading and adapting the business has been another milestone for me. I developed an aligned strategy and a shared purpose together with SIX Group while we successfully completed the technological update of the services without any deviations, and still managed to increase our client base.
These fulfilments have encompassed some tough decisions; I needed flexibility to manage very different stakeholders in a stressful environment where leadership and quite a dose of personal resilience have been fundamental elements throughout this period.
4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success:
“Be brave and fight for glory.” This is what I tell my daughter.
My parents and their high sense of responsibility and honesty are without a doubt my main source of inspiration and admiration. These values are what I try to pass on to my children and all the people that I work with; getting into new topics, building something from scratch, taking risks and putting all my passion into new projects are my way of making those inspirations a reality and I hope it will lead to setting a good standard for the next generations.
I am firm believer in teamwork. Others’ perspectives always bring fresh ideas and new ways of looking at challenges, and I consider myself very fortunate to work with very powerful teams, with more and more women in them, even for an industry traditionally dominated by men, that have taught me a lot.
Throughout my career I have also encountered bosses who have trusted me and my abilities and so many colleagues who gave me support and fun. I am an activist of female talent and I feel motivated every time I come across a talented woman from whom I can learn.
I try to use this inspiration as a driver for performing my best at my job, to transform a rather traditional business by leveraging new models and technology to deliver state-of-the-art and sustainable services to all our customers. At the end of the day, it is about leaving things even better than we found them.
5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:
Contrary to all the usual paths, my career is not the result of a careful design and a rigorous execution, but many of the changes have been the result of curiosity, willingness to do new things and making the most of the opportunities that crossed my path. The new environments are, as some like to call them, VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, but it is paramount to get involved, to learn from difficulties and from mistakes too, and to not be afraid to stand out or being off what is considered standard.
Knowledge and skills are better learnt by experience, so my piece of advice here is to never let anything or anyone keep you from experiencing and growing.
It's dizzying to get into completely new topics, scary to fail and not easy to make tough decisions... but you know what? It's always worth it to take challenges and much more fun.
We should take risks, find our own way to contribute and do our bit to try and change the world.
The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.