Are you interested in FinTech? You will want to listen to this episode with Kelsey Houghton, where she provides loads of advice. Kelsey covers many topics during her chat with Seth, from diverse hiring and thinking to what it is like being a woman in the tech industry. Read the article below for advice on switching from project management to product management and navigating complex discussions about digital ethics. Listen to even more of Kelsey's great advice in the full episode!
In episode 35 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Kelsey Houghton, Chief Product Officer at Finotta, a FinTech startup that builds software to help financial institutions increase revenue while simultaneously improving the financial health of their customers.
Kelsey offers her perspective on many topics, including the difference between product and project management, digital ethics in FinTech, and the importance of diverse thought in product design. She also discusses with Seth the barriers she has faced as a woman in tech and the soft skills that can help build confidence when experiencing imposter syndrome.
Kelsey originally graduated with a sociology major and was unsure what she wanted to do with her life. She began her career in project management but quickly realized that the idea of a career in project management was depleting and lacked the creativity and excitement of creating something new. During her time in project management, she worked closely with the product and engineering teams which she found very exciting.
Kelsey later found herself in an unofficial product management role during a project where the original product person was removed from that project. She took loads of Udemy courses to help bring her up to speed since she did not have any formal coaching available to her. She realized her intense passion for product and has not looked back since.
Being a self-proclaimed personal finance fanatic, Kelsey decided she wanted to move into FinTech with a focus on product. She had been learning and growing in that direction through practical experience working with product and engineering teams at finance and technology companies. She made a move and landed in her current role by thinking about how product management would be different from project management, realizing where her passion was, and ultimately taking a risk. Here are a few key points from our conversation to help you decide if you are ready to leap.
“If you're looking to break into this industry, just don't be afraid to take risks. Opportunities come when you least expect it and I never got a product job by applying to a product job. It was through talking to people and connections.”
Working in FinTech, Kelsey has a lot of experience dealing with digital ethics since her work impacts the financial state of real people and real money. Seth and Kelsey dug into digital ethics and how to approach potential dark patterns that could come from a business request. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that digital ethics are always at the forefront of your decisions.
“A lack of diverse thinking can result in products that don't meet the needs of their target users, without people realizing it, or that could even have unintended bad consequences to users.”
What an awesome chat with Kelsey this week. It was fantastic to gain her insight into digital ethics, the landscape of building products in FinTech, and her journey from project manager to where she is today. We are grateful for all of the tips and advice she shared for everyone in product design to consider when they are approaching a new project.
Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which dives deeper into Kelsey’s advice on hiring a diverse team and her perspective on being a woman in tech! Don't forget to follow Kelsey on LinkedIn and check out what Finotta is up to as well!