Education

The Women in Fintech series: In conversation with Saskia Van Kalsbeek

Feb 17, 2021

Saskia’s unfettered determination and the support of her team are what drive her to ‘find her own path’ within the fintech sector.

The Women in Fintech series: In conversation with Saskia Van Kalsbeek

Saskia Van Kalsbeek is one of those rare people who exude charisma and confidence from the moment you meet them. Her self-assured nature has driven her to ‘find her own path’ – both personally and professionally – by seeking out opportunities for growth and development.

Moving to London

Since moving from the Netherlands to London to work at Funding Options, she’s never turned away from a challenge. 

Within just two and a half years, Saskia progressed from Junior Business Development Representative to Senior Finance Specialist, and has recently taken her post as our Head of Commercial and Sales. 

Saskia van Kalsbeek, Head of Commercial and Sales at Funding Options Nederland

Saskia van Kalsbeek, Head of Commercial and Sales at Funding Options Nederland

While she notes that “it can be pretty intimidating when you’re young dealing with older, more senior men within a business”, she hasn’t experienced overt prejudice or discrimination because of her gender. 

Interestingly, when Saskia joined Funding Options she was “the only female” in her team. “At the beginning there were some typical male jokes but the team were like, ‘no, no, we have to tone it down because we have Saskia here as well’”. 

Saskia was pleased her male colleagues were mindful of the gender imbalance. “Their awareness of the fact that I was the only female was quite nice, because you see that they want to look after you and make sure you're comfortable in any  situation”.

“People want to look after you and make sure you're comfortable in the situation.”

Life at Funding Options

It’s evident that Saskia has been able to  thrive from the very beginning of her Funding Options journey. After working as a business finance specialist for a while, Saskia remembers “wanting to do something else, to do something more”. 

“My senior leaders gave me the space to grow and asked me: ‘well, what do you want to do’? 

Being able to freely express herself with her senior leadership team played a key part in facilitating her professional development. As Saskia says: “the fact I can contribute and that the ideas I share are embraced instead of being pushed back gives me even more confidence to think outside of the box!”

“I think Funding Options gives you good space to develop and grow.”

“I think Funding Options gives you good space to develop and grow. I think especially with my own journey in the Dutch team,  I could really create the path I was walking on because there wasn't a blueprint or anything set up.”

On becoming a senior leader

Having the space to express herself freely is one of the things that has enabled Saskia to become a senior leader herself. 

As we’ve said before, our industry still has a way to go in rectifying gender imbalances. However, it’s always important to remember that many businesses have made great strides in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. 

After all, as Saskia has shown us, when you are embraced and encouraged, “you show people that you can do the job, but also that you can do so much more”. 

Discover more about Funding Options and the different charters we have signed up to supporting here.

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