CEO & Founder | FinavatorMICHELLE BEYOBridging the Gap between Fintechs and Banking InstitutionsMMichelle Beyo is the CEO & founder of FINAVATOR, an awardwinning strategy firm focused on bridging the gap between Fintechs and traditional Banks. Michelle is also a strategic advisor to multiple Fintechs, a Money 20/20 RiseUp alumni, a Global Council Member for Women in Payments, the Membership Chair at Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO), a Payment Advisor for National Crowdfunding and FinTech Association (NCFA), as well as a Board Member at Open Banking Initiative of Canada (OBIC).Passionate about enabling financial inclusion, faster payments, and driving Open Banking forward in Canada, Michelle started FINAVATOR. With over 20 years of extensive industry experience driving innovation across the retail and payments industry, Michelle was named a "Rising Star" by Women in Payments 2018, and one of the "Top 30 Best CEOs of 2021" by The Silicon Valley Review. FINAVATOR was also recently awarded "Most Influential Leader in Fintech Consulting - Canada" in 2020.The Journey of Founding FINAVATORFor Michelle Beyo, the two biggest risks that she has ever taken included leaving the corporate world after over 20 years and starting her own company. After building the confidence to apply to Money 20/20's RiseUp program, one of the largest payments and financial services events in the world, Michelle received the exciting news in July of 2019 that she had won one of only thirty spots out of five hundred applicants to join the program in Las Vegas. Money 20/20 facilitates the largest network of payment conferences globally, so winning that spot as one of the two Canadians selected worldwide was a dream come true for her. The news inspired her to take the risk to go after her lifelong dream of becoming a CEO and starting her own company. The journey was not easy, building a company overnight with no funding was far from an easy task. Although Michelle had always dreamed of becoming a CEO, it was a difficult decision as her family relied on only one income.During that time, Michelle had also lost one of her best friends of 26 years after a 4-year battle with colon cancer at the age of 36. This devastating loss was a reminder that life is too short to play it safe, and that she had to go after her dreams of starting a business. Michelle quickly bootstrapped the company and launched it in less than a week, announcing to the world via LinkedIn her latest endeavor. Michelle was able to secure over 100 followers in 2 weeks and signed her first client within a month. She was excited to give back to the community and use her knowledge and incredible network to push Fintech companies and open banking forward.FINAVATOR: Bridging the Gap between FinTechs and traditional BanksFINAVATOR holds a unique position within the financial services space, helping to create a more collaborative ecosystem by bringing stakeholders together to build innovative products and services for consumers. FINAVATOR's team has expertise in a variety of areas including Open Banking, Payments & Prepaid Solutions, Challenger Banks, Micro Loans, Rewards, Loyalty Solutions and Financial Marketing.With traditional banks, Michelle and her team help evaluate Fintechs to find the best innovation partners for their clients to help them expand their customer base. When working with Fintechs, they are passionate about driving growth through helping build innovative products, strategic marketing, and enterprise partnerships to reach new customer segments.FINAVATOR has been able to help drive innovative products to market that offer consumers the opportunity to save and budget more effectively to reach their financial goals. For example, Michelle worked directly with founders at Treasure Financial to help them launch a Canadian budgeting app for kids. Using a prepaid card, Treasure Financial enables a way for parents to educate kids about their money by sending them an allowance via a digital or physical card. This was a big achievement as Treasure Financial was one of the first prepaid reloadable cards that can be used by kids of 6-12 years old. Michelle has also helped enable many key partnerships, in addition to creating growth and opportunities for some of North America's leading Fintechs.Outside of FINAVATOR, Michelle had the opportunity to speak as a payments industry expert at many global events, including being the keynote at the Cyber Security & Risk event on Open Banking as well as being on the main stage at Money 20/20. She was also involved in several panel discussions on the future of payments at Open Finance 2020, the Payment Summit, Women Future Conference, Fintech Summit and many more.Driving Financial Inclusion and Gender DiversityMichelle has spent many years supporting organizations that help empower women to rise above– whether it be in their personal or professional lives. She holds volunteer roles on the Global Council holds a seat on the Award committee for Women in Payments as well as being a Money 20/20 RiseUp alumni. Michelle is also involved in Women in Blockchain and Women in Digital Identity.No matter what initiative or organization Michelle is involved in, she is always working towards gender parity and diversity. Within FINAVATOR and across the different boards and initiatives that she is a part of, Michelle believes that advocating for gender equity and diversity is a necessity for challenging gender stereotypes, amplifying a variety of voices, and ensuring equal opportunity practices. When Michelle is asked to moderate a panel or speak at an event, she makes it a priority to assemble a panel that is diverse.Over this last year, Michelle was honored with the opportunity to join her first board but before accepting the offer, she requested that the board at OBIC consider implementing a 50/50 gender diversity initiative, which was then accepted as their 2021 goal. As a board member at OBIC, Michelle is extremely honored to hold the codirector seat and to steer the organization towards educating different parties, connect industry players, and driving the important message that Open Banking is a force for good for Canadian consumers, SMEs, and the entire Canadian financial ecosystem. In honour of her best friend, Shannon Phair, a passionate artist who was only 36 when she left this world, Michelle has participated in the 10 KM run #PushForYourTush to help fight colon cancer for the past six years. She has raised over $50K as the lead of Shannon's Shamrock team.A Force for Good through Open BankingAs the CEO of FINAVATOR, Michelle works passionately to help Fintech's expand faster, banks drive innovation, as well as move the Open Banking discussion forward. She believes that Open Banking is critical to empower consumers, competition, and innovation as well as to help Canada stay competitive on a global scale.As a global movement, Open Banking empowers consumers with control over their financial data using open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that enable third parties to build innovative products and services. As part of her Open Banking advocacy, Michelle takes on the role of co-creator and host of OBIC's Open Banking Insights Series that is moderated by the Honorable Senator Colin Deacon. "The current ten-part series highlights the advantages and challenges in both the UK and Canada regarding Open Banking. It features distinguished guest speakers from HSBC, EQ Bank, Interac, Revolut, OBIE (Open Banking Implementation Entity), the Competition Bureau of Canada, and Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) among others. OBIC is particularly excited about the recently released roadmap for Canada and looks forward to discussing its impact in the upcoming episodes. Michelle Beyo was recently named a finalist for the Pioneer Award at Open Banking Expo's Open Banking Awards for her commitment and contribution to this initiative."
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