Meridyth Park | 40 Outstanding Global Women 2023
Fintech is a male-dominated sector. Just 5.6% of CEOs in the industry are women, only 11% of total board members are women, and 19% are company executives, according to the Fintech Diversity Radar 2021, the world’s first global platform gathering progressive data on women in Fintech to understand their impact and contribution to the digital economy.
As Head of Marketing at CMC Invest UK, Meridyth Park is immersed in the Fintech sector, and her mission now is to uplift other women and give them as many opportunities as possible to progress their careers in the tech and fintech space too.
“I remember people telling me in my 20s that I needed a network. It’s about letting them have you top of mind when opportunities arise.”
Meridith Park, Head of Marketing CMC Invest UK
“It’s really important that as managers we take care to champion our team”
She says, “It is not necessarily a male or female trait to have, it’s just that any manager needs to understand that we’re all people and we’re all human. We have families and lives outside of work, and it is important to respect and understand that. We spend 40 hours minimum a week in the office or hybrid working together and that is a huge time commitment.”
She believes that building a team that works together and keeping morale high is good for everyone.
“It is about enjoying each other and bringing joy into what we all do. In so many cases, especially in Fintech, it’s all about the work, but it is also important to take some time and actually think about the health of our teammates and our peers.”
Meridyth has had a global career, having worked at BBDO, Grey, and DMB&B (now Publicis) before entering the financial services world at UBS and Bank of America. In the latter, she led brand strategy for the global corporate & investment bank, as well as Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
“I started off in university in the US, thinking I was going to be a doctor, living my parents’ dream,” she explains. “But I realised it wasn’t my passion and being exposed to such a large group of people with more perspectives and even more diversity opened my mind to other possibilities.”
As a leader, she approaches everything with transparency
She doesn’t believe her team can work at their best without knowing the whole truth. So she keeps nothing from them. Meridyth’s take on being a leader stems from her mantra, “It’s not about being the smartest person in the room, but about bringing out the best in others.” Her leadership style is a solid testament to how to adapt to different environments, using your strengths to convey your voice.
“I’ve had a lot of managers in my career,” she says. “I have seen some managers who have held information back and it’s been really counterproductive. Staff end up delivering without having the full context, and working in silos is never an effective approach.”
She worked for over a decade in New York at advertising agencies and banks, but after being made redundant from UBS at the height of the 2008-10 financial crisis, she decided to go travelling in South America.
When she returned, she was hired to run the brand strategy for Bank of America for their global B2B businesses. Bank of America had just bought out Merrill Lynch and the role involved navigating a lot of internal politics caused by two larger organisations being merged.
“I loved being part of the discussions around market strategy and branding across multiple countries and jurisdictions, understanding the compliance and legal requirements in various regions.”
She was instrumental in managing and building brands around wealth management for Merrill Lynch, before deciding that after 16 years of living in New York City, she wanted to explore more of the world.
“I love New York. I still think of myself as a New Yorker. But just from a personal growth perspective, I found that I wanted to move on.”
A firm believer in networking, Meridyth got a job in London leading sales and marketing campaigns for the global transaction services team out of London by chatting with a colleague. Despite having global expertise, the actual experience of moving to London was another revelatory moment.
“I have worked on global brands prior to the move, so I had understood that there were cultural differences, but it was still from a very US centric mindset,” she says.” Once I was actually sitting in a London office, I realised there was so much more that we could do, and that while we speak the same language there really is a cultural gap. You absolutely have to live it to understand it.”
After four years in the London office of Bank of America she was ready for a new challenge.
“I’m very animated, very energetic. I am a huge cheerleader outwardly and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. In a very corporate structure, and especially in a London office, I just felt that I needed to hide a little bit more of who I was. I wanted to go to work for more of a small to midsize company where they would be much more open to some of my type of energy!”
She left to work for a startup, before joining CMC via another informal networking conversation.
“It’s my dream job. It’s a medium sized company but I am able to work on the launch of a brand new platform and able to define the framework from the outset,” she says. “I’m with the leadership team, helping to define the product that gets to be launched.”
While networking and personal contacts have helped her move onwards and upwards in her career, she doesn’t believe networking needs to be formalised.
“I remember people telling me in my 20s that I needed a network. I realised later it is actually about staying in touch with people. It’s about letting them have you top of mind when opportunities arise. By having a regular cadence with people, you will always be somewhere at the forefront of their mind should an opportunity come about. Just grabbing a drink with them, having a coffee, just touching base. It’s a conversation. It’s not that you have to go in there with any hidden agenda.”
Meridyth’s belief that work should be collaborative and open is at the core of how she approaches her role.
“The phrase ‘It’s not personal. It’s just business’ doesn’t sit comfortably with me,” she says. “We spend over 40 hours of our week with people from work. We’ve invested years of study and our career in pursuit of the role we have. So of course, it’s personal, especially for those who take great pride in a job well done.”