This year we have timed the launch of Money20/20’s RiseUp Europe with International Women’s Day. The theme of IWD this year is break the bias and their call out is to ask us to imagine a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination and to remind us that collectively we can if we work together achieve this.
RiseUp started on a piece of paper in early 2018 with exactly this goal. I was determined that Money20/20 could make a positive, tangible and meaningful contribution to diversity in financial services.
RiseUp is an academy that runs at every Money20/20 where women of all levels of their career journey apply to take part in a 3 day acceleration programme. We do not stipulate any other criteria than passion, desire and aspiration to progress, be that one level up or all the way to the top. However, RiseUp does not stand alone, as we launched the programme in 2018 we also set out the ‘Change Our Stage’, to ensure that more diverse voices, faces and backgrounds were seen and heard on all our stages globally.
Fast forward 4 years and over 200 women have been through the RiseUp programme and the stages at Money20/20 are some of the most diverse in the whole live events industry.
It only seems like yesterday that we were calling for applicants for the first edition of RiseUp with a strong vision but no real clue as to how it would pan out to be honest. And what happened shocked us. There were hundreds of applicants, we were totally overwhelmed and we had to select just 35 into the first cohort.
RiseUp is about inspiring and connecting women with like-minded peers and also women and men in the most senior posts in our industry, it’s about building and creating supportive networks. Every RiseUp cohort is connected with their group prior to the event via simple whatsapp groups, we set them up and then they run, we have found no need to facilitate these groups, they have a life of their own- these networks flourish once established.
I speak to each cohort to open the programme and I come back right at the end to the final session and the transformation I see every time is emotional. In every cohort more than one woman will tell me RiseUp has had a life-changing impact, I find that very humbling every time I hear it.
So, what makes it special, simply I think for many of the women who come into the programme it is truly the first time they have stopped and thought about themselves and what they truly want to achieve from their careers, they realize that they have every right to go and get what they want. It is no surprise then that over 50% of the first 2 cohorts have moved into more senior roles, simply RiseUp seems to awaken and unlock potential through the power of the group.
RiseUp has been supported by an incredible group of industry professionals who have helped us by speaking, mentoring and being ambassadors for the programme. I would like to thank every single one of them all along with all the team at Money20/20 past and present who have supported this initiative.
And above all to all our RiseUp alumni who champion us and share their experiences, thank you.
The most common question I get asked about RiseUp is should I apply? The answer is, if you have the aspiration to progress no matter how far, if you want to build new networks and if you are prepared to hold your hand out to others to help them, then yes apply.
Thank you to everyone who has come on the RiseUp journey, and if you are reading this thinking that the 2022 cohort might just be for you, go for it.
"RiseUp is not simply facilitating another conversation on gender imbalance, but rather providing a solution and steps to real-world action. "