Q&A with Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET

Media 7 | September 20, 2021

Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET,  has combined FinTech, commercial and central banking experience. She is experienced in European Banking, FinTech, Payments and Digital Platforms industries, with particular expertise in the area of innovative payment solutions, digitally enabled payment financial products, acquired in the Business Development, Innovation, Strategy, M&A, Relationship Management, Change Management, International Development, Sales-related roles.

Most managers end up spending much of this time creating reports based on the quantity of work rather than the quality of work, failing to understand that performance evaluation is for the employee’s professional growth.

MEDIA 7: Could you please walk us through the incredible career you’ve had?
ANNA PAVLOVSKA:
Almost 20 years ago, I started my career in commercial banking right after graduating with my MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree from Vilnius University, one of the oldest and most famous universities in the European Union (founded in the 16th century). At that time, banking was highly dominated by men, and nobody spoke loudly about diversity in this industry. At the start of my career, it was really challenging to be able to have a voice as a young ambitious woman in the international relationships and payments area. Nevertheless, I feel very lucky, because I have met splendid talented colleagues from the banking industry all over the world. From the very start, I was involved in international relationships, face-to-face and audience meetings, presentations, roadshows, participation in world conferences, like SIBOS, Euromoney, etc. This brought tremendous treasure to my worldview -  I have got friends all over the world, who still remain in my closest circle of friends. The FinTech era brought new waves of innovative technologies. Startups around the globe started disrupting incumbents in the finance industry by expanding financial inclusion and using technology to cut down on operational costs.

That was the new challenge for me, and I saw my place in this faster changing technological area, where I felt like a fish in the water. I admire the speed in this industry and I like the talents I see here. Therefore, I also started mentoring and advising in this area in order to help young talents to realize their dreams. I have seen, that the most talented students do not wish to work in the corporates anymore, as they clearly understand, that their voice might not be heard there. They prefer to found a startup and go toward their soul tasks by choosing FinTechs. And in some areas, they need advice and mentoring to help them realize their dreams. Also, I wished to bring the added value to the entire Fintech sector and create public good for my country. Therefore, my life road brought me to the Bank of Lithuania, the central bank and the regulator in Lithuania. The idea was to make the Lithuanian payment system more visible and highly innovative, which succeeded in the best way. I am grateful that my destiny presented me with a precious gift from the deep and wise people I met during this period of my life. I have learned a lot from them and I have also understood, that I have a lot of knowledge to share. FinTech area is the space, where I see the most potential for the society to grow, to bring new ideas, to create the added value, to raise the public good. I would wish to see society, where everyone is involved in a niche industry with the best deep knowledge and passion, and love, producing incredibly special, tasty, unique service or product, which is useful for the entire society.


M7: How does VIALET ensure ultimate privacy and safety for their clients?
AP:
Privacy and safety for clients are one of the most sensitive topics in the financial area. Losing sensitive client data, such as login credentials, credit card information or financial reports, can have disastrous consequences for any business, especially in banking and FinTech, from both a legal and PR standpoint. Fortunately, there are ways to safeguard against these security breaches. I would wish to share some of our top client data protection tips, which help keep the business information secure.

1. First: It is advisable to use smart password protection strategies.
Password protection is a common stumbling block for many businesses. There are many pieces of advice on how to create strong passwords, and they vary a lot. Unfortunately, forcing deeply complex passwords increases the likelihood that a final user will simply select a single complex password to remember, and use it for countless login credentials. This inadvertently creates a single point of failure that can grant access across numerous systems and services. What would be the best solution in this case? Businesses lean on a combination of encrypted, salted passwords (using a tool such as 1Password or LastPass), and multifactor authentication. Combined, these measures virtually eliminate the threat of compromised passwords.

2. Second: Limited access to sensitive data.
Not everyone in the institution gets access to sensitive client data. It’s not just malicious employees who can damage the institution. Lax security protocols, or even a tired employee making a mistake can compromise the security system, leaving the institution vulnerable to a data breach. One of the easiest ways to cut down on a possible leak is to limit the number of employees and systems which access that data. This leaves the institution with fewer systems to protect, and fewer employees who might make an error.

3. Third, Stay on top of all security updates.
Many of the recent security hacks exploited are known as security holes. The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security publish content that can be of use for regulatory topics and policymaking. The truth is, it’s easy to skip software updates because they can take up a few minutes of our time, and may not seem that important. But this is a mistake that keeps the door open for hackers to access your private information, putting you at risk for identity theft, loss of money, credit, and more.

Also, it is very important to move to a dedicated server. Many businesses use shared servers to cut down on costs. However, this comes with a security risk, as these servers share risks with other sites. Any good hosting company will have measures in place to protect server data, but if another site on your shared server is compromised, it could still affect you. While dedicated servers are more expensive, they also provide an additional layer of protection for both you and your clients. And, do not forget to enable firewalls and antivirus protection. Firewalls and antivirus protection are basic security measures to safeguard the data. While firewalls help to prevent unauthorized access, antivirus software helps prevent, detect, and remove harmful programs from the computer system. Without these in place, any institution could have vulnerabilities in its system without even being aware of them.


Digital technologies, without any doubt, are affecting the ways, in which people contribute to societies, live and work, including in terms of the number and types of jobs available.



M7: What makes VIALET stand out in such a competitive FinTech industry?
AP:
I believe that the core value of the business we do is honesty, integrity and confidence. The business is built on a philosophy that centres around our client and the client brings the most value for us. And to fulfil this commitment, we have created an outstanding basket of products and services for our clients. Customer-centricity is a key aspect for FinTech. Keeping not only that focus on building the products but also the sense of responsibility along the journey, is what we see as the key to success.

We provide customer service and automated services in multiple languages which are designed to give our clients the best overall experience. We have created customer-friendly sales systems that aims to make the client feel comfortable and important for the institution. We also feel the pulse of the trends in the market and tend to keep our services basket up-to-date with the most trendy market solutions. And, frankly speaking, I do not feel that we are competitors in the market with other FinTechs. We all are colleagues who support each other and create value for all our end users.


M7: You spoke about creating KPIs based on your employee’s performance rather than work hours, at the 'Evolution of FinTech Infrastructure. What's around the corner, ' event. Could you please elaborate on the possible ways to do this?
AP:
According to recent researches, top-level managers spend an average of over 200 hours per year on employee performance evaluation. Most managers end up spending much of this time creating reports based on the quantity of work rather than the quality of work, failing to understand that performance evaluation is for the employee’s professional growth. FinTech employees are curious to learn and expect development opportunities in their workplace. The remote working style has proven to be efficient. The only task is to use these new trends to evaluate the result of remote working. Let us examine some cases. Suppose you are comparing the performance of two employees. Employee One produces out two reports in eight hours, and employee Two creates one in the same amount of time. Employee One’s work often needs amendments and correction, which takes another few hours. On the contrary, employee Two’s work is reliable and often error-free. Who is the better performer? The most important factor to consider is that the employee performance evaluation is the quality of work. Relying on the number of working hours or the quantity of work to gauge employee performance can have great repercussions: it decreases the priority of work quality, and then company growth; employees tend to work extra hours, which can cause burnout; rushed work can be unreliable and require additional work to fix or improve.

So, the manager has to clearly set the right goals, create a performance plan, employ goal management and give feedback. The KPI’s for the different types of activities should differ. For example, in the research and analysis area, the KPI could be the number of scientific researches and books read for the period. For the customer service, not only the number of clients served but also the positive feedback from the clients on the quality of the service, even if it took longer in time to serve the client than it is required. Also, which is one of the most crucial and important employment topics nowadays - when the demand for highly skilled employees is much higher than the supply, it is important to keep the brilliant employees and to help them grow. When the employee is happy, the customer shall be happy as well. What is also very much valued by the employees is the comforting atmosphere in the institution for efficient work, based on the respect of their opinions, ideas and results of the work, which should be noticed and evaluated by the management properly and carefully.


Surround yourself with positive minds, together you shall generate even higher vibrations to seek after your goals



M7: What do you see as the most noticeable change right now happening in the workforce, encouraged by the rise of digital technologies?
AP:
Digital technologies, without any doubt, are affecting the ways, in which people contribute to societies, live and work, including in terms of the number and types of jobs available. The impact of digital transformation on the nature of work and the skills required is very real and already upon us. Many new, productive and rewarding forms of work and jobs are being created, but at the same time, many jobs have disappeared and more are likely to go in the future. Digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning lead to jobs being lost, and others being created. Four out of ten jobs created in the past ten years were in digital-intensive sectors, most of the job losses were in less digitally-intensive sectors. As labour markets transform, it is imperative to promote successful and fair transitions from declining to expanding work opportunities.

The impact of digitalisation on the workforce depends on technological innovations and the uptake of these new technologies. Several types of research suggest that some 14% of workers face a high risk that their tasks will be automated and various bots shall be used instead. Another 32% face major changes in the tasks required in their job and, consequently, the skills they would need to do their job. These workers will need to significantly adapt to succeed in the new digitally-enabled work environment. With this transformation comes the rare opportunity to fundamentally improve work and the nature of employment. Dangerous, dirty and dull work can be drastically reduced while jobs that celebrate creativity, flexibility and purpose can be enhanced. There is currently a window of opportunity to shape the future of work with foresight so that inequalities are reduced and well-being is bolstered.

To succeed in the digital world of work, people need sound cognitive skills including digital skills, social and emotional skills, job-specific skills and importantly the ability and motivation to cope with change and keep learning, both in and out of the workplace. Life-long learning opportunities need to be promoted, particularly for low-skilled workers, and barriers to training, need to be addressed. This can be achieved through strengthening career guidance, assessing individual skill gaps, enhancing opportunities for distance learning, simplifying skills validation systems and increasing and targeting financial incentives and funding of life-long learning initiatives.


M7: What would you like to advise the young women who are starting out their careers in the FinTech industry?
AP:
It is calculated that women in Lithuanian Fintech Top Management positions comprise around 40%, which makes me very happy. Women can bring their deep precious talents and feminine energy to create an even greater sector. The most beautiful way for women to start and grow their career in the Fintech industry is to remain themselves, meaning that there is no need to adapt to the circumstances or to the market, but to maintain their inner feminine values and outer feminine outlook. The feminine energy is extremely creative, peaceful and possesses huge power. Therefore, remaining feminine as a woman shall bring a tremendous impact to the industry.

My message to young women is:
 

  • Be brave to believe yourselves
  • Be sure you can realize to most unbelievable ideas
  • Be grateful for each and every event in your life path, be it positive or negative, every step has its great value, even if you do not understand the lesson at the moment
  • Surround yourself with positive minds, together you shall generate even higher vibrations to seek after your goals
  • Do not stop learning, there is no age limit to be successful and to study new things, the universe needs creative minds

ABOUT VIALET

VIALET is a Lithuanian based Fintech with an Electronic Money Institution license issued in Lithuania. VIALET provides a wide range of banking services to private and corporate clients, such as multicurrency accounts, Mobile App and Web tools, payment cards, acquiring services, currency exchange and payments. With its multilingual customer service, VIALET brings comfortable and professional service for the positive customer journey.

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VIALET

VIALET is a Lithuanian based Fintech with an Electronic Money Institution license issued in Lithuania. VIALET provides a wide range of banking services to private and corporate clients, such as multicurrency accounts, Mobile App and Web tools, payment cards, acquiring services, currency exchange and...

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