Quavo’s Women in Leadership: Angie Adkins

We sat down with Quavo’s Director of Finance & People, Angie Adkins, to discuss gender bias, diversity, and her vision for women in leadership.

What’s your current position at Quavo? How long have you been in this position? Can you give me a brief overview of what you do in your work?

I joined Quavo in August of 2020 as the Director of Finance and People. In the Finance aspect of my role, I am responsible for our accounting, financial controls, financial reporting, and participate in strategic financial planning. The People aspect of my job centers around policies, procedures, compliance, performance reviews, conflict resolution, engagement, and internal communications.

As a woman in a leadership position, what do you hope to see for women and their growth at Quavo? What are some steps you are taking towards that goal?

I want women at Quavo to have what I have at times lacked in the past: leadership that represents them, mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, and a clear path to advancement. Although I don’t have a background in STEM, I want to help the women here in any way that I can. I am working along with two other female leaders at Quavo to launch a Women’s Employee Resource Group; we’re working to learn more about our women’s experience and concerns so the group can be a true resource for women who are not in leadership positions to have the support and tools they need to advance.

What led you to the Fintech industry? What were you doing before you came here? What attracted you to this work?

My parents have a small business and I started managing their back-end business operations in my 20s. Every company has loads of behind-the-scenes tasks that need to be completed for smooth operations. As a problem solver, I see needs and address them. Being their business manager led to a career in Finance and HR.

I love working in large roles at small, ambitious companies. There is so much variety in what I do and the impact I can have at a small company is fulfilling.

The financial industry and even the tech industry have been predominately white and male in America, do you think that is changing? What do you think needs to happen for there to be more representation and inclusion of women in the Fintech industry as a whole?

It can be a challenge for women in any industry to bring up issues regarding gender bias in the workplace out of fear of making people in leadership uncomfortable or fear of a negative career impact. It’s been great to see the conversation become more acceptable.

We need to remove the stigma around discussing pay equity in the workplace. We need to be able to talk about this without fear of negative consequences, and we need more transparency to affect change. I’m happy to see this shift towards transparency in the industry.

Do you think the start-up mentality in the Fintech industry provides more opportunities for greater diversity than in other industries? Why if so and if why not, how can the industry do better?

Tech companies and startups are realizing that diversity in hiring and inclusion can increase revenue, improve retention rates, and boost productivity. There is also a race to be an employer of choice as attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge across the industry. People value inclusivity and diversity, and companies are paying attention.

Small businesses and startups also have a lot of work to do, and every individual has an opportunity to impact the company in a large way and to increase responsibility in a way that traditionally takes much more time in larger organizations.

There is tremendous potential here; we as an industry need to prioritize diversity and minimize unconscious bias in our hiring practices, highlight diversity in representation, ensure pay equality with transparency, and support underrepresented groups in our organizations.

What challenges have you experienced as a woman in a leadership position?

I have worked in male-dominated industries my whole career, many times with no female peers or seniors in my company. I looked externally for support from other senior female leaders to connect with. I remember a particular seminar titled “Stop Being Indispensable” that really resonated with me. As women, sometimes we can have the tendency to keep our head down, work hard, take on more, and wait for that promotion – and we end up under the radar.

It’s easy to give people more work and more responsibilities independent of a promotion or a raise. Particularly in large roles at small companies where there is a lot of work to do, it can be a challenge to be recognized professionally and monetarily for the work assumed. This can end up being a roadblock to promotion.

There are not only barriers to career advancement for women, but also challenges after they have advanced. I have experienced resistance after receiving a promotion from people that were previously my advocates. I think women can sometimes be perceived as more threatening after they assume leadership roles.

What does Women’s History Month mean for you both professionally and personally?

I don’t like that we need a month – I wish we didn’t. The fact that 51% of the population has been disadvantaged in very real ways is surprising. I’m so grateful to the women that have paved the way for me. Things have come to light in the last few years that have made me realize society is not as far along as I thought. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women – the rise in unemployment rates among women is a devastating setback. Now we have more reason than ever to rally around each other to support one another. Although I do not feel incredibly optimistic this Women’s History Month, I have high hopes for next year and the years beyond.

We also need to move beyond just mentoring other women – we need to sponsor them. Mentorship is giving advice and guidance; sponsorship is creating opportunities, exercising our networks for others, and using our power and influence to advance them. Women are powerful, beautiful, and brilliant. Let’s use our influence and keep driving change!

Director of Finance & HR Angie Adkins

Meet the other women making a difference at Quavo:

Quavo’s Women in Tech: Jessica Wile

Quavo’s Women in Tech: Jessica Wile