Today there are 1.7 billion adults worldwide who don't have access to basic financial services. For Laura W., Head of Operations for Novi, learning about the scale of this financial inequality—and the fact that 56 percent of all unbanked adults are women—was a massive eye opener.
Before joining the Facebook company, Laura worked at PayPal for 13 years. “I loved my job,” she says, “but after hearing Novi’s mission, I couldn’t unhear it. As a woman and someone who has built her career in financial services, I knew I wanted to be part of this work.”
Novi is a subsidiary of the Facebook company that is committed to helping people around the world access affordable financial services. Novi’s first product will be a digital wallet for the Libra project —a new payment system built on innovative blockchain technology—that will make sending money as easy as sending a message.
In her role, Laura is focused on building the operations team for Novi, which is based in Dublin. We sat down with her to learn more about the work her team is doing and how they’re driving impact.
Developing operations from the ground up
“The fundamental goal of the Novi Operations team is to build trust. Novi is a new concept, so it’s important we help people understand what we are working on and how it can benefit them in their daily lives. Everything we do is rooted in a philosophy of care. Through trust, advocacy and education, we are working to create a safe and supportive environment for our customers.”
The Operations organization is made up of three teams: Customer Help Operations, Fraud Operations and Compliance Operations.
The Customer Help Operations team acts as Novi’s front door. They are the first interactions customers have with Novi, and their role is critical to its success. The team works in shifts to provide 24/7 support for customers, no matter where they are around the world. “We want to make sure customers feel supported and empowered to use our products,” Laura says.
The Fraud Operations team is focused on keeping the platform safe from bad actors. They undertake investigations into suspicious activity. “I like to say these team members lead with a cape on their back,” Laura adds.
The Compliance Operations team works to uphold the integrity of the platform. They ensure Novi is maintaining the highest standards of regulatory compliance, so we are building a platform people can trust.
Laura continues, “In operations, people can expect quite a steady environment where their work is set out for them. Because Novi is a start up, this is not necessarily the case. People joining our Operations team have the opportunity to come in and be part of the design. They can expect to look at what is in place, identify gaps, and design and implement new processes. We need team members who are skilled in operations, have an appetite to grow, learn, innovate—people who are looking to make a meaningful impact.”
Empowering all voices to be heard
“I joined Facebook in 2019, and was surprised by how strong and supportive the culture was. I remember being blown away by the generosity of the team. Everyone is so willing to share their time and knowledge. And while I’m working with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met, there has never been a time that I haven’t felt valued for the skills and experience I bring to the team. I have found that everyone here at Novi has a voice, and we all bring unique skills and experience, which makes it a very exciting team to be part of.
One of the things I love about Facebook’s Dublin office is the diversity and the strong sense of community. From our Employee Resource Groups to our various events, there are so many opportunities to connect with people from other backgrounds. No matter what your interests are, where you’ve come from or where you plan on going, there’s a home for you here.
When I think about my work, I always ask myself whether I’m doing something that my three sons can be proud of. I’m the primary female role model in their lives, and it’s important to my husband and I that we raise three feminists. When I look back at my career, It feels like I have spent all these years gathering the skills I need to be doing this work here today. Being a part of Novi is deeply personal for me, and it’s a once in a career opportunity to make an impact.“
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