Female Marketing Leaders in Financial Services: Payal Raina

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Payal Raina


FinTech B2B Marketing

Payal Raina is currently the Global Head of Marketing at Torstone Technology, where she leads a team of seven marketers/agencies across their global locations. She does this part-time while also working as a marketing lecturer for the London College of International Business Studies (LCIBS). Her third job is a mother to two young children. We spoke to her about her nomination for the Women in Marketing Awards and how she juggles everything!

You’re an extremely busy lady! Tell us about how your current roles came about and how you manage your success?

Success stands upon experience and perspective. I’ve had a very international marketing career; I’ve worked for large global brands such as Microsoft, GE and Barclays in Canada and the UK. In my previous role, I headed marketing for EMEA and the Americas at eNett (a global FinTech company). 

Working as a marketer has been my first love but I always had a passion for teaching and education and found it a personally fulfilling experience. I have been a guest marketing faculty and delivered CIM courses in the past and I had the opportunity to work for the United International Business School (UIBS) as a guest lecturer while living in Zurich. 

My current role at Torstone allows me to maximise my experience, while keeping perspective. It was offered to me as a three-day-a-week position and having worked full-time all through my career, I grabbed the opportunity that allows me to fulfil my passion for teaching. I reached out to LCIBS and they were pleased to find a marketing lecturer with a rich academic background and parallel in-depth international corporate marketing experience. Currently, I teach and mentor junior/mid-level marketers and I love sharing my global outlook, bringing real-life, practical experience into the classrooms to prepare them for challenges which I think is critical in today’s disruptive marketing landscape to help their future careers. 

Regarding managing my success, I’d say having the breadth and the depth of marketing knowledge is essential. Working for large, global brands in a variety of marketing roles has given me the depth of experience that has been critical when working for SME businesses where you need to run the whole marketing function and be more hands on. 

I’ve always been a data driven marketer. Linking marketing KPIs with business metrics is critical in positioning marketing as a growth driver of an organisation and shaking off its ‘colouring-in department’ image! Lastly, marketing cannot be done within four walls. Be out there engage with clients and partners to understand their challenges, pain points and identify gaps to stay ahead of the curve.

How do you make juggling the two jobs work, and around being a mother to young children?

Creating a balance in life is key to being successful. I’m fortunate that both roles are flexible but it doesn’t mean I only work three or two days; I’m always on.

I’ve always had that in my career, and I love it. It’s part of my international marketing background so it’s my lifestyle. In my previous role our company headquarters were in Australia, my marketing team was in the UK and the sales team was in the US I was always working round the clock for calls and meetings. I start most of my days at 5:30 am – that’s my ‘me time’. I meditate, go running, get the kids ready and then I’m off to work or college. I get to do school pick up’s and homework. The flexibility with both roles also affords me the flexibility to manage my time with my children. I am always working on something, but if you truly love what you do and you’re passionate about it then it doesn’t feel like a chore.

What three things do you think have been key to your success?

The following top three things have been paramount to my success:

  1. Clear vision and belief in yourself – it’s important to remove those mental barriers so you can reach out and grab what you’ve been pursuing for so long. 
  2. Go and dare – be the change agent. Come out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Stretch the amount of work you do, stretch your expectations, stretch your imagination. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
  3. Prioritise people over tasks – we all are working with humans with emotions and it’s always about connecting and understanding people. 

You were nominated for a Women in Marketing Award. Can you tell us how and why you were nominated and what it meant to you to be part of the awards?

Our CEO, Brian Collings, nominated me for the ‘Best Leader in Marketing’ and the ‘Change-Maker’ awards because of the impact marketing leadership had made on the growth and success of the business in just 12 months. After I joined the firm, I met with the board and I challenged the hierarchy in terms of how we were marketing our business. I shook things up. It was about change, not just strong leadership. Driving change management is extremely hard but critical to the success of the business, especially when you are pitching ‘the future’ to the board members and they cannot see and feel the change ‘today’. I adopted an agile, lean approach that helped win the hearts and minds of Torstone’s CEO, and the board members. 

As a result, we successfully transformed/repositioned the way our business was perceived from a FinTech business into the cutting-edge global post-trade solutions provider for a digital age. We’ve had a record year, our brand visibility has skyrocketed. We smashed our revenue targets. We’ve grown and moved our business forward in terms of sales and really strong pipeline, and marketing ROI is up 150%. The nominations helped validate my journey and show that it was appreciated. 

I am truly honoured and humbled to have made the final Top Three in both categories, amongst the amazing marketing leaders across the globe I’ve admired for so long. 

What would your advice be to females starting out in the industry around managing their career development and salary expectations? 

  1. Be bold and confident in creating new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. This is sometimes harder for women and we need to remind ourselves how important it is!
  2. Build, grow and nurture your network – it will pay dividends in the long term.
  3. Be a master of your own education – set up your own training programme. Never wait for someone else to train you. Make sure you’re always upgrading your skills.
  4.  And finally, always be authentic and true to yourself.

How did you manage your career around your two children? What is your view on flexible working?

I worked in different companies when I had my children and I took the full year off before returning to work full time. It is really important to have a supportive employer and I was lucky that both companies afforded maximum flexibility; I was able to work from home and have flexible hours. But because of my global roles I had the trust to manage my own time anyway. Ultimately, you have to have the belief and as long as you’re delivering excellence that’s all that matters.

What is your view on the gender divide that exists in marketing, or in general? 

The gender gap still exists in the marketing industry despite years of steady progress. Women dominate at entry and managerial levels but we are underrepresented in senior executive, CMO roles and at board level.

It’s the responsibility of the business and political leaders to make the difference from the top down, to learn from Iceland who have made unequal pay illegal. In financial services especially we’re so used to red tape and regulations, we could make it mandatory to be fairer to women in the hiring processes; the FCA should have a bigger role in the issue.

It’s also up to us, as marketing leaders. When we’re making a hiring decision we need to lead by example and be fair and stand up for equal pay. 

Payal was interviewed by Tom Brockton, manager of EMR’s financial services recruitment team.