Director, Fraud & Risk
Wave Financial Inc
You’re going to experience self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Know that this is not a reflection of your capabilities or potential, and is something that we all struggle with at every level.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm Batman with a calculator. My job is to fight crime using data and analytics, while leading a team of investigators trained to detect suspect activity. I started my career on the banking side, building predictive real-time rules trained to detect out of pattern behaviour on credit and debit card transactions. Now, I work on the merchant side, protecting small business owners by leveraging software, technology, data analytics, ML modelling and intuition to detect scams, fraud and other anomalies across various financial services products.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
I fell into fraud prevention by happenstance. I actually wanted to be a biostatistician after falling in love with an elective course, then eventually completing my MSc in Computational Biostatistics. But my expertise was in Statistics and not Biology or Pathology, so I struggled to get an interview. After a long, unfruitful job search, I decided to pivot to other analytical career paths. That’s when I found a role to be a Fraud Analyst at TD Bank. I had been a victim of fraud previously and found the experience really intriguing. I decided to give it a shot and found it incredibly interesting to apply the data science skills I had learned to literally fight crime. Turns out I had a knack for it, and worked my way up to more senior leadership roles.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
Throughout my career I’ve worked for amazing leaders, but unfortunately I’ve also had some poor ones. Early in my career, I worked for a leader who outwardly disagreed with my decision to apply for a promotion because they felt I was too junior (I was 1.5 years in my current role). I knew that I could do the job, so I asked them if I could apply anyway, and they “let” me. I think they felt it would be a good reality check for me, but little did they know how stubborn I can be! This motivated me to prove them wrong, so I met with the person who was currently in the role to learn everything I could, worked on my own time to do some of the actual work on this persons plate, and came prepared to the interview with evidence that it would be an easy transition. I got the job, and believe this was a pivotal moment in my career.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
That your career is rarely a linear path, and that’s not only OK but exciting and should be celebrated!
I grew up in a small town where the only option I thought possible for my future was a traditional career in a big corporation. I didn’t understand the world of fintech or startups, and just how challenging, freeing, and invigorating it can be. Having worked on both sides, at a big corporate bank where I learned crucial foundational skills, and at a start up where I wore many hats and grew a team from 3 to 30+ people in 4 years, I’ve learned just how much possibility there really is.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
No two days are the same in my world. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse with fraudsters as technology evolves. I always joke that with a job in fraud prevention you’re forever employed! But jokes aside, I’ve built an incredible career that gives me both purpose and pride. I’ve studied and learned difficult concepts and techniques which I apply in a real-world way to protect the livelihood of small businesses. Not only that, but I know that the skills I’ve developed in STEM are transferable, and many doors are open for me if I want to apply my knowledge in a different industry and learn something new.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
You’re going to experience self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Know that this is not a reflection of your capabilities or potential, and is something that we all struggle with at every level. Lean on your friends, classmates, colleagues & mentors, and do your part to build up other women around you.
I want to apologize to all the women
I have called pretty
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
Something as simple as what you’re born with
Is the most you have to be proud of when your
Spirit has crushed mountains
From now on I will say things like
You are resilient or you are extraordinary
Not because I don’t think you’re pretty
But because you are so much more than that
- Rupi Kaur