How our colleagues support FinTech globally


Gaynor Edwards and Illana Fass

Our colleagues drive innovation and change daily. Impacting the way we serve our customers and how we work together as colleagues. But success is not just about what you achieve, it’s about how you achieve it. Our Chief Operating Office (COO) recognises the value our colleagues bring, not just to their roles, but our culture and values. COO have recognised a number of exceptional women who have made a difference within Barclays, the industry, and the wider community through their impact and passion for change. Learn more about Gaynor Edwards and Illana Fass and their role in the Rise programme supporting FinTech globally.

We spoke with Gaynor Edwards, Head of Brand and Communications for Group Innovation, and Ilana Fass, AVP Open Innovation, to discuss the huge role they’ve played in the development of the ‘Rise’ FinTech hubs.

Gaynor moved to Group Innovation early last year, to support Rise’s global community of top innovators and has played a significant role in the work they are doing to create the future of financial services.

Ilana has also joined the Rise team in Tel Aviv, and works very closely with the FinTech community and wider partner ecosystem to seek out new opportunities to collaborate and build solutions together with Barclays, as well as handle the day-today running of the workspace.

We spoke to Gaynor Edwards about her role in Group Innovation:

Tell us a bit about your career at Barclays

I started my career with Barclays in the Group Brand Management team at Barclaycard 5 years ago, leading on Brand Experience, which fuses both brand and customer experience together. I then had the opportunity to take on the mantle of leading on Brand and Communications within the Group Innovation office representing the hugely impressive Rise proposition, I jumped in with both feet in January 2017.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement/proudest moment during your time at Barclays?

There have been many moments at Barclays that I have been fortunate enough to be involved with: from launching the Barclaycard International brand advocate programme, which included recruiting over 100 colleagues; being one of a team of six launching Rise London, Europe’s largest workspace dedicated to FinTech; to pulling together workshops to help women build confidence in the workplace.

All of these achievements have involved working with some of the brightest and most talented individuals that I have ever met, so it certainly makes all the hard work and long hours worthwhile.

Is there a woman who has particularly inspired you? If so who and why?

Randi Zuckerberg, an amazing lady who has had an incredible career in her own right (under the shadow of her most famous brother). Not only has she set up multiple companies and invented Facebook Live; she has also been on the West End stage and juggles a family life to boot. A woman with many talents.

What does Barclays’ commitment to Diversity and Inclusion mean to you?

What’s refreshing about Barclays is that rather than just having heaps of articles and information that talk about what we should be doing as a bank, everywhere I look, I see enacting on Diversity and Inclusion agenda every day. From the people being recruited into the Group Innovation team, to the FinTech startups we work with on a daily basis, I am seeing greater diversity and more openness about the areas where this is lacking. I feel fortunate to be in a company that not only takes this seriously, but is also committed to taking action.

Gaynor introduces our discussion with Ilana Fass…

Ilana Fass has just joined our Rise team over in Tel Aviv. With boundless energy and entrepreneurial spirit, Ilana will be working very closely with our FinTech community and wider partner ecosystem to seek out new opportunities to collaborate and build solutions together with Barclays, as well as handle the day-to-day running of our Rise Tel Aviv workspace.

We caught up with Ilana about her career to date and time at Barclays

I recently joined Barclays as part of the Global Innovation team. My career to date comprised of serving in the Israel Defense Force for three years, as a First Lieutenant officer, then working in Innovation before joining Barclays. Since being at Rise, I have assisted with establishing the Barclays’ Innovation Centre in Tel Aviv. We have associated with over 400 FinTech start-ups, and supported them with hundreds of connections, both in the bank and in the general FinTech community. I aim to continue to help the growth of FinTech start-ups, by assisting them in securing investment and gaining commercial traction. Within my role, I am able to learn from some of the most talented people in Bank Innovation today. FinTech is such an interesting field right now, and through Group Innovation, Barclays is helping to define the conversation about the future of Finance. I have a personal goal to bring Barclays great FinTech opportunities, and create meaningful collaborations in Israel’s HiTech scene. By mentoring and providing the relevant support, we should experience rewarding outcomes.

Barclays’ commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is so crucial to work within Innovation. At Rise Tel Aviv, we put a major emphasis on bringing diversity to FinTech, and believe that inclusivity in technology creates a stronger team and product. While meeting with companies, I am always looking for opportunities to partner with Impact startups, and Accessibility technology. Being able to empower startups that have fantastic social impact, while also making an impact in FinTech and banking, is a dream come true. As a new joiner to Barclays, I will work hard to always make sure our local staff is diverse, and that our startups are receiving the exposure and help that they need.

The Rise Ambassadors program is currently running in two locations, New York and London. Tel Aviv joined this program in May 2018, allowing Barclays employees to be involved and work closely with upcoming talented businesses.