100WFinTech Global Series 3: EMEA “The Makers of our FinTech Network: A Closer Look at the 100WF Innovators Working Behind the Curtain”

Jun 13, 2023

In April and May, we interviewed the chair of our global 100WomenFinTech (100WFinTech) and the US committee members who shared their stories and why they are engaged in this fintech visibility initiative. Today, we are featuring four committee members who are based in the EMEA region. They discussed why they have joined the global committee, describing how they are building the 100WFinTech network and how they see the fintech eco-system in their market.


Alicia Vidler (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Alicia Vidler is a senior financial market professional with over twenty years of experience in both buy-side and sell-side roles. With a strong background in quantitative portfolio management and market making, Alicia has built a reputation for developing and executing advanced quantitative strategies across major asset classes. From cofounding a machine learning hedge fund to advising global financial institutions on AI-driven solutions, Alicia has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in finance. With a passion for AI, data science, and complex systems, Alicia is dedicated to revolutionizing the industry and delivering transformative solutions to clients.

Outside of the professional realm, Alicia is dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowerment in finance. She has served as the former chairperson of the Australian branch of 100 Women in Finance (100WF), establishing the local chapter in 2018 and continuing to contribute as a member of the global advisory board and the 100WFinTech Committee. As a passionate advocate and supporter of women entering the technical and finance space, Alicia was drawn to join 100WFinTech to positively impact women’s experience in this space.

Israel, known abroad as the start-up nation, has experienced nearly twenty years of record growth and rapid advancements in all forms of tech businesses, including fintech. Looking across Israel’s fintech ecosystem, we see a thriving, diverse, and resilient landscape characterized by innovation, entrepreneurship, and strong government support. With a dense concentration of start-ups, accelerators, and venture capital firms, Israel has become a global fintech hub. Sectors including payments, wealth and capital markets technology, blockchain, regulatory technology, insurance technology, and AI-driven solutions all thrive. Collaborations between fintech companies and traditional financial institutions are common, fostering an environment of collaboration and growth. Israeli fintech start-ups have gained international recognition for their cutting-edge technologies, attracting significant investments and partnerships from global players.


Cecilia Mueller Chen (Zurich, Switzerland)

Cecilia is considered a visionary thought leader in the regulations and compliance space who is recognized by Finews as one of Crypto Valley’s Top Female Talents and a member of Prince Harry’s 100 hedge fund angels.

Entrusted by some of the world’s largest asset managers, investment banks, and the original bitcoin protocol owners for regulatory, compliance and risk requirements, operational assessments, and internal controls, Cecilia has managed the risks of funds exceeding USD1 trillion in assets under management (AUM) and products with a notional exceeding USD3 trillion. Her recommendations not only cover costs, some have yielded a seventy times return on investment. Additionally, she helps clients enter new markets, fulfill licensing requirements, roll out new products, and reach moonshot goals, such as fifty million clients.

Cecilia joined the global 100WFinTech Committee to elevate the visibility of other female fintech founders in the same way she has for CEOs, COOs, female portfolio managers, partners, and analysts during her time as cofounder and former chair of the 100 WHF Zurich Education Committee (2014–2016) while at UBS, inspiring colleagues while conversing with thought leaders and allocators from family offices, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, private equity firms, endowments, and asset managers.  To date, Cecilia has nominated Oi-Yee Choo, CEO of ADDX and Martha Sazon, CEO and President of GCash to the directory and looks forward to nominating and conversing with other inspiring female fintech leaders in EMEA and APAC.

Her own consultancy firm, Comply Now, gives individuals and corporations access to her unique breadth and depth of regulatory expertise to help them navigate the fast-changing world of risk and regulatory compliance amidst challenging business environments.


Lucia Okafor (London, UK)

Lucia is a banking and payments professional with over fifteen years of consulting and industry experience articulating and executing corporate, business, and digital payments strategies. She is a senior manager in the Monitor Deloitte Financial Services Team in London where she focuses on banking and payments. Prior to joining Deloitte, Lucia spent eleven years at PwC Nigeria and South Africa where she led notable large-scale projects, including the design and launch of eNaira, Africa’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC), and the design of South Africa’s first digital identity program. In between, Lucia spent 2.5 years as the head of digital business at Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank by profitability, leading the growth of its digital products portfolio and e-channels. She currently sits on the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) UK Financial Services Sector Panel.

Lucia was introduced to the 100WF when Amanda and the team were conducting research on potential locations in Africa. Enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to a meaningful initiative, she immediately signed up as a member and served on the 100WF South Africa Planning Committee.

Following her interview with Flutterwave’s CEO, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, on the 100WF platform, Kenzy invited Lucia to join the 100WFintech Global Visibility Committee to help coordinate the launch in Africa. She was charged with identifying the right people within her network to lead the initiatives in Africa. Lucia brought Folasade Femi-Lawal on board, who did a remarkable job bringing top women leaders in the fintech ecosystem to launch the first 100WFintech location in Africa.

Although based in London, Lucia continues to drive initiatives to build the 100WFintech platform in her home country of Nigeria and amplify the voices of women who are accomplishing great things by making a positive impact across Africa’s fintech space.


Folasade Femi-Lawal (Nigeria, Africa)

Folasade Femi-Lawal is a senior executive and Harvard business executive education-trained digital payment expert with more than twenty-five years of experience spanning retail banking, business advisory services, and telecoms. She is passionate about financial inclusion and led the team that launched digital payments to rural volunteers working in the northern region of Nigeria, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund, to eradicate polio in Nigeria. In addition, in 2021 she led the launch of the FirstBank Virtual Card, an innovative digital payment system created in response to the COVID pandemic. She also led the launch of the award-winning integrated lifestyle mobile banking app, FirstMobile, that won both the Global Finance Award for Best Digital Bank of Distinction in 2016, 2017, 2020, and 2021 as well as the Asian Banker Award for the Best Mobile Payments & Best Digital Bank Awards in 2016 and 2017. Folasade is a visible leader in the banking industry and several professional women’s associations who is a change agent applying her leadership skills as a mentor, sponsor, and advocate to support other women in advancing their careers locally and globally.

Folasade was introduced to 100WFinance in May 2021 through a TheBoardRoom Africa acquaintance, Maureen Nkwenti, while Lucia Okafor made the 100WFintech Global Visibility Committee introduction in June 2022 based on her passionate endeavors to enhance the visibility of professional women, especially within the fintech ecosystem in Africa and beyond.

Folasade was featured, alongside other female finance executives, in Amanda Pullinger’s maiden visit to Nigeria, and Folasade was privileged to host Amanda at the recent launch of 100W FinTech in Nigeria at an event called Breakfast with Amanda Pullinger and Female Fintech Leaders.

The highly successful breakfast attracted about ninety women (onsite and virtual combined), including CEOs, female founders, and members of the fintech ecosystem in Nigeria who provided a valuable opportunity for networking, learning, and exchanging ideas. The following are the key takeaways from the engaging discussion that took place between the panelists:

  1. There is a need for women to collaborate. Collaborating with other organizations to work toward the same goal could help accelerate progress and promote the spread of knowledge across various fields.
  2. It is important for women to be bold and brave. Prevailing cultural beliefs in Nigeria are obstructing the progress of women in fintech and STEM which, in turn, hinders financial inclusion. Developments in the Nigerian fintech and financial industry are neither a trend nor a bubble. Instead, they are crucial in driving economic growth and improving the consumers’ lives.
  3. In the realm of fintech, the customer holds a significant position of authority. As a result, it is imperative to prioritize customer-centric infrastructure design and simplify processes, such as credit procedures, to the point of effortless execution.
  4. Recognize and showcase the value of women’s participation in the fintech sector. The accomplishments and contributions of women in the industry should be made visible.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit the recording of the event here.


A list of upcoming events organized or co-hosted by 100WfinTech is presented below:
  • June 15, 2023, Los Angeles, USA – Digital Evolution Institute Conference sponsored by Alphamille, 100WF, 100WFinTech, and others.
  • June 20, 2023, London, UK – How to keep digital assets in safe custody post-FTX.
  • June 21, 2023, Webinar – How Adoption of Emerging Technology Can Transform Your Business and Career. Panel speakers include Sue English Mazzetti, Quorum; Esi Minta-Jacobs, AssetMark; Marianne O, Lumen Global Investments; Serena Perin Vinton, Franklin Templeton; Ramya Durga Krishnaganth, Uvid Consulting (moderator); jointly produced by 100WF, 100WFinTech, and Financial Women of San Francisco.
  • June 21, 2023, London, UK – Market Innovator (MI3) Academic Conference hosted by Plato Partnership with leading academics and practitioners discussing the most pertinent topics in capital markets.
  • June 27, 2023, New York, USA – FinTech Connect North America with speakers including Nisa Amoils, 100x Ventures, and Lydia Ofori, Hunters Lab Technologies, who will moderate a panel.

This is part of our committee profile. We are a global committee with members in the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. To learn more, please check out our series in the next four months.

If you are interested in partnering with us at 100 Women in FinTech, please visit our website and contact us here.