Where It All Started
I met her in the fall of 1997 when I was a first-year student and Wellesley College. Cecilia was a sophomore and she was the type of woman who made an impression. In my mind, she was the super cool girl from New York City. She knew everybody and seemed to have it all together. We didn’t use hashtags back then, but she definitely embodied #BlackGirlMagic. Cecilia was the first person who told me, “Girl, you need a business card.” Never one to half step, she didn’t stop at just making the suggestion. She personally showed me how to design and format my business card. And if that wasn’t enough, she also took me to the campus print shop to get it done. Cecilia was always a hustler, a go-getter, the type to get it done. I always knew she would be a huge success, but I never imagined that she would relocate to London and set the FinTech (Financial Technology) industry on fire.
Cecilia is currently the COO for the technology division at a top financial services firm. Prior to her current position she served as the Chief Operating Officer of Markets and Securities Technology at Citigroup (London) and throughout her career she has also held positions at Barclays Capital, IBM, and Morgan Stanley. It’s a big deal and an inspiration for an unambiguously Black woman to rise to the executive level of any banking institution. Cecilia has done it more than once. She is the epitome of #blackgirlmagic and a testament to what happens when we #hustleandglow.
Where the Magic Happens
In addition to rising to the top ranks of the FinTech industry, the most magical thing about Cecilia is that she’s lifting as she climbs. She’s working on an initiative called Tech Women Today that focuses on connecting, attracting, and retaining more women in the tech industry. Cecilia has also been a champion of diversity in the industry and a mentor for women entering the field. Her commitment to diversity is based on more than her moral compass. She stresses that there’s a very practical reason why companies (especially tech companies) need a diverse workforce:
“The technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As a result of this fast growth there is the need to attract top talent and that requires a diverse group of resources to attract such talent. Diverse teams are more creative and bring different perspectives on how to solve problems. So it’s not surprising that there is a strong correlation between diverse companies and strong financial results. When the employees of an organization better represent their current users and target users, they will develop better technology for those users.”
Cecilia Harvey is an around the way girl who is blazing trails for women in tech all around the world. She’s changing the game and taking tech to the next level. Back in the day, her business card simply stated “Political Science Department.” Now it says “COO.” I predict that soon it’ll read, “CEO.”
Follow Cecilia Harvey on IG @imceciliaharvey
By Nicci Page @realglowandflow