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Andrea Michael
Senior Account Executive
by Jake Liban Pezzack

A richness of experience, a selection of executive roles, a swathe of professional honours... Andrea Michael has carved out a remarkable career, with various accolades that testify to the fact. Interviewing Andrea via telephone, I'm struck by her accomplishments, but perhaps more notably, her unconventional route into the world of Finance.

Born to a Greek-Cypriot family, Andrea spoke both Greek and English whilst growing up in Essex, England. A bilingual upbringing cultivated a keen interest in language study. 'I think my linguistic passions became apparent at GCSE, and from there, the natural progression was A-Level, and then logically, University.' Attaining an BSc honours degree in Professional Languages, Andrea entered the workforce as a dexterous multilinguist. Speaking English, Greek, Italian and Spanish, her language skills would serve her well when dealing with clients and a variety of contrasting work environments.

"I'd always had a natural flair for languages. I never thought I'd make the transition into the world of finance, but when the opportunity presented itself, I took it."
Working across a variety of roles in London's financial hub, Andrea was able to combine a pre-established skill set with new-fangled knowledge. An assortment of client-centric roles refined her knowledge of the markets, leading to her first senior level position in December 2012.

'As a Senior Sales Executive, I managed a team of around seven account managers, ensuring that the atmosphere remained competitive and challenging. I oversaw the acquisition of clients for around a year, before leaving to co-head the Institutional Sales department at JFD Prime.'

During this time, Andrea moved out to Cyprus, downgrading the hustle and bustle of city life for something more intimate and controlled. Describing the initial phases of apprehension, Andrea remembers this decision with pride.

'It was a very spontaneous decision, and to be frank, completely out of character. But in the end, it had a massively positive effect on my career. I adjusted to more tranquil surroundings, and really discovered my own sense of autonomy during those years.'

Providing liquidity for Institutional Brokers, Andrea served as JFD's Managing Director. Here, she was able to transfer JFD's instruments to her clients' servers via a 'bridge' - a service that combined various asset classes in one collaborative interface. She remained in the role for three years before being scouted by EXANTE.

'I was really impressed with the broadness of products on offer. I also appreciated the fact that EXANTE operated a regulated environment in which crypto could be traded. Combine this with the transparency of the firm's strategy, and I was sold!'

Based in her native Essex, Andrea currently serves as one of the company's Senior Account Executives, personally managing a variety of accounts and portfolios.
How do you feel EXANTE champions and supports their female employees?
EXANTE is a company with an incredibly diverse workforce. I feel proud to work in such an inclusive environment, where people are emboldened and encouraged to achieve their full potential. Individuals are supported, and input from a variety of perspectives is always welcomed. This support is extended across the board, regardless of gender.
Tell us more about your current role. What excites you most about working for EXANTE?
I currently work as a Senior Account Executive. I'm responsible for supervising EXANTE's products and services. In essence, I'm the key point of contact. I maintain and build relationships with our clients and partners, ensuring that they always receive the best service possible.

I love the fast-paced environment. It's competitive, stimulating and rewarding. A really great culture exists within this firm. I have the opportunity to work for a diverse range of clients, and the spirit of what I do is always collaborative. In turn, this provides me with fresh daily challenges, and constant opportunities to improve. I'm afforded a consistent sense of self-improvement, which always makes my work engaging.
Is there a particular accomplishment you've been most proud of?
In 2007, I orgnaised a sponsored walk for vulnerable children in Cyprus. The event went on to raise substantial funds in aid of child welfare support.

At EXANTE, I've managed to consistently surpass all of my Sales targets. I've also mentored various coworkers, striving to impart guidance and leadership wherever I can. Witnessing the results of that support is fantastic. I love to see people realising their potential.
How do you think we can incentivise more women to pursue careers in the FinTech sector?
I think we should promote an inclusive work environment. Gender equality needs to be foregrounded as an essential part of a company's work ethos. Providing women with tangible opportunities to advance their careers is essential. Empty quotas won't suffice. We need meaningful motivation that serves a purpose!
What have been some of the most challenging aspects of your career? How did you surmount those obstacles?
Throughout my career, I've had to work within a variety of different cultures. I think adaptability is such an important aspect of professional life. Learning to grasp and understand differing approaches is an integral part of overcoming challenges. I've employed a combination of discipline and patience when surmounting my own personal obstacles. I've learnt when it's appropriate to listen, and when I need to make my voice heard.
Who or what has been the principal guiding force in your work life?
That's easy. Me!
Who are some of your heroes?
I've always admired Barack Obama. I think he's really authentic and passionate. He's always championed equal rights, and obviously, his historical impact is undeniable. He's a phenomenal orator, and generally, just an extraordinary human being.

I also find Richard Branson inspiring. He's incredibly successful, but I think he's managed to retain a sense of modesty. He's also a staunch advocate for his workers' rights. As a company leader, I think that's crucial to running a successful business.
What is something that people usually get wrong about you?
As a woman within the finance industry, I have often felt undervalued in a male-dominated sphere. Even though I doubted myself, I persevered. I retained composure and dedication, and proved everyone wrong. Because of that discipline, I got to where I am today.
What advice would you give to ambitious young women starting out in their careers?
Stand up for what you believe in. Be confident, be strong, be open. Build connections that feel meaningful, and trust your instincts. And always ensure you're in an environment where your work is valued, and where you can grow.