Reach for the STARs at Sibos

Deutsche Bank’s Nafisa Fayzullaeva-Michler joins the Sibos 2022 cohort of Sibos Talent Accelerator Route (STAR) scholars, and Najma Salman is appointed a STAR mentor in Amsterdam

Launched in London  on the first day of Sibos 2019, the Sibos Talent Accelerator Route scholarship, designed to empower professional women by accelerating their knowledge skills and self-confidence as future leaders, has since gone from strength to strength.

SWIFT member banks are invited to nominate high potential female employees to participate, and the scholarship includes a free full week pass to Sibos that offers a dedicated programme tailored to the selected participants. The scholars get to meet speakers, leaders and senior mentors and have access to private networking events.

“It was an absolutely amazing opportunity,” says Claudia Ebel, Deutsche Bank’s Head of ICM, TFFI and KYC Strategy and Change Management. In an on-site video interview, she shared one highlight which was not only meeting the other women on the scholarship but identifying similar challenges and opportunities so that they could discuss potential solutions. Many of these have their roots in “leveraging and using data” – a trend that is even more pronounced three years on.1

Despite the two-year hiatus of in-person events caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this global initiative gathered momentum virtually, with 25 women signed up from 16 countries for Sibos 2022 Amsterdam.

Deutsche Bank’s former STAR scholars confirm that the programme does what it says on the tin – accelerate. “For someone who would not typically get a chance to attend the conference, it’s also a great chance to experience Sibos,” said Karyna Hutarovich, Deutsche Bank’s STAR scholar of 2020 and part of the bank’s SWIFT and Market Infrastructures team.2 “It’s not just a conference but the highlight of the year.” In her video commentaries she adds that it is important to select the sessions that relate and add value to the day job when mapping out the schedule.

In 2021, the bank’s STAR scholar Adriana Seidl (Solution Structurer from the banks’ Institutional Cash Management team) conducted a series of daily interviews with her peers as part of the Festival of Finance digital platform. They addressed core issues such as risk management, ESG and managing change that she had already been discussing as part of her scholar programme.3

Deutsche Bank STAR scholar 2022

Joining the scholars this year in Amsterdam is Nafisa Fayzullaeva-Michler, a clearing solutions specialist in Institutional Cash Management, with more than 10 years’ experience in the banking industry.

“Digital, real-time access to our money allows us to access information about our finances at the click of a button”
Nafisa Fayzullaeva-Michler, Clearing Solutions Specialist, Institutional Cash Management, Deutsche Bank

Originally from Uzbekistan where she grew up following the country’s independence from the USSR in August 1991, Nafisa speaks Uzbek, Tadjik and Russian as well as other Central Asian and Turkic languages. Being selected for this year’s Sibos STAR scholarship programme aligns perfectly with her vision of financial inclusion and democratising finance.

“As Uzbekistan started opening to the world, so did my education,” she recalls. “Books on economics, banking and finance started to become available to me. This was the beginning of my personal and professional financial literacy – and therefore the topic remains a driving force behind my work and personal life.”

Her passion was mathematics, but the post-Soviet educational system prepared its math prodigies to become rocket scientists rather than more everyday applications such as personal finance and budgeting.

Echoing several of Marion Laboure’s insights, she sees fintech as key to democratising finance. “The financial technologies that excite me the most are the ones that foster and encourage financial literacy and inclusion,” she adds. “Digital, real-time access to our money allows us to access information about our finances at the click of a button. This will also be a great step forward in teaching us to manage our finances better, as well as build-up trusted relationships with our banks.”

Fayzullaeva-Michler appears on Sibos TV, Wednesday 12 October at 14.10 where she will talk about her STAR Scholars programme experience as well as transformation in cross-border payments

Also participating this year as a mentor is Najma Salman, Deutsche Bank’s Co-Head Cash and Trade Middle East and Africa. She will be supporting a small group of women as part of the programme by identifying obstacles and barriers – and helping mentees overcome them.

Note: Header photo ©SWIFT