How Holvi is driving sustainable diversity
As BBVA-backed digital banking service Holvi continues to build momentum, we spoke with its CEO, Antti-Jussi (AJ) Suominen, who shares his insight on how to build sustainable diversity and inclusion in business.
Creating the foundations for diversity and inclusion is an essential component to building a forward-thinking company that seeks to create lasting solutions for its customers. Entrepreneur Antti-Jussi (AJ) Suominen, CEO, Holvi, has worked across the entirety of his career to provide companies with the relevant tools to promote diversity. As a BBVA-backed digital banking service, Holvi operates across Europe. We sat down with him to discuss how his experience supports the fintech company’s growth.
[Image: Antti-Jussi (AJ) Suominen, CEO, Holvi]
“Diversity and inclusion are two things that I have always taken very seriously throughout my career,” he said. “I think that it is essential to keep diversity at the centre of a fast growth business, otherwise you can lose sight of what you are trying to achieve: innovation. To ensure we are getting a holistic view, Holvi has built a sustainable culture where more than one voice is heard.”
“Whereas many businesses used to treat diversity as a box-ticking exercise, they now rightly view it, and inclusion, as a route to success. It’s important that employees of a company think differently and approach situations from different angles, and I think there is definitely more of a focus on ensuring other voices are heard in comparison to 20 years ago. The corporate approach towards diversity is clearly transitioning from reactive to proactive, which is of course a positive change, but one that can still be improved. We’ve come a long way but there is always more that can be done,” he continued
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Suominen noted that everyone at Holvi understands the importance of diversity to building an inclusive culture. “Our team consists of more than 25 different nationalities and we always look to hire open-minded, curious people who are keen to learn new things and meet new people,” He says. As Holvi has expanded across Europe, this approach has proved invaluable to understanding different markets and the needs of our consumers across the continent.
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Frictionless banking, the Salesforce way
Alan Donnelly has enjoyed a long and successful career in the IT and financial services industry. He has worked with banks, insurers, payments companies, fintechs and more in support of business transformation programmes for some of the biggest names in the business for the past 27 years.
Today, he’s head of financial services for Salesforce UK, the leading global, cloud-based CRM platform that integrates customers and companies. Donnelly is also currently leading the Salesforce operation that is digitally transforming the UK arm of the Madrid-based Santander Group.
“I have had the pleasure of working with many financia
l institutions over many years,” he says. “Typically, it was involved in helping customers build big banking systems and banking platforms that ran what we would call systems of record. But now, as I've moved into Salesforce and we're building our financial services business, we are really now helping our customers engage with their customers.”
The partnership withSantander is a multi channel operation that sees Salesforce helping the bank to engage better with corporate clients and retail customers via their branches and the internet, says Donnelly.
“We're also helping them with customers, who maybe wish to acquire mortgages and mortgages for the life events. I guess it's a multi connectivity environment. But in every case, Santander needs to understand the customer's requirements and better serve those customers in the right time and the right fashion,” Donnelly explains
He adds, “I also think the ability to contact customers whenever they need help and support, as we've seen in the recent pandemic, has proven critical - so I think technology is definitely much more connectable and effective than it was before.”