This interview was originally featured in Tech For Equity Updates — a biweekly newsletter about Change Machine’s platform, including upcoming trainings, and insights from our community of practice. Subscribe today!
Meet Gabriela Berumen, one of our Convening for Change panelists and the Bay Area Manager with Building Skills Partnership (BSP)! In her role, Gabriela is responsible for overseeing BSP’s workforce development, immigrant integration and community advancement programming in the San Francisco Bay Area. We supported BSP, one of the NALCAB cohort members, by integrating fintech into their financial security programs.
Gabriela was among the practitioners at November’s Convening for Change. We encourage you to revisit this webinar to learn how nonprofit practitioners and fintech developers can collaborate to examine fintech gaps and drive equity in the fintech sector.
How can practitioners and fintech continue collaborating post-events like Convening for Change?
As practitioners, we hear what our clients need and we have an idea of what app features would support them. Being in the same room with the people who are building fintech tools is really important because we have the feedback they need to actually create a tool that’s going to be helpful.
The conversation we had was really helpful because it created a space for the practitioner and the fintech tool-builder to converse. Instead of getting feedback once it’s fully created, a potential solution would be an advisory board to give the product feedback as it’s being built out. I know practitioners’ time is very limited, but if those meetings are short and intentional, they could be really fruitful.
How has COVID impacted the way the communities you serve adopt and use fintech?
Although COVID has brought on many challenges, I also see how it’s created a lot of opportunities for our clients to become more integrated into mainstream financial services, specifically fintech tools. In our community there’s still a lot of workers who were not open to online banking before COVID. Now I’ve seen a shift — customers are getting to a point where they are accepting and realizing they have to adapt.
It gives us an opportunity as practitioners to make that process easy for them and show the benefits that can come out of it. So yes, maybe this is not a change that they were foreseeing — at least not so fast — but it doesn’t have to be a terrible change. COVID taught us that our clients are really adaptable. Now there is this opportunity to talk to our customers about the importance of using technology.
To learn more on the development and early implementation of Change Machine’s own fintech assessment and recommendation process, read our blog series highlighting our Seal of Inclusivity!