EWPN – Breaking down boundaries for a brave new world

Friday 13 October 2023 12:01 CET | Editor: Raluca Ochiana | Interview

The EWPN’ annual conference & Awards brought together its community from all over Europe to discuss the business, technology, leadership and regulatory aspects of this brave new world and how to deal with both the challenges and opportunities along the way.


Consumers and businesses are changing the way we interact and revolutionising the way we create, store and exchange value.

New technologies, virtual worlds, digital marketplaces, and increased awareness of community values like sustainability and inclusion, offer great opportunities to build bridges and break down unnecessary boundaries across our industry and far beyond.

Can you tell us more about the themes of this year’s annual event?

The anchoring theme for this year’s event is Breaking down boundaries for a brave new world.

Evolving technology, virtual worlds, digital marketplaces, and increased awareness of the importance of community values like sustainability and inclusion offer great opportunities to build a truly inclusive and sustainable world in which boundaries are fading and silos are broken down.

We are completely changing the way we interact, using new communication channels, multiple identities and innovating the way we create, store and exchange value. What does this mean for the payments and fintech industry and how can we make sure we are not left behind? What do the next 10 years in the financial services industry look like?

What does breaking down boundaries mean for important concepts like diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability?

Breaking down boundaries in concepts like diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability means actively removing obstacles that hinder progress in these areas. It entails promoting the inclusion of individuals from various backgrounds, dismantling systemic inequalities, ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected, and adopting a holistic approach to address global challenges. This approach fosters a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world by recognising the interconnections between these concepts and promoting collaboration among diverse individuals and groups. In essence, it signifies a commitment to creating a fairer and more accessible society where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive, while also addressing environmental and social concerns for the benefit of present and future generations.

What are some of the principles that underpin the EWPN, and who is it for?

The European Women Payments Network (EWPN) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering a community within the fintech and payments sector. EWPN's mission extends beyond gender, aiming to create opportunities for all minorities and champion a more diverse and inclusive industry. This is achieved through local networking events, an annual international event and awards ceremony, and research initiatives to advance these goals.

At EWPN, we view ourselves not merely as an organisation but as a movement. We consist of individuals within the fintech, and payments field committed to effecting real change. Our movement thrives on fostering difficult yet essential conversations for impactful industry transformation. It's a community of leaders, innovators, change-makers, and those willing to stir things up to drive progress.

What is different about this year’s annual event & awards that we have not seen elsewhere or in previous renditions?

First off, we have moved our Annual Event for the first time to Vienna, Austria. This was a strategic decision to also focus more on the DACH and CEE regions.

The event itself is more intimate, with an even higher focus on diversity and inclusion, as well as some very focused industry-related topics.

Which gains can still be made in our industries?

In the fintech and payments industry, we've made substantial strides in gender diversity, but our work is not yet complete. While progress has been significant, there's more to achieve, including enhancing gender diversity in senior leadership and technical roles. At EWPN, we believe it's time to pivot our focus, broadening the scope of diversity and inclusion to encompass crucial aspects like race, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, and neurodiversity, thereby fostering a more comprehensive approach to diversity.

What would you say are the most valuable outcomes/success stories that have come out from the EWPN in general, and the annual event & awards in particular?

It’s a wonderful and rare occasion to have sincere and deep conversations about technical and business issues, as well as leadership and balance between being a human and an individual in collective spaces. The annual awards focus on recognising individuals making tremendous contributions to the industry and organisations at the forefront in promoting EWPN values. Awards such as ‘Sustainable Business Champion of the Year’, ‘Positive Troublemaker Award’ – Barbara Sessa (Senior Vice President – Digital Consumer Products Europe at Mastercard) Winner 2023, ‘Fintech/Payments Leader of the Year’ – Joanne Dewar (Board advisor and Diversity Champion) Winner 2023. Our success story is that we bring to light the many issues marginalised groups face in the payments industry and try to identify how we can solve these issues together.

Most importantly, the event is open to everyone, and it is not like any other payments industry event. We make real connections, we shed light on topics that are not often discussed and give platform and voice to those who are often overlooked.

Key conference takeaways

This year's EWPN event was an exceptional gathering that provided a unique space for open and heartfelt discussions encompassing technical intricacies, business strategies, leadership dynamics, and the delicate balance between individuality and collective progress within the payments industry. The annual awards played a pivotal role in highlighting and celebrating remarkable individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry and organisations that are leading the way in promoting the core values of EWPN. Notable awards, such as the ‘Sustainable Business Champion of the Year’, ‘Positive Troublemaker Award’ presented to Barbara Sessa in 2023, Senior Vice President of Digital Consumer Products Europe at Mastercard, and ‘Fintech/Payments Leader of the Year’ awarded to Joanne Dewar this year, a Board advisor, and Diversity Champion, exemplify the commitment to driving positive change.

The true success story of EWPN lies in its ability to shed light on the myriad challenges faced by marginalised groups within the payments industry and, more importantly, in its commitment to collaborative problem-solving. What sets this event apart is its inclusivity; it's not your typical industry gathering. Here, authentic connections are forged, and underrepresented topics receive the attention they deserve, giving a platform and voice to individuals and groups who are often overlooked. In essence, the annual EWPN event and awards serve as a beacon of progress, bringing together diverse perspectives to create a more inclusive and equitable future for the payments industry.

Alana Condratov

Alana Condratov is a new Business Director at Freemarket. An expert in sales, Alana specialises in the payments industry. At Freemarket, Alana is the main point of contact for payment service providers, and she helps them solve their cross-border payments needs. Alana is a powerful force in the workplace. She is a transcultural communicator and leader, having worked in international organisations throughout her career. Born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Alana grew up in the UK and currently resides in Vienna, Austria. Alana is a board member of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN), Money2020 RiseUp Academy alumni.


About EWPN

The European Women Payments Network (EWPN) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to building a community for people in the fintech & payments space. EWPN strives to create more opportunities not only for women but all minorities, being a champion for a more diverse and inclusive industry for all. EWPN does this by organising local networking events, an international Annual Event & Awards ceremony, as well as through research to promote its goals.

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Keywords: marketplace, fintech, payments , financial inclusion, digitalisation
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: EWPN
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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