As a pioneer and industry leader in the fintech space, Monica Eaton, founder and CEO of Chargebacks911, has been a relentless advocate for bridging the gender divide within STEM. Through her LIFT: Elevating Women in Fintech initiative and Paid for Grades program, Eaton strives to make a profound impact on the lives of aspiring youth and women in the fintech industry, helping them realize their potential and creating a workforce pipeline for STEM companies.
TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- According to Axios, less than 10% of all fintech companies worldwide are founded or co-founded by women.1 As a female business owner in the fintech sector, Monica Eaton, founder and CEO of Chargebacks911, has seen this gender disparity firsthand, largely attributing it to a lack of senior-level female mentors available to foster the next generation of women in tech. This problem exists in many STEM-related fields. In 2023, women comprise only 24% of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce in the United States.2 To help break this stigma, Eaton is lending her platform and voice to create growth opportunities for women of all ages to break down these barriers through her LIFT and Paid for Grades programs.
LIFT: Elevating Women in Fintech is a free mentorship program connecting female leaders in the fintech sector with those trying to find their way within the industry. Once participants identify their professional challenges, they are paired with a mentor ideally suited to their unique needs who can provide invaluable advice for their mentee to put into action to elevate their career. Female pioneers in the industry, like Eaton, can share their experiences and lessons learned with the next generation, who can pay it forward to the generation that follows and perpetuate the cycle of women supporting women.
"LIFT provides mentorship, guidance, and networking opportunities to women, empowering them to break through pre-conceived barriers and thrive in a traditionally male-dominated field. By fostering a supportive community, our infectious efforts help level perceptions and foster pathways for success," says Eaton. "For those yet to enter the workforce, our Paid for Grades program continues to make a remarkable difference in the lives of young individuals, equipping them with the tools and resources they need to excel academically."
For students, self-esteem is often tied to their ability to develop skills in areas such as math, spelling, and social relationships. According to the American Psychological Association, both confidence and competence play a part in how students approach learning and how they recover in the face of failure or adversity. Low self-esteem can lead to self-doubt, which can deter students from pursuing academic challenges and may manifest further into feelings of guilt, frustration, and social disengagement. Building self-esteem can be accomplished through personal or academic successes, even small ones.3 Paid for Grades, a nonprofit established by Eaton and backed by local Tampa Bay businesses, is a self-improvement initiative that aims to provide students with these academic successes.
In collaboration with the Pinellas Education Foundation, Paid for Grades strives to equip students with the skills and self-assurance necessary for academic and personal success. Founded in 2013, Paid for Grades was inspired by Eaton's own experience as a COO of a rapidly expanding tech company. Eaton hired local high school students for entry-level positions but recognized that many lacked the confidence and essential skills necessary to perform their jobs. With this realization, Eaton set out to provide educators, administrators, and at-risk students with the resources needed to help them succeed, build confidence, and excel academically.
Paid for Grades offers high school students the opportunity to earn $500 in cash for meeting designated program goals, participating in workshops, and completing an online life skills course. This cash reward serves as a concrete motivation for students to stay engaged, which leads to increased confidence, better grades, and improved practical life skills.
This year, the program experienced its highest-ever participation, with students, educators, and schools receiving nearly $206,000 in donations and awards. Over 200 freshmen from three Pinellas County high schools received $500 each. Mentors were rewarded $400 each, and schools earned $100 per student for programs and supplies. Paid for Grades has seen hundreds of local students increase their GPA, make marked improvements in reading comprehension, and gain invaluable skills that foster a more confident, purpose-driven outlook beyond the classroom.
Initially funded entirely by Eaton's company,Chargebacks911®, the program now enjoys generous support from Florida's business leaders and philanthropists, 100% of which directly supports students and schools. To date, Paid for Grades has donated more than $1.2 million to participating students, mentors, and schools.
Eaton says, "Through LIFT and Paid for Grades, we are committed to nurturing the next generation of fintech leaders, fostering diversity, and driving positive change in the industry. By investing in the education, mentorship, and empowerment of youth and women, we are building a more inclusive and innovative future for fintech. Together, we can break down barriers and create limitless possibilities for all."
Women in fintech who would like to participate in the LIFT program as either a mentor or mentee can find more information at https://monicaec.com/lift-elevating-women-through-mentorship.
About Monica Eaton
As an acclaimed entrepreneur, speaker, and author,‥Monica‥Eaton‥is widely recognized as a thought leader in the FinTech industry and a champion of women in technology. She established her entrepreneurial credentials upon selling her first business at the age of 19. When a subsequent eCommerce venture was plagued by revenue-leeching chargebacks and fraud, Eaton rose to the challenge by developing a robust solution that combined human insight and agile technology. Today, her innovations are used by thousands of companies worldwide, cementing her reputation as one of the payment industry's foremost experts in risk management, chargeback mitigation, and fraud prevention. Monica Eaton is honored to be the recipient of various industry awards. Her own expertise, as well as the services provided by her companies, has been recognized as outstanding by her peers and other industry leaders. Visit‥http://www.monicaec.com.
1. Women Fintech Founders Are Rare across a Booming Industry - Axios, axios.com/2022/03/08/women-fintech-founders-rare. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.
2. "The Gender Gap in Stem." MIT Professional Education, 8 Aug. 2023, professionalprograms.mit.edu/blog/leadership/the-gender-gap-in-stem/#:~:text=In%202023%2C%20the%20gender%20gap,28%25%20of%20the%20STEM%20workforce.;text=If%20we%20look%20at%20places,iv%20and%2014%25%20in%20India.
3. "Students Experiencing Low Self-Esteem or Low Perceptions of Competence." American Psychological Association, apa.org/ed/schools/primer/self-esteem#:~:text=Self%2Desteem%20and%20perceived%20competence,take%20appropriate%20academic%20growth%20risks. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.
Karla Jo Helms, JOTO PR™, 727-777-4619, [email protected], jotopr.com