Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Maria Blanca
Happy International Women’s Day (IWD 2022)! In our second episode of the Neat Empowering Women Entrepreneurs series, we have invited Maria Blanca, co-founder of Womentor and Head of Operations at Carbonbase to talk about her experience in the startup field.
Can you share a bit about your background?
I started my career in the corporate finance sector. After being with Citibank for 7 years, I took some gap years to focus on my family. I, later on, moved on to be a business advisor for startups during unprecedented times.
I officially co-founded my own business, Womentors, which focuses on establishing D&I strategies for companies and is committed to helping women remain active in the workforce at every stage of their journey.
More recently I’ve joined Carbonbase as their new Head of operations. Carbonbase develops innovative methods to record, create and represent carbon offset through technological advancements in ImpactNFTs, powering funds to support regenerative and conservation projects.
What inspired you to move from corporate banking to the startup field?
I’m a strong believer that being a long-life learner is extremely valuable. I knew where I wanted to get to, so I did my ACCA accounting qualification and successfully landed a role with Citibank, where I was helping to manage the Global Transactions services P&L, budgeting, and forecasting in Ireland. That’s where I gained most of my experience in giving business advice to C-suite executives.
I’ve always known that I didn’t want to stay working for a multinational firm long term. After taking a few years of mumbreak, I wasn’t 100% sure if I should go back to corporate banking. I figured, why don’t I apply my experience and knowledge to help small businesses continue to grow? Some people may find the continuous changes in startups stressful, but I find it exciting but also very rewarding.
What does Carbonbase have that attracts you?
I’ve always been drawn to the sustainability sector and have been conscious of the urgency around climate change. Climate change has become the biggest threat facing mankind. The massive burning of fossil fuels, the unregulated emissions of greenhouse gasses and more have led to many catastrophic consequences. When I came across this great opportunity at Carbonbase, I was very excited as their mission and vision resonated well with my personal beliefs and values. Our team is one of our biggest assets, it’s a growing team and we are very dynamic, diverse and flexible. We have staff working in Hong Kong, the US, Europe and India. This kind of diversity allows us to see things from different perspectives which are key when designing innovative solutions.
I’m also very excited about our fintech platform that Carbonbase is working on to facilitate sustainable transitions for enterprises and individuals to take effective climate action. We are currently designing business model solutions through digital assets and metaverse, that bridge the difference between the “Cost of linear economy model and circular economy model.” Can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.
What advice would you give to people who wanted to start their own business?
You always need to remain relevant in the field you work in. The concept of life-long learning is extremely important. The more you understand the state of the market, the more you know where you can add value. Once you have an idea of where you want to be, plan backward and work your way up.
As an example, I just recently completed my certificate with the Advisory Board chair programme, as I knew that made sense at the current stage of my career. Not only did I learn relevant key knowledge, I also got to build an incredible network of insightful leaders, which proves to be invaluable for my business.
In case you’ve missed it, check out our other interviews:
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Mengyi Li, founder of Meli Business Solutions
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Huguette Ova, co-founder and CMO of GEARXPro Sports
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Laura Saperstein, CEO of BOXXERWORLD
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Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW) provides a platform for women and to learn and network as well as companies to market their business events and expertise to an engaged community of 20,000+ influential women members throughout Asia. FEW Consulting offers business consultations to women-led businesses and MNCs that care about inclusion diversity and sustainability. Our clients include small-medium to large companies from real estate, mobility technology, and lifestyle sectors. Learn more.