Monica Eaton is the Founder and CEO of Chargebacks911 and Fi911, as well as Chief Information Officer of Global Risk Technologies. Monica has worked tirelessly to educate merchants and financial institutions about hidden threats in the rapidly changing payment fraud landscape. In addition, she is a passionate diversity advocate committed to developing and sharing innovative solutions that empower the global fintech space. She has earned numerous awards, distinctions and special recognitions, including the Retail Systems Awards, where she received the ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement Award’ and was named ‘Global Leader of the Year’ at the Women in IT Awards.

In this interview, she marks IWD 2024 by discussing how to increase and empower women in business in general and STEM in particular.

EPI: How can we increase the number of women working in STEM?

Monica Eaton, Founder and CEO of Chargebacks911

The journey to increasing women’s participation in the tech industry is multifaceted and requires a concerted effort from both individuals and organisations. At Chargebacks911 and Fi911, we recognise the critical need for more female representation in tech and are committed to driving this change through several key initiatives.

Firstly, addressing the gender gap in tech starts early. Despite similar levels of access to STEM-related extracurricular activities, only 63% of female Gen Zers between 12 and 26 years old express interest in STEM topics compared to 85% of their male counterparts. We must inspire and encourage young girls to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This involves creating engaging educational programs, providing mentorship, and showcasing female role models in tech. It’s about breaking the stereotype that technology is a male-dominated field and making it an accessible and appealing choice for girls from a young age.

Secondly, within the workplace, fostering an environment where women feel supported and valued is crucial. This means implementing policies that promote diversity and inclusion, offering flexible working conditions, and actively seeking to eliminate gender bias in hiring and promotion processes. Mentorship and professional development opportunities specifically tailored for women can also significantly retain and advance women in their tech careers.

Additionally, we need to amplify the voices and accomplishments of women in tech. By highlighting their successes and leadership, we provide tangible examples of what women can achieve in this field, challenging outdated perceptions and inspiring more women to enter and thrive in the tech industry.

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Lastly, collaboration across sectors is key. By partnering with educational institutions, other tech companies, and policymakers, we can create a more comprehensive approach to addressing the systemic barriers women face in pursuing tech careers.

Getting more women into tech is not a task for a single entity; it’s a collective mission that requires persistent effort, innovative strategies, and a commitment to change from all of us in the industry.”

EPI: How can we empower more women to become entrepreneurs?

Monica Eaton:

In the journey to empower more women to become business founders, visibility and representation are the first and perhaps most critical steps. Women need to see themselves reflected in entrepreneurial and leadership roles. This representation is not just inspirational; it’s a beacon, signalling that these aspirations are attainable. At our company, we’re committed to being those role models, to show that women not only belong in the boardroom but can also drive innovation and success.

Creating opportunities is essential. It’s not enough to tell women they can achieve their goals; we must actively guide and support them in this pursuit. In my experience, every successful business owner has a duty to extend opportunities to the next generation. Mentorship is also key. For example, our LIFT: Elevating Women in Fintech mentorship program is designed to open doors for young women, connecting them with female C-suite executives who can share with them the tools and encouragement they need to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Lastly, implementing diversity quotas is another practical step. While sometimes controversial, these quotas are crucial for creating a balanced and fair playing field. They help eliminate unconscious biases in hiring and promotion, ensuring women have equal opportunities to advance and lead.

EPI: What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the tech industry?

Monica Eaton:

As a woman who has navigated the ebbs and flows of the tech industry, my advice to young women aspiring to enter this field is rooted in both my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. First and foremost, believe in your abilities and values. The tech industry, while challenging, offers immense opportunities for innovation, creativity and making a real impact. Do not be deterred by the gender gap; instead, view it as an opportunity to bring your unique perspective and skills to the table.

Embrace learning – technology is an ever-evolving landscape, and staying curious and adaptable is key. Seek knowledge not just in your specific area of interest but also in related fields. This holistic understanding will make you a versatile and valuable team member.

Networking and mentorship are critical to opening new windows of opportunity. Connect with peers, join tech groups and seek mentors who can guide and inspire you. Remember, mentorship is a two-way street; it’s about learning and contributing your own insights and ideas.

Develop a thick skin and learn to navigate challenges with resilience. The path won’t always be smooth, but each obstacle is an opportunity to grow and refine your problem-solving skills.

Finally, advocate for yourself and others. Celebrate your accomplishments, speak up for what you need to succeed, and support your fellow women in tech. Remember, your success can pave the way for the next generation of women in technology.

Entering the tech industry as a woman is not just about building a career; it’s about forging a path for more inclusive and diverse technological advancements. Your voice, skills and perspective are essential to the future of tech.

EPI: What it means to be a female business leader?

Monica Eaton:

Being a female founder and business leader in today’s tech industry is not just about navigating the complexities of a dynamic sector; it’s about rewriting the narrative of leadership itself. It embodies the courage to confront and dismantle the traditional barriers that have long hindered women’s progress in technology and entrepreneurship. For me, it means leveraging not only my expertise in chargebacks and payments fraud but also my journey as a woman in a male-dominated field to inspire change and innovation.

My role extends beyond the operational responsibilities of Chargebacks911 and Fi911. It’s about embodying resilience and creativity in the face of challenges. It’s about understanding that my voice isn’t just mine but represents a chorus of aspiring women who seek representation in the tech industry. In this context, leadership is about more than guiding a company to success; it’s about setting a precedent for inclusion, mentorship, and empowerment.

Moreover, being a female founder is about responsibility – to the next generation of women leaders. It’s about creating opportunities, offering guidance, and being a role model. It’s about showing that with determination, passion, and the right support, women can thrive in the fields of technology and business, taking on leadership roles and driving transformative change within them. Ultimately, it is about building a legacy that paves the way for greater gender diversity and equality in the business world.”

Monica Eaton is the Founder and CEO of Chargebacks911 and Fi911, as well as Chief Information Officer of Global Risk Technologies.

Monica has worked tirelessly to educate merchants and financial institutions about hidden threats in the rapidly changing payment fraud landscape. Chargebacks911, was founded in Tampa Bay, Florida, expanding internationally also to become Europe’s first chargeback remediation specialist to tackle the chargeback fraud problem. In ten years, Chargebacks911 has successfully protected more than 10 billion online transactions and has recovered over $1bn in chargeback fraud.