Galvea Kelly: Supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Fintech Women

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The adage “Be your Boss” motivates many people to leap from a fixed salary job to starting a business. The ‘Great Resignation’ is altering the workforce dynamic — maybe for good. Millions of Americans have reevaluated their work life during the pandemic. A record 4.3 million quit their jobs in August alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. One-third of working Americans who quit their job started their own business.

As a result, more and more people are willing to come out of their comfort zones to begin their entrepreneurial journey. Despite accounting for 36% of the US workforce, self-employed individuals continue to be the most underrepresented group of entrepreneurs. Managing business setup, taxes and accounting is one of the most time-consuming parts for business-of-one. Traditionally taxes and accounting have been led by old school companies that are designed for anyone and don’t specifically meet the needs of entrepreneurs. There exists a demand to redefine the way self-employed people work by increasing the number of financially successful businesses-of-one. This is where Collective comes into play. It has been specifically designed for businesses-of-one and is innovating the way entrepreneurs operate their businesses. Collective provides the tools and team for solopreneurs to master their finances, optimize their taxes and balance their bookkeeping. Collective’s services are approachable, supportive, and straightforward. It is the first all-in-one, subscription based, back-office platform, designed specifically for self-employed people.

Community & Camaraderie: Driving the Change

Galvea Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer at Collective, met her boss, Hooman Radfar several years ago through mutual friends. Having moved to San Francisco from New York, they became friends as fellow transplants to the west coast. Hooman was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and despite working in very different industries, they found common ground in being immigrants with similar values. As she shares, “I grew up in a small village on the West coast of Ireland where the community is a central part of our culture. Being successful in Ireland is all about how much time you invest in your family and community. Professional accomplishments come second. That definition of success has never wavered for me. The values instilled in me by my parents and community have stayed with me throughout my career and personal life.”   

Hooman was launching a business with fellow immigrants, Ugur Kaner and Bugra Akcay, which became the perfect opportunity for Galvea to work with them. The Co-Founders entrusted her to lead the development of the brand and go-to-market strategy. Leaning into the community is one of the key facets of immigrant life, it is what inspired them to create a company to serve the most underserved group of entrepreneurs in the US: solopreneurs. As Galvea shares, “As if being an immigrant in America wasn’t hard enough, almost a quarter of all self-employed people are immigrants. So why should it be harder than it already is?” 

Galvea has lived in Paris, Bucharest, New York previously while leading global marketing teams. She says, “I started my career in banking before pivoting to marketing. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career to have led digital marketing teams for some of the most iconic brands in the world – Revlon, L’Oreal, and Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), as well as having my own digital marketing agency, Brand Nua. The common thread woven through all these powerhouse brands is that community is a central part of their brand DNA and company values.” Galvea’s strong commitment to the community both in her personal and professional life, helped her to expand. She worked with her network in ways that exponentially propelled her forward in life, in fact, the community was the reason which ultimately compelled her to work at Collective. Collective was launched in September 2020 and is headquartered in San Francisco with a team of 80 located throughout the US and internationally. It is the first all-in-one, subscription-based, back-office platform, designed to give self-employed people the technology, team, and community they need to focus on their passion, not their paperwork. A platform the likes of which hasn’t existed until now. An innovative start-up with a vision to create an all-in-one financial platform for self-employed people, which handles company formation, taxes, accounting, and much more. Collective has brought a distinct opportunity which has helped  bring a sense of community and camaraderie to this whole new segment of the workforce, the self-employed. These factors have enabled the company to grow over 8x since its inception, and have a waitlist of over 40,000+people. In May 2021 Collective announced $20 million in Series A funding with the backing and support of prominent investors such as General Catalyst, QED, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary to name just a few.

Galvea Kelly

“I started my career in banking before pivoting to marketing. I've been incredibly fortunate in my career to have led digital marketing teams for some of the most iconic brands in the world - Revlon, L'Oreal, and Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), as well as having my own digital marketing agency, Brand Nua. The common thread woven through all these powerhouse brands is that community is a central part of their brand DNA and company values.”

Extraordinaire Life: Mold of a Leader 

The trials we face, where we come from, and how we see the world is what makes our own unique perspective and identity. Successful start-ups usually don’t have a material advantage, but they do have their ideas, motivations, perseverance, and a team willing to go above and beyond. As an ardent fan of the enigmatic United States Supreme Court Judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who through her unyielding commitment to justice has left behind a lasting legacy both as a trailblazer for equality and a model for what’s possible. Galvea has broken through the proverbial glass ceiling more than once, and as a leader in Fintech she devotes 10% of her time mentoring and paying it forward, many of whom are Collective members, she outlines her philosophy, “As a female leader, it’s your responsibility to use your platform to pay it forward. The advice I give my team and mentees is that if you’ve been fortunate enough to get an opportunity, the right thing to do is pay it forward. The smallest effort can help initiate change in someone’s career trajectory. It doesn’t mean that you need to set up formal meetings, instead focus on casual moments of impact to highlight how everyone can do their part to ensure your team, co-workers, and community have equal opportunities to progress throughout their careers.” 

As the saying goes, “You are what you read” Galvea is an avid reader with subscriptions to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal, as she believes that having a broader context as to current business trends allows a person to think broader and build out more meaningful business strategies. She also reads a lot of international press such as The Financial Times and The Guardian to have a clear sense of trends coming down the line from Asia, Europe, and Twitter to keep up to speed on real-time happenings. As she shares her reading pleasures, she says, “In terms of books, Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants is a book I find myself rereading. Gladwell challenges how you think about obstacles and disadvantages, drawing upon history and psychology to rethink how we view the world around us and how to deal with challenges life throws at you.”

Trends & Challenges: What does the future look like?

Pandemic and its impact are far-reaching and will continue to change the industries as time moves on. This pandemic has also rewritten the definition of a leader, the skills required to be a Fintech leader in this post-Covid world apply to all leaders today. Galvea explains, “What will differentiate a good leader from a great leader is having solid emotional intelligence skills, something that was often overlooked before Covid19. IQ and technical skills are of course a prerequisite skillset to have in a leadership position but they are now deemed entry-level requirements. Being able to read the room, your team’s emotional state, and being able to stay calm under pressure and resolve conflict effectively will allow you better coach teams, deliver feedback and collaborate with others.

According to the World Economic Forum, more than half the world’s population is under 30. With the largest youth population in history, there is an unprecedented opportunity for Millennials and Gen Z to choose brands that align with their beliefs and values. They exercise this conviction when choosing a brand to buy services from. In addition to values alignment, with so many choices available, the brands that will win will provide a superior user experience, value for their money, and ultimately, can allow them to reach their financial goals. 

With the world rushing to get back to the pre-Covid state, Collective has aligned their focus for the coming months to hiring to allow them to accelerate supporting the most underrepresented entrepreneurs in the US, the businesses-of-one community. “The future of work is here. Being self-employed is not just a trend or moment in time; it is a movement. We’re excited to provide the tools and team to increase the numbers of financially successful businesses-of-one by enabling people to focus on their passion and not their paperwork,” says Galvea.

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