Where can you go to talk about professional development and fraud-fighting strategies while sipping wine and chatting with other smart women in similar roles? We couldn’t find an answer, which is why we partnered with Chargehound and Patreon to organize the inaugural Women’s Trust Network event on August 23.

We were delighted by the outpouring of enthusiasm from the women we reached out to — it seemed that everyone was eager share to best practices, commiserate on headaches, and toast to the work we’re doing together in Trust & Safety.

Why organize this event?

Women are amazing fraud experts whose hard work and smart thinking are moving the needle in fraud prevention, chargeback management, risk operations, and more. Yet, it is still rare to hear women share their expertise on a broader stage at industry events. It can also be a challenge for women in the Trust & Safety space to meet each other in a friendly, low-stress setting. We wanted to bring together an inclusive group of hardworking, motivated women to share strategies, talk about the challenges they face, and empower one another.

The event

So what exactly did this event look like? Our founding group of about 40 women hailed from merchants in diverse industries and came from across the realm of risk, fraud, and ops. We gathered at Patreon’s beautiful new office space in San Francisco and kicked off the evening with get-to-know-you icebreakers, although we hardly needed to break the ice — conversation picked up effortlessly!

After everyone had the chance to meet and grab some drinks and food, we settled down for a panel discussion. Our phenomenal panelists provided candid, thoughtful, and extremely valuable perspectives on everything from professional development and mentorship to communication strategies and navigating team dynamics. It was refreshing to hear such honest and relatable stories in a casual atmosphere — there were plenty of laughs and nods of agreement from the audience throughout the conversation.

The panel ended with an audience Q&A that easily transitioned into smaller group discussions. Every woman in attendance had both questions and wisdom to share, and the conversation enthusiastically carried on well into the evening!

Some takeaways from the evening’s discussion:

We need more women in Trust & Safety, and we need to mentor each other

Everyone agreed that there is a lack of representation of women in the fraud and Trust & Safety fields, and there was a shared determination to see that change. One common challenge attendees said they face is finding women mentors in the industry — but one way they’ve worked beyond that issue is to form relationships with women mentors in other fields who can still offer career advice.

Data is the key

One common and painful struggle that attendees shared is how hard it can be to secure resources and buy-in from other teams for Trust & Safety initiatives. To address the issue, several useful strategies were shared by our panelists. One recurring theme surfaced several times: the importance of data to support requests for resources. At the end of the day, the panel shared, product teams are moved by quantifiable data and results, not anecdotes or stories. Honing data analysis skills is crucial in making a case to a broader audience and advocating for good ideas. Cultivating that data expertise through Tableau and SQL classes can also be a great avenue for professional development, enabling women in risk management to grow in their roles.

Elevating our voice can take many forms, and it’s important to practice, practice, practice

Making your voice heard internally or externally can be challenging, especially for women. Attendees shared the hurdles they’ve faced — feeling unqualified, being in the minority when they do find speaking opportunities, not “looking the part,” and more. One thing became clear: it’s important to practice venturing outside one’s comfort zone in order to feel more confident sharing perspectives with broader audiences — whether it’s with an internal team or at a big conference.

Asking for help is a sign of strength!

One simple question resonated most with the audience: “How do you recognize you need help, and then how do you ask for it?” Many of the women at the event agreed that it’s easy to expect themselves to shoulder more and more amounts of responsibility and work, even when it becomes untenable and exhausting. One piece of advice was to reframe the way we think about asking for help: see it as a sign of strength, not as one of weakness. Asking for help means recognizing your limits and looking for additional resources in order to improve your quality of work. We all get by with a little help from our friends!

Looking ahead

The inaugural Women’s Trust Network event was more successful than we could have hoped. The women in attendance have helped us found a community of fearless fraud fighters who are enthusiastic about sharing wisdom and forming connections. With all the positive feedback we received, we plan for the Women’s Trust Network to meet quarterly. Stay tuned for the next event – new members welcome!

If you would like to learn more or are interested in attending our next Women’s Trust Network event, please contact events@siftscience.com!

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