Fintech Women You Should Know: Michelle Han
Michelle Han is a bank partnerships manager at Treasury Prime and is responsible for the growth of bank partners. She has spent most of her career in the consumer finance space (lending, debt, remittance) at companies like MoneyGram International and OneMain Financial, drumming up millions in marketing deals. At one point, she was responsible for a suite of partners that generated more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
Tell us a little about your family background.
I am first-gen and my family's roots are planted in North and South Korea. My upbringing is a tremendous part of who I am and I'm very grateful to be where I am today. For me, family is number one. Growing up, I shared a home not only with my parents and younger brother, but also with my grandparents and aunt as well. Basically, everyone in the house worked really hard. My grandfather ran a little convenience store in Chicago’s Logan Square. My grandma ran her own catering business out of our house for Korean weddings and events. My parents had full-time jobs, but they also sold stuff at the flea market on the weekends. I remember at a very young age going with them to the flea market every Saturday or Sunday morning, setting everything up, selling denim jackets, socks, and other random stuff, and being there all day long.
I was inspired by seeing my dad work so hard to rise up the ranks to become an executive in the logistics industry. My mom pivoted from an accounting job and opened up her own education center. It took a long time, but they were eventually able to make a very nice life for everybody else in the family because of how hard they worked. So I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a businesswoman and try my best to succeed in whatever I found that I was good at and enjoyed doing. I want to give back to my family for everything that they did for me. Those people who are closest to you, who will always be there with you through the ups and downs, who support you no matter what happens — It's really important to take care of those people.
Why did you choose to go into financial services/ fintech?
"Finance" sounds cool when you're 21. Like it just sounds powerful, sexy, and cool, right? And so I got into it in real life. And now that I'm older, I'm glad to report that it is indeed, a very fascinating world, especially when it's coupled with technology.
How do you like working in tech?
It's very exciting. There’s just this hyper-focus on innovation that I find to be a real breath of fresh air. In the tech world, things have to move quickly. You can't just sit around and wait for things to happen; You just have to get things done. I think that also creates an environment where everyone is very much encouraged to bring all their ideas to the table.
Coming to Treasury Prime was a huge move for me because there were a lot of considerations. At first, it felt like a bit of a risk, but I'm really glad I took it.
What do you do for Treasury Prime and how do you build relationships?
I am the go-to person for our bank partners. They rely on me to get things done, provide support, help them grow, and achieve the business goals or strategic visions they have in mind.
To be effective at partnerships you’ve got to understand how each team operates, how to effectively communicate with that team, what that team cares about, and how to orchestrate strategy and execute a plan. What are our common goals? We also might see some of the gaps in their business and help them fill some of those gaps and create a better experience for their customers and their fintech partners’ customers.
What do you love most about Treasury Prime?
The people. I'm very fortunate to be working with such incredible people. I am surrounded by very smart, intelligent, ass-kicking, go-getting, empathetic people who are fun to work with. Quite the rare combo if you ask me.
Advice for young women starting their careers?
Starting off is all about building your confidence and finding your voice in the workplace. Take it one step at a time and embrace your mistakes! Learn from them, grow from them and become stronger from them. Just try your best not to pull a Britney and "oops I did it again."
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