Create Your Own Vision: Yvette Wu

Create Your Own Vision: Yvette Wu

In the third post in our series featuring inspiring women in business, we sat down with Yvette Wu - CEO and co-founder of Yield Exchange, an all-in-one treasury management platform that connects depositors directly to financial institutions like Vancity and First West Credit Union.

Yield Exchange Website

  • Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you reached the level of success you have today?

  • I come from an immigrant family, where my parents were entrepreneurs out of necessity. That’s why they thought it would be much better for me to find a more traditional and stable. But I could never get rid of the spark I had for entrepreneurship! Having grown up around it, I knew what it looked like to see something grow through time and hard work, and I have always had that creative drive you really need to start your own business.

    Even when I was working in banking, I was an intrapreneur, taking the lead to introduce new projects. As much as I am happy with my time at Vancity, eventually the desire to build something for myself became more than I could hold and I’m so glad I took the leap. I attribute a lot of my success to the amazing team and support network I have around me, as well as my internal drive to build something out of nothing. I think the key is really taking the chances you see where you can start carving a new path to support a certain community or industry.

  • As a successful businesswoman, what challenges did you face in your career related to gender, and how did you overcome them?

  • As a female founder, you’re going to constantly hear statistics about how much of an underdog you are. The one that came up a lot when I was first raising money, was that female founded startups received only 2.2% of global venture capital. For a long time, and even still, I had to deal with those nagging feelings of whether I was really going to be the one to beat the odds.

    It was in the weeks leading up to my funding round, when I had a realization that helped me completely shift my mindset towards funding. I stopped looking at it like I was going sell sometime. Instead, I was going in there to show people this rocket ship I was building, and they'd better get onboard now or we’d leave without them. It was a shift in perspective that I really needed, because it gave me the confidence to keep practicing my pitch and let go of so much of the “Female Founder” baggage. We ended up smashing our funding goals and winning a few pitch competitions too! There are still moments when I feel out of place in an industry so dominated by men, but now I know how to push through to take the space I deserve. You really can’t let the statistics drag you down, because otherwise who’s going to go out there and change them?

  • What are three habits that have helped you get where you are today?

  • For a smaller daily habits, I always take some time to myself each morning to have a quiet drink and compose myself for the day. Having that moment really helps to ground me before the chaos of the day takes over.

    The last one I’ll mention is that try to answer my emails ASAP. I don’t like letting things build up, because I know I’ll end up missing something important. If I can answer something in less than 5 minutes, I just get to it immediately.

  • Do you think it’s becoming any easier for women to succeed in business, and if so why do you think that is?

  • Definitely. The access we have to resources is only growing and investors are slowly doing more to close the funding gap. That’s not to say that it’s “easy” but even just a few years ago, the level of awareness there is now completely different. It can be easy to be disheartened when we know just how far we must go to achieve gender equity, but it helps me to zoom out and recognize how far things have come to get here, as well as how many amazing people are out there continuing to push!

  • How do you approach the development of leadership skills among women in your company or industry, and why is it crucial for women to take on leadership roles?

  • A diversity of experience is crucial for any kind of creative problem solving. If we don’t have women, along with people of all kinds of diversity, in leadership roles, we’re never going to be able to design experiences that are robust enough for the huge diversity of people we have in our communities. I really try where I can give the reigns over so others can take those steps towards leadership on their own. I’ll be right there cheering people on and I’m always happy to share insights that might help, but I really think that so much must come from within.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to other women aspiring for similar success in their industries, what would it be?

  • Be careful about people who try to give you advice! Noone is going to know your situation as well as you do, and you really need to be able to trust yourself. Even if you find someone is in the exact same industry with the exact same problem, always measure advice against your own intuition. It’s valuable to learn from others, but you have to understand where they are coming from and why they see things in that way. Having that kind of deeper understanding is what you need to think critically about all the different variables at play and stand by your decisions.

  • What’s your favourite pair of OQs?
  • he ones in the photo - i don't know what the names of them are!! I'm sorry!! (Yvette is wearing the Pascal!)