At Interac, we celebrate diversity and believe bringing our authentic selves to work drives the best results and allows us to learn from one another. We are a diverse group of people and are committed to creating an environment for diversity of thought and experience, where unique ideas, perspectives and voices are not only welcomed, but encouraged.
For Black History Month, we are featuring the stories of people within the Interac family who are part of the Black community. This is your opportunity to read their stories and learn more about the advice they have for Black professionals who are looking to enter the FinTech space.
What is your name and job?
My name is Steevens Rouyard and I’m the technical lead for our Interac e-Transfer platform.
What is some of the work you do on a day-to-day basis?
My day is usually divided into four parts:
- I design technical solutions to bring the Interac e-Transfer platform to the next generation for Canadians. This includes writing up technical specifications that improve the platform making the Interac e-Transfer service more reliable and seamless for consumers.
- I provide clarity on our technical solutions to our external stakeholders and work with them to make sure the Interac e-Transfer platform is meeting their needs.
- I implement by researching new and upcoming solutions, experimenting with them, and work with the team to see how they could advance our products at Interac.
- I breathe. I always have one or two external curriculum activities that I take very seriously, it takes me out of my work bubble. In the past, it was basketball, boxing, and dancing. Currently, I’m super invested in working out and healthy eating.
What is your favourite part of your job?
The designing phase is my favourite part and in software engineering, there are countless ways to solve a product requirement. At Interac, designing is the time when I get to be creative and try new things including experimenting with new concepts/ frameworks/ languages.
What is an interesting fact about you?
When I was 18, I started a job as a welder. Not by choice – the education system and my lack of motivation for school led me into it. I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me and I begged my mom to help me get me back to school. I wanted to get a degree that would allow me to pick a job that I actually liked.
When I went back to school, I made it clear how far I wanted to go. But it was difficult because, looking at how far I was from my goal and the education, counsellors suggested I set ‘more realistic goals’. I asked them one simple question: ‘what do I need to do to get the next level?’ The answer was always ‘be the top of your class and you might get a chance’. That’s what I did. Eight years later, I graduated with a master’s degree in computer science and that’s how I started my career in software development.
What inspired you to want to work at Interac?
I was approached by a recruiter and the funny story is that when he mentioned Interac, it was the first time I had heard about it! I was new to Canada and had to research the company before my first interview. I definitely don’t regret taking this opportunity.
What comes to mind when you think about your journey at Interac?
Interac fully embodies the Canadian values and really cares about their employees.
How has your journey been as a black professional in Toronto and navigating Bay Street?
As Black professionals, we often have to do more to prove our worth and get to where we want to be. Sometimes it gets stressful and that pressure gets heavy, so heavy that, for me it resulted a few times in moments where I couldn’t even talk. I was losing focus and thinking too much of how much I had to prove and that I couldn’t afford to fail.
It’s not the end of the world, I got opportunities to make it up and prove my worth. At the end of the day, my results speak the truth and by staying focused I was able to get to where I wanted to be.
What advice do you have for others who may be facing a similar situation?
Be confident and if you do the work, you will get noticed and you will get to what you want. Once you have proved your value, ask for what you deserve.
What advice would you give to young Black professionals looking to start a career in FinTech?
Speak the truth and never hide your ambitions. If your current company won’t give you the opportunity you deserve, don’t be afraid to walk away.
We don’t have to waste our time with old culture minded companies anymore. The FinTech industry is very hot and there are plenty of opportunities.
Restaurants and small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. Do you have a favourite Black-owned restaurant you’d encourage others to try?
BeachHill Smokehouse on Main and Danforth. They make the best beef brisket I’ve ever had in my life. Their Lockhart sandwich is my personal favourite.
Looking to learn more about life at Interac? Click here.