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Trust in the Fintech World with Emily Gonzales Drulis


An Introduction to Trust

On episode eight of the Trust Podcast, an SAP podcast about cybersecurity, trust and today’s landscape, SAP’s Chief Trust Officer Elena Kvochko was joined by Emily Gonzales Drulis, Global Head of Trust, Safety and Risk Operations at Stripe, where she builds and leads a global team that focuses on two things: mitigating losses and a positive user experience for non-fraudulent users.

With trust being such a new industry, it wasn't an area that Emily was aware of when she began her career. Her start at Airbnb was within customer service, making sure customers had the best experience possible with the company. However, as Emily developed her skill set and leaned into her strengths, it became natural to dive into the trust field.
"I have a naturally protective nature, a strong attraction to solving tough and structural problems and a passion for continued learning." said Emily.

At Airbnb, Emily's main goal was to build and scale out the trust and safety space. She spent nine years doing that with great success including working with the product team to build a tool to search, enqueue and immediate mass action on cyberattacks in real-time. After that, Emily led Facebook's safety operations team and focused on content moderation on topics such as child safety, violence and terrorism. These experiences led her to her current role at Stripe, where she could be back at the earlier stages of a company where she could build the trust team from the ground up.

Trust in Fintech

"Minimizing risk and maximizing safety are just basic expectations that the market and our customers have of companies" shared Gonzales Drulis when discussing the importance of trust.

In fintech, that can mean customers being able to trust that companies will protect their money, identity and in general any information that they provide the company. It's also expected that "companies will make things right if something unexpectedly happens". Trust is "the backbone of any business".

Challenges with Trust

As the trust landscape evolves, so do the challenges facing trust as new threats emerge. The most difficult challenge in trust and the risk space for Emily has been staying ahead of attackers and fraudsters while not ruining the experience of users with good intentions.

"The most difficult challenges are how to keep up and adapt to threats that we are experiencing but also get ahead of them to know what's coming." shared Gonzales Drulis. To achieve this balance, companies have to make sure they have the right intelligence to understand production evolution and the threat landscape.

The Trust Workforce

To develop the right understanding of product evolution and the threat landscape, companies need to invest in building their trust workforce. Emily shares that in terms of skills, she looks for "curious and analytical minds who are able to balance between focusing on the details and broader trends in the market".  This skill set has usually been found in people who transition over from consulting, law enforcement or military backgrounds.

Evolution of Trust

Emily emphasized that "every business should consider creating a trust office. Anyone who either accepts or processes payments or accepts or processes user date. So essentially everybody."

But why should companies keep up with the evolution of trust as a business category?

Drulis Gonzales stated "Even in this macroeconomic environment, companies are looking to be more sustainable and realizing that roles for trust, safety and risk are foundational ones that everyone needs". Companies usually wait to develop trust offices until there is a crisis or a fire needs to put out and then "you won't have the time or appetite to build the foundations correctly".  By keeping up with trust and building a trust office early and putting the resources into before a crisis, it will reduce expenses and make it less painful to resolve issues down the line.

At the end of the episode, Drulis Gonzales shared a piece of advice for organizations that are looking to invest in trust, "Focus a lot on the foundation so truly understanding your risk tolerance and risk profile and then hire against that."

To listen to the full episode, you can listen through Apple Podcast or Spotify