Rising to the challenge: elevating personal fintech solutions to everyday life

1 June 2023
Jade Ong, Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (2002)
Managing our personal finances is an important life skill that affects every aspect of our lifestyle, but it’s not something we learn at school or think about when we wake up every morning. Recognising this, Jade Ong, together with two others, co-founded Elevate Money, a fintech start-up that aims to help people “live their best financial life” by making relevant financial products accessible through tech platforms they use every day.
Jade Ong

Jade Ong

Jade is chief operating officer of Elevate Money, which unlocks access to fintech solutions for businesses and their clients by embedding relevant technologies in businesses’ existing apps, empowering their customers to manage their own money through platforms they already use regularly. The thriving company recently signed a significant service agreement with an established Australian financial product provider to use its market-leading technology to facilitate the provider’s customer acquisition growth.

Jade also sits on the Investment Committee of the Pengana High Conviction Property Securities Fund, providing strategy and support to the fund manager on investing and ESG.

But when she graduated from the University of Sydney in 2002 with a combined Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Accounting and Finance and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in Taxation and Commercial Law, Jade knew only that she wanted to pursue a career in finance rather than law. She recalls the key career-defining opportunities – and leaps of faith – that led her to where she is today.

“My first exposure to the finance industry was through part-time work at the ASX and Barclays Global Investors during university,” Jade says. “That whet my appetite for investing, which led to a graduate role in the investments team at IAG Asset Management. It was by chance that a friend showed me an ad in the paper for that role, and I frantically completed the application while holidaying in a campervan around New Zealand.”

While she loved that role, after a few years she caught the travel bug and decided to take the plunge and move to London, initially without a job to go to – however, that situation changed before she’d even left IAG.

“Through work networks, I was offered a role with Macquarie in the one month between resigning and leaving,” she says. “I thought it was the perfect time to give investment banking a go, since I [would be] in a foreign country with no other commitments or dependents.”

Jade made the move and loved her time in London with Macquarie, but after almost 10 years, now married and back in Sydney with two young children, she was again ready for a new challenge. So when the opportunity arose to start a new fintech business with a former colleague and another friend, she once again took a leap – and has never looked back.

I’m lucky to have found a career that brings together my background in finance, interest in tech, and love of creativity. It’s fast-paced and challenging, and I enjoy the fun of working alongside great people.
Jade Ong, alumna

It also aligns perfectly with her personal passions.

“I’m passionate about three things,” she says.

“The first is equality and diversity. I strongly believe everyone should be given equal opportunity, and that diversity should be embraced as it leads to better ideas and outcomes for all.

“The second is work–life balance and mental health. Work can be all-consuming, and as parents we’re juggling career progression and family, with very little ‘me time’, and this can take a toll. I love being part of a team that has built a culture of supporting flexible working.

“The third is sustainability and my children’s future. One of my biggest concerns is what kind of world we’re leaving behind for our next generation. I love those aspects of my work where I can help make an impact, and I constantly remind my kids to be grateful for what we have and to do our part to preserve it.”

Reflecting on the bold decisions that ultimately led her to her current role, Jade says, “Some have said they were brave moves. For me, they’ve been such positive steps for my personal development and have shaped who I am today.”

The other factor that Jade credits with shaping her career is her initial degree from the Business School, which she says has always helped her to stand out in the highly competitive job market.

Studying the courses I did, and having the opportunity to do some work experience in the field, confirmed my interest and desire to pursue a career in finance. I also built lasting friendships and a strong network that I continue to cross paths with throughout my journey, and this sure has helped to open doors to career and business opportunities.

“When I chat to friends, we all look back on many fond memories of our time at the University of Sydney. ‘What course did you do?’ and ‘Where did you study?’ come up in many conversations throughout my personal life and career, and a degree from the Business School is well recognised and highly regarded within and outside Australia.”

And it’s evident that Jade shares that high regard herself.

“I enjoyed being on campus so much that I stayed on for an extra year to complete a joint honours in Accounting and Finance,” she says. “I was also a tutor for Financial Accounting, which I really enjoyed and recommend to anyone who gets the opportunity.

“Most importantly, you get to graduate in the beautiful Quadrangle. That really sold it for me!”

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