Women in Technology: Weiwei Duncan
While not the usual trajectory for a fintech chief operating officer, Weiwei Duncan began her career 10 years ago as an organic chemist in the medical field synthesizing and finding applications for organic molecules.
“With a fascination in science and technology, I knew I wanted a career in technology, but I also wanted to build something,” Duncan said. “By nature, the biomedical field requires a lengthier product design, development and testing compared to the IT industry. Because of this, it’s often hard to see the impact of what you do for 10 years or more.”
After graduating the University of Science and Technology of China with a bachelor’s degree, Duncan took a material development position in the auto industry and later earned a master’s degree from Wayne State University. During this time period, she met Michael Duncan who was working as a software developer at Michigan First Credit Union. Now husband and wife, Duncan said that Michael, Bankjoy’s co-founder and CEO, “was able to see firsthand the challenges and pain points experienced by credit unions.”
Proponents of community financial institutions, the couple became especially “fascinated” with the credit union movement. Together they set out with a mission to create a fintech that allows credit unions to compete with national banks. The goal of Bankjoy’s end-to-end solution with seamless user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), she said, is to deliver an “Apple experience” to the banking industry.
“Because fintech moves at lightning speed, we’re able to build solutions and then almost immediately see the impact,” said Duncan, who co-founded the Detroit –based Bankjoy in 2015, the same year she was named chief operating officer.
“We put our ears on the ground and constantly work with our clients and their members to understand exactly what they need and want, allowing us to quickly respond to the market with the right product designs,” said Duncan.
Diversity in Tech Still Needs Improvement
When Duncan was attending graduate school, she “primarily” worked with men. Being the only women in the laboratory, for example, was not uncommon. The lack of diversity, she noted, was frustrating.