With over 15 years of experience in fintech, Trisha Price leads the charge of the engineering and product road map at North Carolina-based fintech company nCino. nCino services big bank enterprises as well as small community banks as an operating platform.
nCino’s EVP of Product Development and Engineering, Price knows that listening to your customer and their needs is as essential as having a strong, diverse team (over 50 percent of her direct reports, including the VP of engineering, is female) to bring those ideas to life.
She attributes hiring a team with creative minds and providing a safe environment to brainstorm those innovative ideas as a big factor in having a successful, easy-to-integrate product. That’s the key feature for quick adoption, she says.
“It’s about getting out there and listening. I try to visit many of our customers each year, as does the rest of my product management team. I think it’s big to have that relationship with them so that you can really hear what it is,” says Price.
Price shares more about how her leadership style helps her team take more product risks, using workshops as a way to get client product feedback, and building her career as a female engineer.
For those unfamiliar with nCino, what’s your product pitch?
nCino is a bank operating system that helps digitize and streamline complicated bank processes — from applying for a loan and getting the underwriting done on that loan to opening a checking account. Whether that’s done online or in a branch, the nCino bank operating system helps banks digitize and modernize their technology so that they can really focus on giving their customers the best possible experience and customer support possible.
What does your current position entail?
My current job is EVP of product development and engineering. Everybody who is involved in building our product works on my team — product management, engineering, and QA are all under the product development and engineering umbrella. It’s all the way from ideation, road mapping, figuring out where we’re going to put additional investments, to the actual coding and testing and releasing of the software.
Leading product development is definitely a teamwork situation. How do you lead your team and figure out the best way to approach the product?
It does require having a creative mind, and having creative people on the team that can come up with solutions that can work for the biggest banks across the globe to small community banks right here in our backyard in North Carolina. That’s one of the interesting things about our application — we do span such a wide variety of banks from a customer base standpoint. When we’re thinking about innovation, it’s really just getting out there and understanding where the industry’s going, but then you can’t just solve that in a simple way. It’s not just about automating a process. It’s about thinking about a solution that can really help banks keep their competitive edge against some of the fintech companies that have come out and disrupted the industry.
So, how do you think about a creative solution that can do that? We do that by lots of different ways. We hold really fun design workshops with our UX and product management teams. Sometimes if we’re building applications for our bank customers, we’ll even hold workshops where we just bring people in from off the street and get their feedback on usability and new ideas we have within the product.
How does prioritizing work culture help you lead your team day-to-day?
To me, culture is all about empowerment. That is big at nCino. We’re not big on hierarchy. We’re big on hiring awesome, smart people and give them the freedom to think, give them the freedom to try new things, and give them a safe environment with which to do it. If you really want a great culture and you really want to be number one in innovation in your industry, people can’t be scared to fail. People can’t be scared to take risks. People can’t sit and wait for you to tell them the next task to do. We really built a culture of empowerment for our people, hiring great people who care as much about company success as the founders.
I really think everybody does feel that sense of loyalty and passion for the company, and because of that, we can really trust their work, trust them to make day to day decisions, and empower them.
Since the banking industry isn’t currently the most tech-savvy, what are some challenges you’ve encountered when trying to implement the product with new customers?
Banking technology has lagged, no doubt, but they’re starving for it and they’re excited for it. It doesn’t feel like we’re bringing them kicking and screaming. They just need the right technology and they need a partner who understands them.
One of the keys of nCino is that we are building software for bankers, by bankers. If you walk around this company, a good almost half of the employees have worked at a bank at some point in their lives. I think because of that we can build a product that the banking industry gets, and they’re not scared of because when we get in there we talk their talk. We have created an integration strategy and an integration framework to help banks integrate with both legacy and modern applications. That’s been a big part of our strategy from day one.
As an engineer in a predominantly male-dominated field, what are your thoughts on climbing the ladder in the tech industry?
‘Why does that always have to come up? I’m good at my job, can’t you just be interested in that?’ But at the same time, when I think about other people reading this article, and I think about them understanding our culture of what we’re trying to build here, I do think it’s an important part of what we want to continue to attract here. When we have equal pay and equal women in the boardroom, I’ll stop bringing it up.
Being one of the female executives, and being in charge of engineering as a female, I think it really shows the company’s commitment to diversity and the company’s support of females. Of my team, over 50 percent of my direct reports are females and we’re the product development and engineering teams. My VP of engineering is a female, and she just won the Women Who Code VP of Engineering award.
It just shows you that if you have a commitment to diversity, and you have a commitment to getting the right people and the best people in the positions that fit the culture, and fit the company’s growth trajectory, you can do it wherever you’re located. It just takes the commitment.