Meet Julie Castelbaum, CoS at Hummingbird and Primary Mastermind Network Founding Member
Read how Julie Castelbaum landed her role as CoS at Hummingbird and the lessons learned along the way.
As a CoS Mastermind Founding Member, Julie sees the network as an extension of her Hummingbird colleagues - a community of talented CoS that has helped her level up her performance in her role. Interested in joining? Apply here.
Can you walk us through your career journey to date? How did your interests and/or values help shape where you landed?
Prior to business school, I worked for HSBC in a variety of different capacities, first in New York and then in Mexico City. It was only in Mexico City, after gaining foundational finance experience and seeing the number of fintechs sprouting up, that I decided that I wanted to pivot into fintech. I debated going to a Mexican fintech startup but decided that business school was a better, broader jumping off point. At Wharton, I learned as much as I could about the industry and to be thoughtful in my interview process. I looked mainly at Strategy & Operations roles but would take a CoS position if it was at a company where I had a close relationship with the CEO. Luckily it worked out!
How did you land the CoS role at Hummingbird? What advice do you have for others who are looking to transition into early stage tech from a different industry?
My journey to Hummingbird was unusual to say the least. I first became acquainted with Hummingbird during business school, when I was involved in a club that required me to create an investment thesis and present it to VCs around the U.S. During my prior banking experience, I saw the challenges our compliance department faced and decided that RegTech was ripe for opportunity. After interviewing about 50 companies to build my thesis, I landed on Hummingbird and Alloy (hi Primary portfolio company) as the top players in the industry and developed a strong relationship with the Hummingbird CEO, Joe Robinson. He served as a mentor during the remainder of my business school years and over the course of that time, I continued to inquire about a role at Hummingbird. The timing worked out and he offered me the CoS position as I graduated from Wharton.
What has been the most rewarding part of the role so far?
The most rewarding and challenging part of the role thus far has been working in completely new functions. Soon after I started, the Head of Customer Success left, and I jumped into that position for a few months until we found the right replacement. Similarly, I served as a Product Manager for a new feature we created with a client. Was I the best, most qualified person to do these roles? No, but was I able to step in, learn new skills, and fill a resource gap until we found the right candidate? Absolutely. It also goes without saying how gratifying working with Joe has been. While he served as a mentor before, actually working together presents a different perspective.- I’ve been able to see firsthand how thoughtful and focused he is and how much he genuinely cares about the company and my own career journey.
How has networking amplified your career?
Networking is probably the best thing that’s happened to my career. It got me this position at Hummingbird and more so has helped me become a better CoS. I look at networking in two different ways.
- General knowledge: Learning about the fintech industry, what others are doing, how people are approaching different problems etc
- Tactical learning: This is whatI love using the CoS network for; the form of day-to-day questions and problem solving guidance
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