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How This EMBA Entrepreneur Is Helping Close The UK’s $19 Billion Gender Investment Gap

Davinia Tomlinson was tired of holding back in her career in finance in London. After an EMBA at Cass Business School, she’s now an entrepreneur helping women invest in their futures

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By  Amy Hughes

Tue Jun 11 2019

BusinessBecause
Over the course of Davinia Tomlinson’s career in investment management, there was one piece of advice that she grew increasingly tired of hearing: “You need to learn to play the game.”

When she tells this story to a roomful of MBA students at Cass Business School’s London Symposium in May 2019, it is with an air of bemusement. “Who goes to work to play games?” she asks.

As a black woman in finance in the City of London in the early 2000s, she was already a unicorn, and she wanted to bring her different perspective to her work. However, comments like this one proved that this was not going to be easy in a corporate environment—and it wasn’t just her perspective as a worker that the finance sector was ignoring.

A market research study conducted last year discovered that men in the UK hold twice as much in investments as women, a whopping deficit that added up to a gender investment gap of over £15 billion ($19.5 billion).

Clearly, women were being left out of investing as both decisionmakers and as clients, and Davinia knew that she needed to act.

In 2018, she launched Rainchq: a financial services platform specifically for women, designed to help them take control of their financial futures by equipping them with the knowledge, education, and advice to motivate them to invest.

Since completing her EMBA at Cass Business School, Davinia has her sights set on promoting financial inclusion for women and counteracting what she calls a culture of “normalized innumeracy”.


Finding your tribe

From feeling overlooked in the world of City finance, to creating her own network of female ‘rainmakers’ through Rainchq, Davinia’s entrepreneurial journey has been driven by a passion for finding and creating community, and she says that the sense of belonging that she found at Cass Business School has helped her to succeed.

“Several people in my cohort were entrepreneurs, worked in finance or private equity, or were planning to embark on startup life themselves,” she recalls. “[I loved] having a tribe of people who were about to step our on the same path of life that I was.

“I was able to draw on the knowledge and experience of the people who had been before us, but also of people who were at exactly the same stage as me.”

Finding her ‘tribe’ at Cass Business School allowed Davinia to make her entrepreneurial ambitions a reality, and she believes that this notion of expanding community is at the heart of any great innovation.

Take Apple: twenty years ago, the reserve of graphic designers; today, their products are impossible to avoid, bringing global connectivity to the pockets of the masses.

But, as with any great innovation, it can be hard to bring more traditional minds into your vision. Particularly as a company exclusively targeting women, Rainchq has been met with derision from some detractors as being too ‘niche’ to succeed.

At this, Davinia has to laugh.

“It’s so funny that whenever you talk about something that is designed or built for women, that people dismiss it as ‘niche’!” she chuckles.

To her, it reflects the prevailing mainstream attitudes towards women in business—that their role is marginal, and that they do not need to be catered to. But by 2020, women are set to control two thirds of private wealth globally: their influence is to be underestimated at corporations’ own peril.


“I can only be myself”

As a pioneer in the space, Davinia is unfazed by the challenge of creating change.

“You have to step out on faith, even if everyone else thinks you’re the outlier, or that you’re crazy,” she shrugs. “It’s about bringing other people on the journey sometimes, rather than being swept along with the tide.

“I just couldn’t continue to live uncomfortably—I can only be myself.”

Davinia’s experience on the EMBA at Cass Business School has helped her do that, by taking her out of her stagnant environment and placing her in context with other dynamic thinkers who were also looking to make waves.

When she sums up the experience, it is perhaps no surprise that she puts it in terms of a long-term investment.

“To me, there was no better investment I could have made in myself at that point in my career, as I was about to make the biggest pivot of my professional life,” she says. “I was suddenly surrounded by people who had similar passions and were all pushing in the same direction.”

The result is a huge improvement in not only Davinia’s career satisfaction, but potentially in financial literacy among women at large.

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.

Lydia

Verified

23/02/2023

On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.

Nathaniel

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London

Muhammad

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.

Dorah

Verified

23/01/2023

On Campus

professors

The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather

Nora

Verified

17/12/2022

On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.

Antonia

Verified

21/11/2022

On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.

Muhammad

Verified

15/11/2022

On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.

Navya

Verified

11/11/2022

On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society