Evita Lune will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy workshop: Empowering Excellence, on January 25-26, organized by the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and Fintech Latvia Association.

Evita Lune speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy


The inaugural edition of the "Fintech Board Members Academy: Empowering Excellence" will be held on January 25-26. This meticulously crafted, two-day, in-person event is tailored for industry leaders, bringing together over 10 local and international speakers to provide comprehensive insights into critical topics shaping the future of the fintech industry in Latvia.

The Academy is organised by the Fintech Latvia Association in cooperation with the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and will help you understand the expectations of the Regulator and get insights from industry professionals as well as established market participants on how to fulfill those expectations in a compliant manner, including topics like establishing a compliance and internal control system, creating an effective governance structure, risk management, etc.

For more information about the Academy and to register: fintechacademy.lv. Admissions open until 22 January.

Evita Lune and other Jury members awarded new winners of the University of Latvia (UL) Business Incubator program

Evita Lune at the University of Latvia


This week Evita Lune, a Partner, and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners had the honour to evaluate the ten most focused teams who completed the eight-week phase of the pre-incubation program at the University of Latvia. The jury awarded 3 teams a cash grant to further develop their ideas: ReCyclone, Purefy and Kyukvi. 

“I would like to thank the Business Incubator of Latvijas Universitate for inviting me to be a patron and a mentor for this program. I am looking forward to seeing the progress of the teams in the next 12-week stage, which will start in January 2024. I am also excited to meet the new batch of aspiring entrepreneurs joining the incubator soon. 

I believe that supporting the start-up ecosystem is crucial for Latvia's economic and social development and the region. I encourage other individuals and companies to donate and act as mentors for the Business Incubator at Latvijas Universitates and help the next generation of innovators succeed."

Partner Evita Lune interviewed at the Nordic FinTech Summit

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of our FinTech Practice Group, shared her insights with the Nordic Fintech Magazine during the Nordic FinTech Summit in Helsinki. Watch the video to learn more about the challenges of attracting and retaining top FinTech talent, discover what brought Pedersen & Partners to this prestigious event and find out how Evita describes the Nordic Fintech ecosystem in just three words.

Opportunities for women in different cultures: why do we give away top positions to men?

The LIDERE (LEADER) Forum is a Latvian forum dedicated to inspiring women to reach greater heights of achievement. LIDERE has successfully organised five major annual events since 2018, providing a platform for renowned public servants, businesswomen, academia, cultural ambassadors, sports stars, among many others, to speak up, share, encourage, and propel women’s issues to large regional and global audiences.

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, addressed the 2020 LIDERE forum, where she shared the floor with Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the first female president of Latvia, Ilze Viņķele, Latvian Minister of Health, Laura Keršule, Vice-President of LMT, Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere, founder of Madara Cosmetics, and Gunta Jēkabsone, Chairperson of the Board at Augstsprieguma tīkls AS. The event was attended by 1,000 live participants and 10,000 streaming.

In a recent publication of selected highlights from LIDERE forum speeches, Evita’s contribution draws on her observations from her extensive background in Executive Search, specifically in FinTech, and the blatant absence of women candidates for top level positions. She reflects on the lack of opportunities for women around the world who are bound by legal restraints, stereotypes, traditions, and unfair treatment in the workplace. On the other hand, women in other developing or developed countries hold themselves back from seizing opportunities and rising above their comfort zone.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the first female president of Latvia; Laura Ikauniece, Latvian athlete; Elina Garanca, Latvian mezzo-soprano; Mara Zalite, Latvian writer and cultural worker, and the Līdere forum speakers are just a few of the successful Latvian women Evita mentions as inspiring role models.

Evita’s speech concludes with an invitation and a challenge to women to put aside their fears, timidity, indecision, reluctance to take responsibility – and instead, live a fulfilling life in which they set and achieve ambitious goals.

The upcoming sixth edition of the forum, the growing interest towards the issues addressed, and the loyal audiences who attend year after year are a continuous testament to the important work done by Solvita Kabakova, the founder of LIDERE, and her team in advancing these issues both regionally and globally.

Train your “ambition muscle” as you train your body and mind: Evita Lune discusses women’s ambition and leadership

“We have many talented women, but they lack the ambition to take up top executive positions, especially on a global scale,” says Evita Lune, Global Partner at Pedersen & Partners, and one of the supporters of Novatore Impact Summit in an interview conducted by Līva Melbārzde, former Editor-in-Chief of Dienas Bizness. This international forum will take place in Riga this year from 22 to 23 September, with the main aim of encouraging and motivating women to aim for the highest goals in their careers by realising their full potential.

What are the main career milestones that propelled you into management?

I am a Partner at Pedersen & Partners, which means that I am a co-owner of a group which does business in 50 countries. Day-to-day, I work in the field of global financial technology, handling a portfolio of FinTech clients, and I also lead the Baltic Team at Pedersen & Partners. Our firm has very strong teams here in the Baltics, and I can confidently say that we are the best executive search firm operating in the region. I reached this position by working hard and focusing on top quality. It is a fact that any work can be done in more than one way – perhaps just “good enough”, or perhaps brilliantly. In my projects, I have always strategized to do something better, and it is this constant keenness to do quality work has allowed me to achieve my current level. Of course, my education has also played a role, and not only academically – I obtained a PhD in socioeconomics from the University of Latvia, and I had a wonderful first job at Shell, an international company. It was a great experience, as I learned how to work at a high level and to build a global business. In addition, I also worked at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, as a Director of the Executive MBA Program. There, too, I was lucky to work in an academically excellent environment. This experience encouraged me to set my own example of excellence in the organisation where I work.

But you had a personal ambition to become a manager, didn’t you? I mean, sometimes people are excellent specialists in their field, yet they never become managers.

I am determined, and I don’t suffer from any self-doubt or shyness. It’s the opposite – I’ve always considered that I know everything better than anyone else and can do everything in the best way possible.

It’s still a rather widespread behaviour among women that even when they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to become a manager, they start questioning themselves endlessly – will I really make it? What would your advice be to these women?

I absolutely agree. In my work, I have noticed that women look to find fault with themselves more often, and tend to be too self-critical. My advice would be that we should train our “ambition muscles” just as we train our bodies and minds. The best way to do this is to simply start applying for different jobs, above and beyond your comfort zone. For example, it often seems easier to only call people whom we know, opting for a kind of “back-office” position, just to avoid confronting anyone new and avoiding risk. It is all nice, easy, and familiar. However, this is not a position that leads to career success. The good news is that the problem can be solved – after all, I too used to have problems starting conversations with people I didn’t know. I got rid of this complex when I worked in my clothing store – there, I had to not only say hello to strangers, but also ask how I could serve them, and help choose what fitted them best. I got wonderful energy from these conversations, and my shyness in talking to strangers disappeared completely. However, if we continue to do nothing and refuse to step out of our comfort zone, we never realise our potential, and we lose so much in our lives by doing this.

Women also sometimes believe that they must choose between family and career. Are these two things really so incompatible?

In our family, we have raised four children. Personally, I’ve never taken long breaks or holidays, even when the children were very little – I don’t want to say that there were no difficulties, but everything could be done with planning. Among my female friends, there are some who have raised as many as seven children, and they have achieved even more in their careers. I think that the family gives an additional impetus to achieve more, to be a role model for one’s children, be an equal partner to one’s husband and overall live as a balanced person, not a bundle of unhappiness. I have seen lonely men who seem to have all the time and resources in the world to gain the highest achievements – but after some time, they become unmotivated and destructive, suffer a preventable burnout or give in to bad habits. I don’t have time for anything like this, as I have different responsibilities. Therefore, to me, family and career are complementary. I can also say that personally, if I had to do only housework and could not socialise or express myself intellectually, I’d be very unhappy. Hence, the myth about choosing between career and family is obsolete. Today, we don’t even speak about work-life balance anymore; we talk about an integrated life which includes all aspects of happiness. This is the aim that we should strive for.

What advice would you give to a woman who has no shortage of career ambitions, who has not yet reached the very highest level of management, but who is forced to face discrimination on her way there? This could range from silly remarks to deliberately ignoring her opinion – perhaps showing that women cannot play in the same career league as men after all.

I should say first that here in Latvia, this problem is less pronounced than, for example, in Central Asia or Latin America. However, if you find yourself in such a situation, firstly I’d suggest developing your skills above that of all your male colleagues! Secondly, be sure to express your opinion in any situation where it is possible – be loud and visible, yet try not to fight with the same weapons as men. You should work with all your personality, and appreciate what nature has given you as a woman. It is important to be competent, visible and strong with the management skills that women have acquired, but there’s no need to fight men on their own territory. On the contrary, a woman should find a way to be respected as a manager and an opinion leader by staying true to who she is, realising and using her strengths.

This summer, the European Parliament adopted a directive which states that at least 33% of a company’s board and 40% of a council should be made up of women. What does this directive mean for women and the labour market in the Baltics?

Our global clients are listed companies with over 250 employees in countries such as the UK, Ireland, and Germany. These companies have been working according to these principles for some time already, without awaiting the adoption of the directive. We work with them to ensure that women are represented accordingly – not only in the final result, but earlier on in the search process. For example, if we have 10 final candidates, at least four should be women – otherwise, these companies don’t even accept the shortlist. However, this has not always been the case.

First, this directive is a real opportunity for female applicants to be considered as potential candidates for a position. Second, this is also an opportunity to improve company performance, as studies show that when companies have women on their boards, their performance, effectiveness, and sustainability improves. Thanks to the presence of women, the management team is less aggressive, less destructive, less intra-competitive. There are cases where men are ready to sacrifice the business for their ego and their victory. The presence of women has a balancing and calming effect. We have also seen this in our own firm – the Pedersen & Partners governance consists of 15 partners, three of whom are women.

I have read a study which found that, by anonymising the candidates’ questionnaires, the share of women in leading positions increased by as much as 70%. Can you comment on this?

Our executive search services are mainly used by companies which have high governance standards. Conversely, our situation is the opposite; these companies ask us to provide female candidates, but we sometimes have difficulty in finding and attracting them.

What are the reasons for this?

We focus on top leadership positions, i.e. CEOs, CFOs, TCOs. Female finance, marketing and HR directors can be found more easily, but women are few and far between at the very top. We have many talented women, but they lack ambition to take up a top executive position, especially on a global scale.

What should a woman do if she sees in herself the skills and potential to take up a top management position? How does she go about it with confidence?

First, she should signal her willingness to take up an executive position, by making it clear when the time is appropriate. Second, she should consider her current job from the following point of view: perhaps it will not be possible for her to take up a CEO position, maybe the company is too large, and then it would be useful to look around for smaller companies where it would be possible to gain CEO experience. Third, she should consider her own skills and understand what is still missing. At the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, our Executive MBA program consisted of 12 courses which formed the basis of what each CEO should know. However, one should not fall to the opposite extreme! Many women are very diligent students and have “true achiever syndrome” where they are ready to pursue one degree after another without finding any practical career applications for them. It is very comfortable to study just for the sake of studying, but it is also necessary to gain experience in practice – this real-world knowledge brings added value. Among the skills that CEOs should acquire nowadays, I would strongly recommend digital and technology; without these, you will be excluded not only from management positions, but also from higher-paid jobs in the labour market in general. And one should certainly follow the latest IT trends and learn how to use modern technologies – if necessary, from your own children!

They say that we have many smart, educated, and ambitious women here in the Baltics. Therefore, it is a bit surprising that there is still a shortage of top managers to attract.

In general, the situation here in the Baltics is very good. As women, all possibilities are available to us. In modern companies, there is no gender discrimination, and applicants are judged on their knowledge, skills, and ambition. In Latvia, we have at least one unicorn company, and there are others with the same potential. I suggest pursuing a career in a company which is modern, open and meets sustainability standards. It is useless to try to succeed in a company that is rotten at the core. If the company is led by an old men’s club with rigid backward thinking, don’t struggle there; go to a company which works based on modern standards and values. There is always the possibility of setting up your own company, where you will be able to create and lead just the way you want. Of course, one should bear in mind that a small, undetermined company will most likely not become a unicorn, as it lacks ambition. It is important to look at the specifics of one’s company regionally, if not globally.

Why is it important for you to support the international NOVATORE Impact Summit for economic empowerment of women, which will take place on 22-23 September this year?

I want to inspire other women to become the best version of themselves and achieve more in their lives and careers. For us, proper governance principles are very important, and the participation and inspiration of women is a great example of proper governance. I am glad that Latvia and our entire region in general is moving in the right direction. I see this event as a contribution towards our becoming an advanced and democratic society. Personally, I have never encountered the attitude that I am lacking something professionally, either because I’m a woman or because I’m from Latvia. We sometimes undervalue our freedoms – if anyone doubts this, go to Afghanistan and try to live there. It is silly to miss out on the opportunities that we have! I believe that we also have an obligation towards our country, which has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves and raise our children – even more so, because Latvia is a small country. We are not a large, wealthy nation where women can afford to live at men’s expense. Let’s build our riches together, and not just be lazy and consume! If we want our country to be prosperous, then we have to work – not with shyness and modesty, but with pride in ourselves and our achievements.

Partner Evita Lune interviewed on the University of Latvia Student Business Incubator podcast

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of Pedersen & Partners’ FinTech Practice, was recently interviewed by a podcast hosted by the University of Latvia Student Business Incubator. Evita is an alumna of the University of Latvia, and she takes a keen interest in her alma mater’s young entrepreneurs, supporting the Business Incubator as a private donor and patron, and mentoring students in their early business journeys. She initially decided to donate after she participated in their Blockchain Accelerator program herself at a time when the companies in the blockchain environment were at the peak of ICO (Initial coin offering), issuing coins, tokens, and currencies. A selection of the points that Evita covered in the podcast:

• New ideas and new companies allow us to look at things from a different angle, and they give fresh impetus to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the basis of every demographic country and modern economy.

• Within the Blockchain Accelerator project, it was interesting to understand the new form of raising finance, and the way in which economic relations changed in general when issuing money was no longer the sole domain of the state, but could be done by any company. Taking part in this program and learning about new technologies and ways of doing business globally was a fantastic experience.

• Supporting young entrepreneurs is not only personally satisfying, but good for the industry as a whole. Some of my FinTech clients at a certain level of maturity are often interested in creating their own incubators and accelerators, and they see a real return on investment when these new companies and ideas contribute to the growth of the business.

Evita concluded with three tips for young entrepreneurs:

1. In business, having the newest or best idea is not necessarily the most important thing – instead, it is more important to find a niche that can be implemented successfully. The winner is often the one who can fulfil an idea very well, even if it is an old idea.

2. Young entrepreneurs should think globally. We have the opportunity to live in a free country and an open economy, and we are not limited to our own country or city. Many ideas in business incubators are too modest – global plans do not always require huge resources!

3. Choose great teammates, because collaborating is a better experience than sitting alone. Team members who can dance until dawn are not always the ones who are most valuable in business! It is necessary to carefully consider the people with whom you want to build a company. Difficulties, challenges, and indeed victories are much more enjoyable when shared with your partners.

2021 Mission Executive

Mission Executive

2021 MISSION: EXECUTIVE is a program aimed at sharing knowledge, practical experience and recommendations, and encourage ambitious and purposeful professional growth for women leaders on their path to the C-suite, board, and council level. Partner Evita Lune will share a virtual stage with 13 other top women executives from a wide range of industries – Business, Transportation, TV & Media, Top Management Consulting, IT, Finance, Communications, Lifestyle, Retail, Legal, and more – in the 2021 MISSION: EXECUTIVE conversations cycle. 

FinTech Innovator Chats - Kimmo Rytkönen

In this edition of the FinTech Innovator Chats, Partner Evita Lune is joined by Kimmo Rytkönen, serial entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Income marketplace. Evita and Kimmo discuss the potential of peer-to-peer lending, what "skin in the game" means for marketplaces, how Decentralised Finance (DeFi) will affect the industry, and why Kimmo’s expansion strategy has been global from Day 1.



Don’t be modest in your professional life – Evita Lune’s 10 pointers for professional growth

by Ieva Jātniece

There are women in this world who are very inspiring, and who lead by example. One of these women is Evita Lune – PhD in Economics, Partner and Global Head of FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, and Speaker at the Līdere Forum. Evita Lune has been working internationally for years, recruiting high-level executives for various companies. However, her professional success has not diminished her feminine charm. “Don't let stereotypes influence you!” says Evita.

Evita Lune’s 10 pointers for professional growth

  • Follow the path your character has given you

By nature, I am an energetic and impatient person, so naturally I have tried many different things in my life. However, it has always seemed important to me to achieve outstanding results in whatever I do. I have worked for Shell, been the director of the EMBA program at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, and co-owned a fashion store. For the past fifteen years, I have been a Global Partner in the high-level executive search company Pedersen & Partners. If you do the best you can, life will constantly offer you new career opportunities. 

  • Be aware of your internal obstacles

I used to lack an objective self-assessment of my abilities. I was too modest in my demands, and my tolerance was too high – I tried to work with colleagues who do not keep their promises, or clients who were not always professional. It is common for many women to underestimate themselves, and fail to speak up in situations where something is not going well. For this reason, it is important to be aware of such obstacles, and to build your career and circle of clients more purposefully in the future.

  • Do not stay in the shadows

Not all people can be leaders, and not everyone has to take a position that causes them great discomfort. However, I often see fear and internal insecurity holding women back from taking the lead in the first place. I would like to encourage women to rise through the ranks, because leaders have more influence and power: if you have talent, if you are a smart, diligent, responsible person with high ethical standards, then do not stay in the shadows, but take responsibility and move yourself forward! By doing this, you will not only have more power over your own life, but you will also positively influence others.

  • Everything is dependent on your inner drive!

I work in the executive search industry, where I see that we are most inspired by people who are full of enthusiasm and passion. In their presence, others also want to do more and achieve more. A good leader is one who is able to inspire, to present the vision and direction in which the company should go.
At the same time, a good leader should not be neurotic or chaotic, one day in a good mood and the next in a bad mood. Instead, a good leader has stable energy and a clear direction, and understands that expressing emotions is inappropriate in a professional environment – just like discussing personal problems or talking about people behind their backs. This applies to both sexes, of course!

  • Families help you to achieve more

It is a myth that female executives are unable to have both a career and a family life. I have a lot of colleagues who are divorced or childless, and sometimes it seems that more can be done at work if you do not have family commitments. But this is not the case: I see that people who have failed in their personal lives are often less professionally motivated, less organised and less achievement-oriented than those whose lives encompass more than work. I myself have participated in the upbringing of my husband’s two children, as well as the two children we have together. In total, my husband and I devote a lot of time and energy to these four children, but it has not hindered our careers. People with children are very organized and motivated – we are able to evaluate priorities, and we do not waste time. Moreover, we cannot afford to poison ourselves with bad choices or self-destructive actions – we have to live long and support the next generation. I am convinced that having children only benefits our careers and achievements.

  • Do not let anyone lie to you

I have heard it said that strong women make men weak, but I cannot imagine why a self-respecting woman should ever choose a weak man. The men in my life have certainly not become weaker by associating with me – quite the opposite! I’m not just talking about my husband, who has always known what he wants to achieve and lived his life with purpose, but also my business colleagues – I have raised the quality bar for quite a few. A woman who creates constructive competition also helps to raises the standards for the men around her as well.

  • Know your contribution

Our country is too small to expect only the men to provide economic prosperity. If we use the opportunities given to us by our country to study, receive medical services, ride public transport and the like, but we choose to sit on the couch and not work, we are endangering the freedom of Latvia. It is an irresponsible attitude towards our country: we cannot export oil and gas, so we must export our intelligence. And women must contribute!

  • Attitude is everything

Different companies have different internal work cultures. However, it must be kept in mind that in workplaces where employees are humiliated and insulted, quality decreases over time – the best employees will leave. In the long run, companies with ethical values will win out.
I have also noticed that employees work more enthusiastically in companies where the work aims to bring greater benefits to society as a whole. This encourages employees more than standard business practices. 

  • Never stop learning

If you do not want to fall out of the professional environment, you need to learn technology. The use of digital tools has dramatically changed the world, and the way we work. Currently, the basics of economics are being thoroughly disrupted – with the use of cryptocurrency, every company can build its own economy.
You don’t have to be an IT specialist, but you must understand what technologies can achieve in a company and in a country, and how they affect all economic processes. Those who know how to use IT will definitely succeed, and surge ahead of those who do not, both in terms of personal career and the wider economy.

  • You need to relax in order to be efficient

My hobby list is longer than my work list! My hobbies have given me the energy to go on frequent business trips, meet people all the time and sell services on a global scale. I have been water skiing for fifteen years – as often as five times a week on summer evenings – and I practice yoga every day without exception. As a family, we ride bicycles, SUP boards, and go on boat trips in the summer, and in winter, we all go downhill skiing. I have also been a winter swimmer for years. All of these activities help to clear my head and absorb energy for new jobs.

  • Suggestions

For your first job, I definitely recommend choosing a large organisation that can serve as a good learning opportunity. My first job was at Shell – this experience was like a professional guide to business. Once you have learned everything you can from your first placement, you can experiment further.
Finally, it is important for new employees to understand that material evaluation comes as a reward for working with an open heart. In the beginning, the work must be of excellent quality and the client must have a great experience – only then they will want to cooperate again and pay higher fees. It never happens the other way around – I cannot ask for a lot of money and only then try to do something great!


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