Natalie Cartwright

Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: Co-founder and chief operating officer, Finn.ai, Age 33

When the war in Syria broke out in 2011, Natalie Cartwright, co-founder and chief operating officer of Finn.ai, was overseeing the Syria portfolio for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. At the time, unrest meant supplies of life-saving treatment for people suffering from HIV infection were being threatened.

“[My] colleagues in Syria at the Ministry of Health and Red Crescent had bombs falling within blocks of their family homes and were shot at,” she said. “And yet they still worried about keeping national health programs running.”

Her work with the fund enabled needed pharmaceuticals to continue flowing to people during the war.

It’s evidence of Cartwright’s ability to bring disparate parties together to find stable ground – even as falling bombs are shaking the earth beneath their feet.

Sometimes leadership qualities are inborn. Cartwright was her high school class president, director of leadership programs at the YMCA, and her graduate school class valedictorian. That’s not to say her abilities weren’t cultivated by the most important people in her life.

“My mom’s last words to me when she dropped me off at elementary school every morning were ‘Be nice to everyone today,’” Cartwright said. “That was my first leadership training.”

Even though she can’t help being noticed for her successes, she’s put her prominence to good use. She gives interviews on shows such as She Built That, presented at the Next Big Thing convention and speaks to, mentors and judges competitions for aspiring young entrepreneurs.

Among the up-and-comers, women hold particular importance for Cartwright. “Women aren’t there yet with gender equality, and it makes for bad business.”

Cartwright holds a bachelor of arts in psychology and pathology from McGill University, a master of public health from Lund University in Sweden and an MBA from IE Business School in Spain. In 2014 she brought her training and experience together to create Finn.ai, an artificial-intelligence banking interface for day-to-day transactions, budgeting and saving, customer support and other financial business functions.

Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40 .