Erin Ryskamp

Erin Ryskamp


Finding the career she dreamt of as a kid, but did not know existed until a few years ago.


Tackling over 200 pieces of legislation and a new fintech challenge every day is best done in a home gym, not a pencil skirt. Erin Ryskamp has the career she dreamt of as a kid, even though she did not know it existed until a few years ago. Growing up, Erin’s mom ran career education programs for the Langley, BC School District and Erin tagged along on many career exploration tours. After a tour exploring the field of law, Erin knew it was the profession for her. Why? Because Erin likes a challenge and trying new things. She imagined that as a lawyer, she could easily switch practice areas whenever she grew bored of what she was doing. Criminal law one day, corporate law the next, right? Variety is the spice of life, but after a couple of years working at a traditional law firm, she worried that bland was the only option. 
 
Erin has never accepted “we do it this way because that is how it’s always been done” and struggled to work in traditional lawyer roles. In 2017, after two and a half years articling and then practicing law in traditional full-service firms, Erin saw a job posting that piqued her interest. Mogo, a financial-technology (fintech) company in downtown Vancouver, was looking to hire in their legal and compliance department. Erin’s first thought was that this job and company were so cool, Mogo would see a flood of amazing applications and that she had no chance. But she went for it anyways… and got the job! 
 
In almost four years at Mogo, Erin has held multiple titles and is now the Director of the legal department. Mogo is a disrupter in the fintech industry. Mogo empowers its more than 1.5 million members with simple digital solutions to help them get in control of their financial health. Through the Mogo app, consumers can access a digital spending account with Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card featuring automatic carbon offsetting, easily buy and sell bitcoin, get free monthly credit score monitoring, ID fraud protection, personal loans and mortgages. Mogo also recently acquired two other exciting companies: Carta Worldwide, a digital payments platform that powers next-generation card programs, and Moka, one of Canada’s leading saving and investing apps. 
 
 Over two-hundred pieces of legislation apply to Mogo’s work and Erin enjoys the new challenge of working within all of it. A lot of legislation and regulation was created without considering how the law will work with modern consumer experiences – things like apps, websites, and new technology. For example, Erin knew close to nothing about cryptocurrency before she started working for Mogo, but it turned out that Canadian regulators did not know much about it either. Erin’s job has included working with regulators and participating in consultations as they figure out how to best navigate this new landscape (and she’s learned a lot about cryptocurrency and herself along the way). 
 
Erin always dreamt of working somewhere she never felt bored, and she has found her perfect fit at Mogo. Erin’s work includes everything from drafting and negotiating complex commercial contracts, writing the fine print for Mogo’s website and reviewing marketing material,  writing employee contracts, litigation management, legal reviews of user app experiences, and about one hundred other things in between. Erin will never know everything, but one of her greatest skills is knowing how to find answers. 
 
Working for Mogo is almost nothing like working for a traditional law firm. Since 2017, Erin has enjoyed working from home two to three days per week. That said, she doesn’t mind coming into the office because she loves her team and the fully-stocked snack cupboards (including endless Babybel cheese!). The leaders at Mogo encourage physical activity and Erin aims to spend her lunch breaks in her home gym. She’s also had opportunities to visit family poolside in Kelowna during the week, without having to take a day off. Working in comfortable clothes is the norm – Erin doesn’t even own a suit anymore. 
 
There is a lot that Erin enjoys about her job, but the people top the list. Although there is a hierarchy of titles at Mogo, the structure is actually quite flat. She works with brilliant leaders who are very approachable and truly respect and value the opinions of everyone in the office. All of the departments within Mogo work together. If there is a new product coming down the line, Erin knows about it from the start and can add her legal perspective, or even general ideas from a consumer point-of-view. Erin is also proud to have helped write the dogs-in-the-office policy for Mogo and as a dog lover herself, is excited to put it back into use (Covid-permitting).
 
Working in-house at a fintech company is a unique experience and requires a different mindset than working at a firm does. Erin encourages lawyers interested in this type of work to embrace being practical. You are a business person first and a lawyer second. Lawyers are very risk averse, for good reason, but Erin has learned that businesses don’t become successful without ever taking on some risk. Erin’s goal is to make sure that her business partners understand relevant risks so that they can make informed business decisions. In-house, you should also strive to help the business move forward instead of blocking its progress. Always be open to finding ways to make the business’ ideas work, while managing the risks, instead of finding reasons to say no. 
 
If you are interested in an in-house job, Erin’s advice is do not be intimidated about applying for it because you don’t know a lot about the organization’s products or the job looks too cool to be attainable. Erin took a chance, and it landed her the career of her dreams. If you have questions about working in-house, or practicing generally, Erin encourages you to reach out to her anytime.

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