Empowering 'paytech' women to lead in challenging times

Wednesday 15 July 2020 08:31 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Interview

The Paypers sat with Wendy Holliday, Wnet CEO, to learn means of creating financial safety, driving diversity, and pursuing career opportunities during challenging times

Wendy, you have more than 20 years in non-profit management – how does your experience tie into the payments and fintech space and Wnet’s overall activity?

Enabling women in their professional lives has been a significant theme in my career for more than two decades. As Digital Enterprise Society’s Executive Director, formerly PLM World, I served as a mentor to other women, supporting the first female board members at PLM World and starting a ‘Women at Work’ program as part of their annual conference. My background and experience championing women are ideally suited to advance Wnet’s efforts to foster gender inclusivity within the financial services and fintech industries.

On July 21, 2020, Wnet will be holding the PayTechWomenLive. Why is it important for payments professionals to join this virtual event?

Right now, payments leaders everywhere are looking for inspiration and new ways to be proactive and pave the way for positive change – despite these challenging times. In addition to being impacted by COVID-19, the industry still needs to affect change to fight systemic, unconscious bias as well as gender and racial pay gaps. Now more than ever, we need to be our own change agents and mentors.

Wnet’s PayTechWomenLive will bring together hundreds of women in payments and fintech to grow as leaders and expand our networks. This exciting, new 90-minute virtual event will feature a keynote presentation by financial services leader Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest – a fierce advocate for women’s leadership, financial health, and closing the pay gap. Plus, she brings a wealth of expertise as a Wall Street leader, the CEO at Ellevest, and the former CEO at Smith Barney, US Trust, the Citi Private Bank, Sanford C. Bernstein, among others.

The event will include interactive, live breakouts with some of the most prominent global payment leaders from Wnet’s member community, including Verrency; FIS Banking & Merchant Solutions; Mastercard; ControlScan; Discover Financial Services; Green Rhino Recruitment; Bank of America Merchant Services; and more.

What does the COVID-19 pandemic tell us about gender equality?

We need diversity now more than ever, and integrating diversity into any corporate culture is complex, even when we are truly committed to doing so. With a workforce challenged by the global pandemic, the concern is that inclusion and diversity efforts will be put on hold as businesses focus on their most fundamental needs and recovery. Yet, research has repeatedly shown that diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts and enabling businesses to have a stronger competitive edge. McKinsey’s May report, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, reinforces the business case for inclusion and diversity.

In responding to COVID-19 effects over financial organisations, what role does Wnet play in empowering women to lead?

During these times, we’ve created more ways to empower women in payments to navigate any path and find new levels of confidence, competence, and camaraderie. Wnet’s 24/7/365 online resource called ‘SocialLink’ provides access to webinars and virtual chapter meetings with a focus on how to thrive in the ‘new normal’. Some of our most popular sessions include ‘How to Navigate Change, Challenge & Uncertainty and Unleash Unprecedented Performance’, ‘How to Have Courageous Conversations About Race’. ‘COVID-19 - Global, Economic, Personal, & Professional Impacts’, and ‘Networking in a Virtual World’.

Members needing advice or access to recruiters can now tap into Wnet’s ‘Career Connections’ or use the Membership Directory to virtually expand their business networks. Our ‘Mentor for a Minute’ program includes 200+ mentors prepared to assist executives in their areas of need.

We remain focused on doing everything we can to bring women in payments and the men that advocate for them the tools to empower them to navigate their path. PayTechWomenLive will be another way to reconnect with women across the country, create new relationships, and hear from CEOs and prominent global executives on relevant topics that are affecting the payments industry, especially in light of the global pandemic.

Female students sometimes need female role models to encourage them to go for it. What was the emblematic figure of your study years and what did you learn from it?

I completely agree. I was lucky enough to have multiple strong female role models while in undergraduate and graduate work. My favourite piece of advice was, ‘If you want to get ahead – make yourself uncomfortable’. Meaning – never stop learning and try things that may seem daunting but will ultimately help you grow.

If you were to give some advice to a younger self, what advice would you give?

Network. The time to build your network is not when you need one. That is what I love about associations like Wnet. Joining Wnet is a great opportunity to meet people in your field, make a connection and be a connection. 

About Wendy Holliday

Wnet CEO Wendy Holliday, M.Ed., CAE, has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit management. She brings a strategic and data-driven approach to associations with a focus on building member value. Holliday also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s College of Business Administration.


About Wnet

Wnet is the premier professional organisation for women in payments, providing personal enrichment no matter what stage members are in their careers. Wnet provides world-class national and regional programming, fosters networking, and promotes mentoring to help members achieve greater personal success, influence, and professional parity. Visit

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Keywords: Wendy Holliday, wnet, diversity, gender equality, payments , fintech, banking, COVID-19, PayTechWomenLive, payments leaders
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: United States
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech