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What it means to be a female leader in the payments industry

Bank of America Merchant Services’ vice president, Jennifer Allie, revealed her own career tips and advice for up-and-coming leaders in the payments industry, tackling questions ranging from the evolution of payments to overcoming career challenges.

In this article, Jennifer Allie shares her insight on maintaining a work/life balance and the best qualities to look for in a mentor.

Q. What changes have you experienced in the payments industry during your career?
I started in 2005 when it was very much a “transactional” world. The main focus was strictly on processing transactions – a very old school way of thought. Now, the payments industry is truly a technology melting pot. Between eCommerce payment gateways, APIs and integrated solutions, payment transactions have become part of the entire purchase journey.

Q. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when starting a career at a new organization?
A new job always starts with a rush of information. Alarms start going off in your head saying, ‘Oh no, I can’t do this!’ But that’s not true.

I just remember to take it one day and one topic at a time. Take the time to step back and think about what you’re trying to accomplish so you can course-correct if need be.

Q. Who are your mentors?
I’ve had many mentors, both men and women. The great thing about mentors is that you get to pick who receives that honor. I think the best way to grow personally and professionally is to choose mentors who have diverse backgrounds and perspectives. You can always have more than one mentor!

Q. What can we do to help more girls and women be aware of opportunities in the payments and technology/fintech space?
Volunteer in schools and offer to speak, or at least spend time, at female-targeted charities. Be a role model to the women and girls in those groups. Let them see your success.

Q. How do you maintain a work/life balance?
For me, I accept that some days will be perfectly balanced but others won’t be - and that’s okay. It’s about the overall picture.

I try to balance it out by making sure I’m present for the really important things. I also look for new strategies or technologies to simplify my life - for example, grocery delivery has made a huge difference.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice, what would be it be?

Keep learning. Take advantage of any educational opportunities your company offers, join local chapters of organizations you admire, or explore your community for interesting classes or seminars. Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

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