Tuesday, January 19, 2021
In addition, Wnet recently hired its first chief executive officer, Wendy Holliday, M.Ed., CAE, to support and expand the organization's mission for creating leadership positions for talented fintech and payments industry women and their male advocates.
Following are Holliday's comments from a Jan. 15 interview with The Green Sheet.
What inspired you to lead Wnet?
I believe strongly in Wnet’s mission to create a stronger and more diverse industry by empowering and investing in women and that this is central to the success of every company. With greater diversity, we are more creative, productive and profitable.
The opportunity at Wnet allowed me to continue my passion for the advancement of women. 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 the PLM World annual conference.
My strategic and data-driven approach to association management, the inclusion of volunteers, and success with increasing membership, diversity and event attendance are competencies that will serve me well as I lead Wnet in creating a stronger and more diverse payments industry.
How would you describe Wnet’s guiding principles?
Our philosophy is simple – to help women in the global payments industry achieve greater personal success, influence and professional parity.
We accomplish this by providing personal enrichment through our world-class international, national and regional programming, enthusiastic volunteers, engaging networking opportunities and exceptional mentorship programs. Our vision is to have a world where a woman’s potential is as unlimited as her ambition.
How has the organization changed since its inception?
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, our goal of serving professional women in the payments industry has not changed since our inception in 2005. However, Wnet members now include women – and the men who advocate for them – working in all aspects of payments and fintech including innovators, established players, ISOs, and processors, and from traditional tender like credit cards and ACH, to digitally enabled payments such as mobile payments and cryptocurrency. Wnet has grown substantially in the last five years with nearly 3,500 members that we serve annually through membership and programming. Our community includes women and male advocates from across the United States and around the world.
What are your goals for Wnet in 2021?
Wnet has mentored thousands of professional women to become more empowered. This year, and with support from our sponsors and partners, Wnet has exciting things on the horizon as we celebrate our 15-year anniversary. From new interactive and virtual community building opportunities to expanding partnership programs globally, our goals will support and expand upon Wnet’s mission to create more leadership positions for talented women across the payments industry.
I look forward to working with Wnet’s leaders and member community to broaden diversity and inclusivity in both our membership and the industry we represent so that women at all stages of their careers can have opportunities to lead and share their ideas and best practices. Our fall Annual Leadership Summit will bring us together to work toward our growth goals and to commemorate our past 15 years of women empowerment. I am also excited to celebrate Wnet’s future with our special member community and our corporate sponsors.
What is your vision for Wnet’s future?
As the only 501(c)(3) in the payments industry focused on women, we look first to serve. We are of the members, by the members and for the members.
As Wnet enters the next phase of growth with new global partnerships and virtual events such as PayTechWomenLive, it is important to continue to drive world-class programming designed to foster gender inclusivity within the financial services and fintech industries.
We must hone our content and member engagement strategies to drive additional member value and provide personal enrichment no matter what stage a member is in her/his career. What recommendations do you have for fostering diversity and inclusion in the payments industry?
I think it all comes down to authenticity. We must go beyond merely filling roles and checking boxes. I have heard diversity described as inviting people to the party but inclusion as asking the person to dance. – thank you, Gail Burgos, for that description. We must go beyond merely filling our roles to being inclusive.
Leaders at every level of the industry need to press for progress. But it is imperative for company leadership to support diversity and inclusion efforts. It must be central to the company culture and is a significant driver for organizational success.
Wnet is hosting a webinar with McKinsey Research on the McKinsey Women in the Workplace survey specifically as it relates to the payments space. In addition, Wnet is coordinating with Paysafe for a D&I series with Leaders In Payments Podcast. I invite everyone to listen to any of these interviews, or attend the webinar, I have found them exceedingly insightful.
Holliday added that she is honored to serve as Wnet’s first CEO and grateful for the support she has received in the first six months of her tenure from payments and fintech leaders, rising stars and male advocates who represent the Wnet member community.
"I invite business leaders to join us," Holliday said. "Connect with me on LinkedIn; follow Wnet on LinkedIn and Twitter; and visit wnetonline.org to learn more."
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