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By Mandy Killam, Group President, ACI On Premise at ACI Worldwide

One of the most valuable pieces of career advice I ever received was from one of my former bosses who once told me: Go where its hot! 

And by that he didn’t mean relocating to sunny Florida but taking on roles in demanding areas that require change. And he was right: Those environments offer women fabulous opportunities to accelerate their professional and personal growth.

I followed that advice and arrived in payments 23 years ago, by way of engineering. When I joined the industry, “payments” weren’t nearly as cool a topic as today, and the technology environment was reactive and cumbersome. But I could see the great potential for change.

Today I sit on the executive board of ACI Worldwide, a global Nasdaq listed payments software company which operates in 80 countries. I manage over USD 600 million in annual revenue, and look after more than 700 talented employees based around the world.  Together we support over 450 customers in the banking and merchant retail sector with our range of Universal Payment solutions.

The payments and fintech industry is in the middle of a major disruption. Global payments revenues are growing rapidly and the payments ecosystem is going through tremendous changes. New players are challenging old ones, old ways of doing business are being replaced by new ones. We at ACI Worldwide are part of this disruptive movement. The industry is inclusive, diverse and global, and I see opportunities for women to advance all around me!

My advice to someone just starting their career in payments and fintech? Keep moving!  It can be a tough industry, especially if you are working in an environment at the start of a transformational journey.  But in an industry in the middle of a disruptive change women have opportunities to reinvent themselves.  As I moved to business roles, I’ve relied on my technical background to help address challenges facing leaders in the industry.

Education is crucial in breaking down barriers for women looking to enter fintech and payments.  We have a responsibility to teach girls about about the opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related professions. It is also important for those already in the industry to share their experiences and help those looking to get a foot in the door.  At ACI we are passionate about nurturing and mentoring and have set up WIN, a global networking community which aims to inspire, educate, connect and recognize women at ACI and in the payments industry.

My three top tips for those with ambitions for a C-level position? Top of my list: Learn the business, from all angles; this greatly enhances your ability to add value! Secondly, spend time thinking about what needs to change today to remain relevant and prosperous three to five years on. And finally, hire the best team possible – the team that can make those changes happen!

About the author

Mandy Killam leads the On Premise P&L for ACI Worldwide, the global payments software powerhouse. In her role, she is accountable for ACI’s on-premise business, which includes delivery and support for all customers that choose to operate ACI’s solutions within their own premises (vs. hosted at ACI).  As part of this role she manages over 700 employees based around the world, supporting over 450 customers from the banking, financial intermediaries and merchant retailer segments.