June Felix has had an illustrious career in banking, fintech and payments technology.

Inspirational Woman- June Felix
June Felix, President of Verifone Europe

As President of Verifone Europe, she has day-to-day responsibility for more than 2,000 employees across 28 territories.

Her achievements include the 2013 Top Innovator Award by American Banker for Money2 for Health; recipient of the Edison Award for Innovation; Elected into the Innovators Hall of Fame for Banking Technology News; ranked 12th nationally (in the US) in Innovation by Banking Technology News; listed inventor on several e-commerce patents and on patent pending application for Money2 for Health.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, once I decided what I really wanted to do. I started out as studying chemical engineering and medicine but I was lucky enough to work for Proctor & Gamble over the summer and saw and worked in many different parts of that company. During that process I learned how the orchestration of all these aspects was key to running a successful business. So I got into brand management, which is the business management function that brings all the elements of business together around filling market and client needs from research, manufacturing, branding, marketing etc. This experience encouraged me to seek out roles with driving P&L.

Have you faced any significant challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

One of the most significant challenges has been being taken seriously as a woman – especially a young woman. The industries I have worked in – fintech, pharma, finance etc – have all been very heavily male dominated. One of the most important things I discovered was to find a sponsor, somebody who would mentor and guide you in your career.

So work on building relationships – friends, partners, colleagues – who can help you get things done. Only a part of the job is how capable you are – the rest is all about how you get things done.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move into a leadership position for the first time?

A leadership position could be on a project or in a new role and it really helps to have a couple of points of expertise in that position that you can rely on. Then you need to find partners or sponsors who are willing to help you in your role to develop those skills you have never done before.

When faced with two equally qualified candidates, how do you decide which one is best suited for the role?

It would come down to drive and ambition; are they going to do what it takes to get the job done? It also comes down to an assessment of their values; who are they really as individuals? You want somebody with the right integrity, somebody who will make the right call at all costs.

How do you manage you own boss?

Communications is key. Part of any relationship is building trust. That means being clear on expectations, objectives and a shared understanding of what the challenges and trade-offs are. I think that, especially when starting out, what bosses are looking for is somebody who is going to come with ideas and solutions, as much as the problems. It sounds like common sense but sometimes you learn that common sense after doing it wrong.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I always try to exercise first thing in the morning. If you look at really successful people, they are actually quite fit because the job is really challenging. You need something that gives you the energy, that gives you the health to do the job.

The early starts also give me ‘me time’, giving me the space to think.

In terms of work, I live by my lists, both personal and private objectives for the days and weeks ahead. My A1 priorities are my ‘must-do’ list and this is non-negotiable. Even with disruptions throughout my day, I know that I’ll get through my A1 list, whatever happens.

What advice can you give to members about raising their profiles within their own organisations?

Do outstanding work. At the end of the day, that has to be at the foundation. When I was at IBM, you were only as good as your last quarter ̶ it was what made the company stand out. Also, you have to find something that defines you. It depends on what your personal objective or brand is. If you want to become known as a leader in innovation, for getting things done, or for being highly effective with clients or analysis etc, then you have to focus on that skill. Ask yourself, what is it that I do exceptionally well?

How have you benefitted from coaching or mentoring?

I think coaching is so important – it’s a really valuable activity. It gives you a sounding board. The more senior you get, the less people you can talk to that really understand the challenges you face and that you are able to share anything with. If you trust that person’s judgment and their strengths and weaknesses, they can remind you that you have done it before and can achieve your objectives.

I believe that people should try as well to be mentors and coaches. It is a useful way for you to pass on what you have learned, but also can provide a useful mechanism for self-reflection.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what tips would you give to a newbie networker?

Find a way to be valuable to the other person. When you are networking you are trying to build a relationship with another person, so it’s not about having a one-way relationship. You are trying to create something that is mutually beneficial. You also need to try and create multiple connections, so you have a number of reasons to stay in touch.

There are also different levels of networking; I’ve helped people to get their kids into their choice of college or get work experience. That’s quite a personal connection – otherwise networking can be so transactional in nature. Whilst that is OK, it means your calls won’t be answered quite so quickly as if you have connected on a more personal level.

What does the future hold for you?

I love what I do. I am a president of Europe for a NYSE-listed company in the center of the digitalisation of money; I am a non-executive director of a global FTSE 130 company and I enjoy immensely the fact that I am working across Europe. I have a management team that I have a lot of respect for. I’m on a fantastic journey, so I hope to be doing more of the same.

If I am in the same position in five to 10 years’ time, I’d hope to do more in terms of giving back. I’ve always tried to do some kind of charity work or something I’m passionate about. It could focus on women in fintech or education – I’m working through my portfolio now. For me it’s an important piece of feeling well-rounded that you can contribute something not only in your business life, but your personal life too.

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