PaymentsSource‘s annual Most Influential Women in Payments feature, now in its seventh year, highlights the women who are creating change and opportunities in the payments industry. They represent startups, investors, retailers, banks and payment networks from across the globe.
For many, their path to success wasn’t a straight line, and they credit their mentors with setting a clear example.
Payments executives from all backgrounds can draw lessons from the diverse initiatives spearheaded by these leaders. BillingTree’s Christine Lee, for example, is bringing her digital acumen to bear on the still often archaic world of healthcare payments while Walmart’s Karla Allen is steering the retail giant toward a completely new approach to mobile payments. And in a reflection of the global nature of the payments community, list newcomer Kikelomo Lawal, who was born in Nigeria and earned her law degree in the U.S., is driving a seismic shift at leading Canadian payments firm Interac.
For the first time, the editors of PaymentsSource have also recognized one woman for lifetime achievement: Ellen Richey, Visa Inc.’s chief enterprise risk officer, who plans to retire after a 40-year career in law and risk management.
Melissa Smith, CEO, WEX
Over five years as CEO of WEX, Melissa Smith has led the international corporate payments company through several quarters of growth through organic expansion and acquisitions. One of her signature moves is the artful use of partnerships to extend WEX’s payments technology in the fuel card, health care and travel sectors.
“To accommodate the fast-paced nature of the payments industry, larger companies are shifting to a model with greater emphasis on partnership or co-investment,” Smith said.
The latest examples include GasBuddy, which helps drivers find the nearest, lowest-priced gas; OnDeck, which provides funding to small businesses to gain quick access to new services; and a global partnership with Chevron.