Audrey Blackmon, Fintech & Payments Industry Leader at Verrency
is a seasoned veteran with over 25 years of experience in the payments industry. As the SVP Business Development, Audrey leads Sales Strategy at Verrency for North & South America. She serves as an advisor to the Executive Board of Wnet, an advisor to startups at Plug & Play and other Fintech startups.
Deck 7: If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you, ‘Give me three adjectives that best describe you,’ what would I hear?
AUDREY BLACKMON: Passionate, trustworthy and thoughtful.
D7: How would you describe your leadership style and philosophy?
AB: I would describe my style as empowering and inclusive. I believe you should hire smart and empower your team to be successful.�� Provide them what they need to be successful. I think trust is key in any relationship and gaining the trust of your team is very important as that’s the foundation of a relationship that you can build from.
D7: At Verrency, how do you keep up with the changing consumer demand and ensure a seamless experience?
AB: We listen to the industry as well as our customers (Card Issuing Financial Institutions and Processors) and make adjustments along the way. We anticipate where technology is going and how we can help our customers accelerate their technology to increase customer retention, improve customer experience and open up new opportunities for revenue growth.
"The speed in which we bring solutions to market is going to continue to happen very quickly. AI, cryptocurrency and blockchain are some of the technologies that continue to be the areas of focus and rapid change."
D7: What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the fintech industry?
AB: A lot of it is going to be consolidation. Fintech is still so new, we’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the Fintech industry and technology and overlap. And early companies that started 10 years ago are being acquired, so, I think that part of it is going to continue to happen more rapidly. But also the turn of technology is rapidly changing. The new things that are coming out like AI – we’re figuring out how to use AI in Fintech, obviously that’s going to be a big deal and also the movement of money.
The movement of money is happening faster, so, there are companies that are focused on how they can do it more securely. I believe, the speed in which we bring solutions to market is going to continue to happen very quickly. AI, cryptocurrency and blockchain are some of the technologies that continue to be the areas of focus and rapid change.
"Fintech is still so new, we’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the Fintech industry and technology and overlap. And early companies that started 10 years ago are being acquired."
D7: Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in tech, even though it was a male-dominated field? Were there any challenges in your path to success?
AB: Initially, I was drawn to technology because of my curiosity and desire to learn new things. I continue to be drawn to Fintech because of the speed of change in technology and my ability to use my experience to bridge the old and new to help launch new products into market.
As a Business Development professional, I’m often pitching to all or majority of men. As a Sales leader, I’ve often led teams that are majority men. One of the challenges I’ve experienced is male colleagues who try to silence my voice. In every organization I’ve worked for, I’ve had male colleague over take a conversation or meeting when I’m the one leading the meeting.
D7: What advice would you give to young girls interested in computer science and technology?
AB: I would say learn as much as you can and drive yourself to be the best. Be confident and bold. As women we have to be very confident and be bold as you move through your career and don’t be afraid. Be sure to connect with other women who can provide guidance and support. A lot of times my mentors were men but I think women mentors are just as important because we support each other in different ways. Lot of times it’s emotional but we do support each other in different ways. So, you can find a woman mentor or someone to champion for you because that’s really important.
"The movement of money is happening faster, so, there are companies that are focused on how they can do it more securely."
D7: What is your superpower?
AB: I would say that my superpower is my high emotional intelligence (EQ).
Although we’re In technology, people forget that everything is driven by your ability to connect with people. My ability to evaluate a situation and genuinely empathize with other allows me to quickly connect with my employees, customers and others. Knowing who I am and my transparency resonates with others. My motivation to succeed helps drive me to reach higher goals. Finally, my passion to put others needs in front of my own keeps me striving to do the right thing.