PaymentsSource estimates that women represent only 30% of the workforce in the fintech industry. Through our Women in Payments interview series, Global Payments Integrated wants to share the unique experiences of women working in the payments industry.
Our newest interview is with Lisa Ludolph, Sr. Director of Marketing here at Global Payments Integrated.
We spoke with Lisa about topics such as her career, women working in payments, and tips for achieving work/life balance. Read on for the insights she shared.
Hi, Lisa. Welcome to our Women in Payments series. I would love to take a little bit of a deep dive into your career and learn more about yourself. So what's your current role?
Thanks, Mackenzie, for having me. So I've been with legacy TSYS for almost 10 years, so through all the M&A, we have been a couple of different companies. But ultimately now I am the Director of Marketing for Global Payments Integrated.
Awesome, what would you say your background is in, has it always been in that payment industry?
So I actually, when I was in seventh grade, was determined to work in advertising and went to college for that and grew up in the Detroit area, so ultimately worked on a car account like everyone who lives in that area works in advertising. So I worked on Mazda, which was a great way to kick off my career, but then had to live where it was warm and ultimately made my way to Phoenix, Arizona.
But in that meantime, I've worked on things such as B.F. Goodrich, Michelin, LifeLock, lots of major retail, real estate properties and multi mixed communities. So kind of ran the gamut. I think the nice part about agencies is that it allows you to work on a lot of different spaces within one ecosystem and then ultimately made my way to payments. I was recruited to come here about 10 years ago and I thought I'd give it a year - I'm going on ten. So obviously it worked out okay.
It's funny that I heard you say you lived in Michigan. I'm from the Midwest. I'm from Indiana. And I get why you wanted to move, not because the Midwest isn't great. It's just a little chilly in the winters. So the South is a little bit warmer. So where did your career first start off? I know you started in advertising. How was your first job? Like, did you have any challenges? Did you think you were going to be there for a while?
So in agency life, you start out as a traffic coordinator. And I would basically say it's a very underpaid, glorified intern. You are the grunt person. You are ordering food. You are, you are running around picking up the most random supplies for pitches. You kind of do it all. But the typical time to get out of traffic was a year, and I did it in six months, but I worked my tail off. I was that person that people depended on.
I kind of got - there was a really big pitch for Mazda, and our creative director left the storyboards in the office and was getting on a plane and they thought, there's no way you're going to make it to the airport. He called me and I literally rushed to the airport back before crazy security. And he tells the story that I was jumping over old ladies in wheelchairs to get him the storyboards. Not true, completely exaggerated. But I earned a reputation of doing what it took to get things done, and that's really what helped to kind of excel my career going forward. But, yeah, traffic is, it's not an easy beast to get out of. But when you do, it's something to be proud of.
That's awesome. So I know that you are a mom and I know a lot of people have issues with that work/life balance, being a mother and, you know, having a career. What are some tips for a good work/life balance that you've found to be helpful?
So what I share with other younger women, new moms, etc., and it's really not even just about being a mom, it's about being a caregiver, about you will never rock all the rules that you have every day. It's literally impossible. So there's days that you are a rock star at work, but maybe you get takeout for dinner, right? You're not Martha Stewart when it comes to dinner that night, you know, and it goes to every which way. Some days you leave early because you've got to make a kid's baseball game. And it's really a balancing act.
And if you try to be all things to all people every day, an employee, a spouse, a parent, a caregiver, you will never master that because nobody can, it's not possible. It's really about the whole, the sum, and what I mean is, each day you might give a little bit more and take a little less from each thing. But at the end, you hope that you balanced it in a good way. If you're trying to balance it every day, weekly or monthly, it's impossible. So it's about giving yourself that grace to be flexible when life calls upon you.
Yeah, I'm not a mom myself. I do have a dog, so I consider myself a dog mom. It's a little bit different. I have a little bit more time on my hands, but I've always kind of wondered how working moms can kind of do it all. And I guess just having grace for yourself is huge. Something to really remember because you want to have like everything, like, dot dot dot. But having takeout for dinner, you still might be the winner in that, like everybody loves takeout.
And I think it's, it's also prioritizing. And I use the term, "Sometimes good is good enough." And that can be perceived as, I don't always have to do a great job. But I think what happens is you have a laundry list of things to do and we can be our own worst critics and we'll get caught up in redoing work or this wasn't perfect and beat ourselves up. Sometimes that item that might be further down your priority list, good has to be good enough so that you can focus on the things that really have priority.
And I would say that as you add more to your plate of what you're juggling over the years, like I recently joined a board of directors for a not for profit. Right. And so I'm also juggling family and a career and that as well. And so it's sometimes you have to say no to projects or sometimes you have to say this, this is what I can give today and maybe in the future, I'll be able to give more and vice versa, whether it's attending - not, not in COVID days - but when it comes to parenting field trip or being the chair of an event, there's just a lot of things that sometimes you have to know when you can take things on and when you can't prioritize that list. And it's not an easy thing to do, but you get better at it, the more things you have to juggle.
Have you ever received any negative attention during your career when dealing with things like going out on maternity leave or having to take your children to the doctors, things like that?
So I would say I've been really lucky, and a lot of that goes to the organizations that I've chosen to work for and the leaders that I've been lucky enough to work for. I've never felt that being a parent was a hindrance to me.
And ironically, when I was at agency, there was a joke that people brought their dogs up, kind of like the cool thing to do. The agency that I worked for at the time when I had my children said, bring your baby in with you. And what do you mean? And for the first several months, I brought the baby in three days a week. My mother-in-law took him one day a week and my husband worked from home one day a week, and I did that for six, for several months when the baby was born, after I went back to work. They gave me an office and a fridge and a couch and said, do what you need to do. We just need you here.
So when you talk about multitasking, that's one thing that I learned to do pretty early on, so there was a lot of flexibility to that. And to be honest, I see just as many of my male counterparts that leave or say, I'm taking this call from the car because I'm picking up my kids, or I've got to drive my kids to sports.
I don't feel that it's so much just the moms anymore. I, I really do feel it's parenting responsibilities are shared more broadly these days. And so I think it's just a little bit more about that. And to be honest, I feel like COVID has almost broken the stigma of it, right? So before, if you were working from home and your kid came busting in a room to ask a question or shooting Star Wars things, like mine have done because I have two boys, you would be mortified. You would be, you would just be like, I can't - my boss saw you. There would be this stress level.
And with COVID, because everybody was doing the same thing and having to deal with parenting and schooling, it just became more acceptable. When kids come in, they're like, say hi, or when the dog's barking, nobody freaks out. They're like, oh, look at my cute new puppy and he's barking at the delivery guy. It's almost made it more acceptable that you are doing both things at one time. So I will have to say of COVID, I think that that's sort of really broken that stigma of being a parent, a working parent.
So I know we kind of touched on this, but how do you juggle being a working mom? Do you have a specific routine or a mantra you live by? I know we talked a little about, a little bit about giving yourself grace. Is there anything else that really helps you?
I would say I literally have the best husband in the entire world. If you have an option, marry well. Somebody who is truly a partner in your marriage and it's 50/50, his career or my career, not one more important than each other's. We look at the laundry list of, between sports and doctors appointments and dentist appointments and parent-teacher and say, OK, what do you have going on? Can you move this? Or he's got a pitch to a client that he can't miss, then I have to suck it up and figure it out and navigate it.
And it takes a village. You have to lean on resources like family and friends and you juggle. It really is a, you get overwhelmed thinking about it at a high level, you just have to take it day by day and figure it out. And sometimes you miss some things, some days your kid doesn't have the right binder for his project. I say that because we just got an email from a teacher that said we didn't have the right supplies. Amazon's your best friend because you can get, you know, you don't have to go to the store and get that one specific thing, you can just order it online. So it's a juggling act and you do the best you can. And I think that's where you have to give yourself a break. Sometimes everything's not going to be perfect.
I wanted to get maybe a little bit more personal with a couple of these questions. So what would you say some advice would be that you would give a woman starting her career, whether it be in the fintech industry or just a corporate job in general.
I would say one of the biggest things is, is we as women tend to sit down, crank out really great work and expect things to come to us. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. And I think men have done a better job of figuring this out. I think it's important to raise your hand for the big new project. I think it's important to, if there's a visiting executive or executive within your office location, stop by and say hello.
And then ask for what you want and go for those jobs. I read this stat somewhere that really stuck with me, and it was something along the lines of, women will see a job posting. And if they don't qualify for at least eight, or all 10, of the responsibilities, they won't apply. When a man looks at it, as long as he meets roughly four, he'll apply. And so I'm like, wow, they're just better at going for it.
And we tend to wait, say, well, we sit here and do a good job, we'll be rewarded. You've got to raise your hand. You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to build relationships. You have to network. I couldn't stress enough how important networking and building relationships can be with both men and women in the organization.
I'll use the last nine years of M&A. You can have all new leadership that shows, shows up tomorrow and they don't know you from the person sitting next to you. But as you go through and you've shown them what you're capable of. And one of the things that I say to my team all the time is, it doesn't always matter what the person says about you when you're in the room. It's when you're not in the room. Right. Your reputation will go in that room and you are not there to defend yourself, if you will, not to defend in a negative way. But when they're having conversations about people, you hope that that room is full of advocates and people you've worked with, that you've built a reputation with.
And I think sometimes what's challenging is that you stick to your own little bubble within your team and don't expand out. Through M&A, that bubble there, that bubble gets popped, and if you haven't built broader relationships across the organization, it's going to get harder to have that reputation and to have positive things said about you when you're not in the room.
I can tell you I've had new leaders that said, oh, so-and-so and so-and-so can't stop talking about how great you are and the value you bring to the organization. Well, that makes me feel great, but I worked really hard to build those relationships and have that reputation so that when things changed, I had advocates on my side.
And I, and I'll tell you, I think it's really important that you have to build those relationships. Men are just better at it, they know how to network. We tend to wait for that executive to walk by our desk and say hi. How often have you gone up to an executive when you see them and just said, good morning. We just don't do that. Men do. So I would say to the young women starting up, don't hesitate to do those things, because the men are already doing it.
That's really good advice. I mean, it is funny, too, because when you're in the situation, you're like, oh, I shouldn't do that. But then once you actually get up and go do it, you're like, that was easy, why didn't I just do that in the beginning? Especially because I personally and I think a lot of other women, like you explained, do have that, where you're like, oh, well, if I just wait here or something, like someone will come to me and it's like, no, we should just ask for what we want or stand up and speak up. So I think that's great advice. What is some of the best career advice you've received over the years?
So I was really fortunate a few years ago to have access to an executive coach and it completely changed my mindset about being a leader and leadership. It, it's very self-reflective, it's very much like therapy when you start the process, and I think if you're not willing to look at yourself to say, how am I going to be better, how can I make sure my team is successful, you're never going to shift from being that individual contributor, contributor to a leader.
And it's, it's a tough shift. It sounds easier. It sounds great to get the promotion and now you're leading 10 people. And it's even more challenging when you go from being some of those people's peer to their leader. It's a huge culture shift, your interactions with your team. And I think if you don't have access to either a mentor, an advocate or leadership training, it can be really hard.
And I've seen leaders who have shifted really well and the ones that have tend to have all those resources at their disposal and the ones that struggle tend to continue to manage versus coach their team. I think really good leaders, and we talk a lot about it at a leadership level, it's a term called servant leadership.
And what that really means is your number one goal and your number one focus is to give your all to your team so they can be successful. And then any work you have to do is off the side of your desk. And I think when you start being a leader, you were put there because you were a rock star. You were good at what you did, so here, go lead. But what you don't realize is you have to put your work on the back burner, focus on your team and do your work when you can.
And it's, it's a, it's a tough thing. Every leader goes through that transition and it's not easy. And having the ability to have resources to try to go through that shift and really learn, I think it's really important.
So, again, I was very fortunate to have access to an executive coach, but it doesn't mean you can't leverage mentors or other leaders and say, I need some help. Can you give me some guidance? I think it's really important to raise your hand and ask for that because it can make all the difference in the world.
How would you go about getting a mentor? I think a lot of people talk about that or bring it up, but I've always kind of wondered if you just got to someone like, hey, would you like to be my mentor, or how would you maybe go about that?
So it's funny because I kind of was, I'm a very strong personality and I'm never hesitant to go ask. Right. So I did approach some people in the beginning when I was like, yeah, go get a mentor and can you be my mentor? And it is a little awkward. I think what happens is you end up finding somebody in the organization that you really click with and that leader clicks with them and it almost organically becomes a relationship. And then, and then you can kind of formally ask. But to ask somebody before there is sort of a relationship can be a little odd, but I mentor a few different people in departments that are not my own.
I've spoken on this topic a lot. I'm very engaged in the Women's Network within the organization as well as WNET. And so I've attended a lot of events. I'm a Champion in my location in Tempe, Arizona, and so I tend to get a lot of exposure. And I've had some women come up and say, hey, can I ask you some questions? Can I grab coffee? So I think if you start small and not say, will you be my mentor because that's asking a lot. But would it be OK? Could I put 30 minutes on your calendar? I want to pick your brain. Can we go grab coffee? Would you be willing to go to lunch? And kind of get to know that person.
And if it makes sense, it'll sort of organically turn into more of a mentorship. Or once you've done that a few times and you kind of find the relationship is, is working on both ends, then you can formally ask and say, hey, could I do this on a regular basis and have some calls with you, put them on your calendar and it's rare, I've never had anybody tell me no.
But I think you almost have to start with, like, can we have a coffee date or spend 30 minutes? I heard what you said. Would you expand? I have some questions for you. Can I get 30 minutes? And then I think that that's a great way to approach it. When you find somebody in the organization that you would like to maybe interact with on a different level that maybe you don't get exposure to because they're not within your direct team.
That's really good advice and maybe a little bit less weird than hey, like, be my mentor. So what would you say is your favorite thing about working in the finance tech industry? I know you've kind of bounced around a little bit, but you've been with our organization for 10 years. What do you love about it that keeps you here?
I'm probably going to say what every other person is, that it's not boring. It's always changing. The landscape is so big. A great example really is if you look at our ecosystem, we have an entire merchant services group. We have an entire issuing group. Those are completely different client bases and approach to business and who you work with. And there's a ton of crossover, but the approach and the technology and everything you would need to learn are completely different. Then you even look at our Netspend business with prepaid card or AdvancedMD or Xenial.
There are so many facets that when you open up that door to say how do these businesses go to market, who's their target audience and how do they speak about the products and what problems do their products solve? I don't know how you could be bored. It's constantly changing.
In my 10 years, I've spent the majority of that, I spent basically nine years in marketing and a year in product and kind of saw a different, how all that evolves and how that works. I saw a different side of the beast, if you will, just really missed marketing. That's my passion. So I ended up back on the marketing team. But I think it's important to try those different roles, to expand.
I've been on what I would say the more direct to market where you're actually going out and searching for merchants. And then on the integrated side, it's a little bit more partner-based - every, all the leads come in from partners. Those are very different beasts, right? If you're truly putting out marketing and advertising because it's marketing’s job to bring in the lead to where, in integrated, everything has to be done within the partner, or partner level because it's integrated into the software. So it's just very different animals, even within our merchant services ecosystem. I get bored, I'll go see if there's something to do in issuing or Netspend or Xenial. Like, so, I think it can be exciting and there's always different opportunities to expand your knowledge and learn and grow and not get bored.
Well, thank you so much, Lisa, for taking the time to discuss navigating the ins and outs of work/life balance. I'm sure a lot of people can really use this advice to make the best use of their time and grow not only in their career, but also day to day relationships. So I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.
No problem, happy to be here.
Thank you. Have a good day.
You too. Bye.