Women in Payments: May Toomey

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 final interview in the series is with May Toomey, Director of Partner Success here at Global Payments Integrated.

We spoke with May about her career and crafting successful partnerships and work relationships. Read on for the insights she shared.

Ashley Jones:

May, thanks for joining us for our Women in Payments series. I would love to get to know you a little bit more and find out, you know, where your career started and kind of what your journey was to Global Payments Integrated and what your current role is here.

May Toomey:

Great. Thanks so much, Ashley, for having me today. I really appreciate this. Yeah, so I'm currently the Director of Partner Success. I've been with the company for fifteen years now. I started in Client Service when we were just a team of three, which is kind of crazy, and really kind of started to explore the company as it began to grow. I ventured into different areas of the company from that point, as far as the agent channel and diving into more of the Operations side of the business. And then I ventured into the dark side for a few years and joined the sales team, and became a relationship manager and learned a great deal there.

I had just seen the direction of where the industry was going, you know; terminals and such were kind of going by way of the dinosaur. And I felt that the point of sale aspect of our business was booming and taking off. So that's when I decided to shift gears and join the partner channel. And then from there, I kind of evolved into this role that I'm in today, which kind of straddles both sales and operations, and really just focusing on the experience that new partners receive when signing up with GPI, and ensuring, you know, that it's the best experience that they possibly can have and that it's seamless, and most importantly, productive and successful.

Ashley Jones:

Definitely. Well, speaking of that new partner experience, I know in your role, it's definitely really important to establish those solid relationships with those new partners and when you're launching a new partnership. So what would you say are some of the most important pillars in launching a new partnership and creating that strong relationship with a new partner?

May Toomey:

Yeah, absolutely. So, first and foremost, I would say, you know, you really want to try to find that common ground; where do you share that vision and mission? Where does that fall, where do those chips fall, and really figure out what energizes each of you and your businesses, right, towards those - towards that vision and mission. And also really making sure that their needs and expectations are addressed upfront. You may have to come back with something that isn't positive, but you want to be transparent and you want to set the right expectations with them. Even though it may not be something they necessarily want to hear, but actually in the end, it ends up building a stronger and more trusting relationship, I've found. Also setting joint and individual goals, making sure to review them regularly, and holding each other accountable can also lead to a really strong partnership. So just clearly defining the tasks that lay ahead of you for both you and the partner, to make sure that you're both holding each other and yourselves accountable to do the work, towards successfully launching a successful partnership.

Ashley Jones:

Wonderful. You mentioned sometimes possibly having to tell a partner something that is not necessarily the most positive news. I know sometimes, you know, some issues might come up because launching a partnership involves a lot of moving pieces. What are some tips you might have on effective problem solving?

May Toomey:

Yeah. So there's definitely problems, right, that you can encounter, especially with a new relationship and figuring things out. So you really have to be open-minded, especially, you know, when problems come up, you have to be prepared to pivot and make changes. Sometimes it's in our human nature to find a scapegoat, blame it on someone else and just move on, but that really doesn't get you anywhere. It's truly important to identify, you know, the whys of the problem rather than the whos.

But then also listening is also a really useful skill in problem solving, as well. I'd say spend more time listening and less time waiting to speak. Because by listening, you can understand more what works and why. And then for problem solving, just being analytical and creative in your thinking, looking for ways to detect patterns and having the ability to analyze raw data can lead to more creativity and more efficient solutions.

Ashley Jones:

Those are some really great tips, not just for problem solving in payments, but in any industry, so thank you for those. How do you establish meaningful relationships professionally, especially in this new sort of mostly digital, mostly virtual world that we're in right now?

May Toomey:

Yeah, this virtual world is very new for me. I'd say I've been very accustomed to going into an office. So when the pandemic happened and we were all working behind screens and communicating through cameras, that was a big change for me. So one of the ways that I've tried to establish meaningful relationships is actually just making small talk a part of my regular agenda. I find that small talk can, you know, build connections, empathy, and understanding.

It also helps to just kind of lead into the bigger conversations that you're going to have with your peers or your coworkers. I also find that it helps just to kick off on the beginnings of, or the creating of, communication and goals. And then personally, as a manager, for me, I find that small talk can help to identify some deeper happenings with folks on my team,like burnout or stress. So yeah, that's one that I try to instill on a regular basis. And then I think the one that you hear all the time and something that's been a New Year's resolution for 2021 for me, is to keep your camera on.

Ashley Jones:

Definitely. I know some days I have issues with that; I'm like, "Oh, do I really want to turn the camera on today?" But so that's definitely a good tip because it really kind of personalizes and gives back some of that, what we're missing from not being in the office with each other.

May Toomey:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Ashley Jones:

So to kind of switch gears a little bit, just some more like fun, personal questions - what kind of hobbies or personal interests do you do when you're not working on partnerships here at Global Payments Integrated?

May Toomey:

Well, I'm living in New England and when, you know, a good chunk of the year is spent indoors due to weather, you had to get a little creative as far as what hobbies and things you could take on. But, surprisingly one thing I fell into was floral arrangements. I absolutely love going to Trader Joe's and just picking out some sets of flowers and bringing them home. And it's very therapeutic for me to arrange them, but then it's also just visually appealing for the next week or two weeks, to have out in your home to look at. So yeah, I kind of picked that up along the way.

Ashley Jones:

Well, that's really creative; I love that. So this is our Women in Payments series, so what is some advice you would have for women working in payments or in the FinTech industry?

May Toomey:

Yeah, so the FinTech industry, you know, there's still the gender gap, right, currently, and it's somewhere around 30%, I'd say, of the employee base consists of women, and then less than 20% of that, you know, is occupying executive positions. So my advice would just be to just to commit to doing the work to ensure gender diversity becomes more of a reality.

And by work, I mean, you know, be your own hype woman. Focus on the positives and reflect on your experiences and achievements. Don't let any hurdles get you down. Request meetings with your manager, and speak up; just again, going back to, you know, being your own advocate and overcoming that fear.

Ashley Jones:

That's some really great advice. What would you say is probably one of the biggest challenges that you've had to face in your career?

May Toomey:

One of the biggest challenges, I am going to have to relate it to just as of late. You know, this past year has been difficult and challenging in the way of just staying focused. This year, you know, has brought on a lot of different distractions, from kids to husbands, to house chores. It's really been difficult to be able to just zoom into emails, without all of the background noise, right?

So for me, it's really important to calendar out all of my tasks. Nothing is more satisfying to me than checking off a box or crossing something off the list. I also really try to make sure I have a clean working space before starting my day. I'll have to thank Marie Kondo for this one, but, uh, you know, I learned from her that clutter in your surrounding space leads to clutter in our minds. So, if I can't do it at the end of the day and just tidying up a bit for the next day, then I always try to do it, right in the morning before I dive into my work.

And then another way to just help me stay focused is really just exercising and taking care of my body and mind. That's always been a part of my daily regimen, but it really helps to clear my head and get motivated for the day.

Ashley Jones:

Definitely. I think one thing I realized when we started working from home is just the amount of physical activity that you get from things like walking from your car to the office, that sort of thing, you know, that we don't have any more. So I've also made a big push to get outdoors more and do more walks and things like that.

May Toomey:

Yeah, absolutely.

Ashley Jones:

What are some things that you do to continue to learn and grow in your career?

May Toomey:

Continuing to just set goals for myself, and really make them my own personal requirements based on what my needs are and what my values are. I try my hardest not to be distracted by others and their ideas of success. But I focus on starting almost with the end in mind actually, and then creating the goal and then mapping those steps to reach it and kind of working my way backwards.

Being open and ready to pivot if the finish line does happen to change, as well, really prepares me for potentials to rapidly grow in some situations in my career. And then most importantly, celebrating your wins no matter how big or small. And it's more so taking that time to reflect on how you got there and how you reach those achievements, but also on the flip side, tracking your losses as well and digging into those mistakes and figuring out how you can problem solve those for the future.

Ashley Jones:

Absolutely. What is some advice you might have for somebody wanting to enter the FinTech industry?

May Toomey:

Yeah, so I mean, this industry is huge. It's bigger than you think. And there are so many avenues for you to go down, from your traditional programming all the way up to blockchain, right? There's an abundance of opportunities for you and your skill sets. You just have to open your eyes and look for it.

Ashley Jones:

Definitely. There's definitely a lot of different opportunities and different pathways in the industry. So, one more question. What would you say is your favorite thing about working in the payments industry?

May Toomey:

You probably hear this a lot, but I truly do agree with it. It is ever evolving and it's moving at a rapid pace at all times. And it's really what's kept me around for fifteen years. The disruption that is driving the constant innovation happening around us, I find exciting and it really does leave little room for dull moments. I'm most impressed by the thoughtful automation that's happening right now that I'm seeing come out of the FinTech space. And just how companies are continuing to seek out ways to cut down time and costs for business owners.

Ashley Jones:

Definitely. It's definitely never boring; a very interesting industry for sure to work in.

May Toomey:

Right!

Ashley Jones:

Thank you so much for joining us for our Women in Payments series and talking to us about your career and creating meaningful work relationships. I really appreciate it.

May Toomey:

Thank you, Ashley. I really appreciate the opportunity. Thanks so much.

Ashley Jones

Marketing Content Coordinator

Ashley Jones is the Marketing Content Coordinator at Global Payments Integrated, where she is responsible for digital content strategy, development, and analysis. A communications and digital marketing professional, Ashley has experience in the areas of social media, digital content creation, event planning, broadcast journalism, and administration.

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