As senior vice president of global commerce for Discover, it is no surprise that Amy Parsons says "my desk is in whatever country I happen to be in."

Her workspace is more digital than physical: Parsons makes extensive use of her phone to communicate with others around the world, takes photos of new innovations she encounters and, mostly, tries out the various new mobile wallets and payment platforms.

"It helps me to speak to our business partners and understand their concerns and excitement about the changes in the way consumers are paying for items," said Parsons, who is being recognized as one of PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments in 2017.

Amy Parsons, Senior Vice President, Global Acceptance, Discover Financial Services
Amy Parsons, Senior Vice President, Global Acceptance, Discover

"Whenever I hear about a new application that facilitates a part of the payments process, I download it and immediately begin exploring it," Parsons added. "This is how I can experience my job, allowing me to more effectively communicate across the industry."

That sort of experience and interest in new technology has helped Parsons cultivate her communication skills throughout her 13-year career at Discover.

Parsons has been in her current role nearly two years, but in that time she has overseen the formation of a business development team, the integration of the Pulse debit network, and widened global acceptance and global commerce for the card brand. She has been an executive in strategic merchant services relations, head of global acceptance and a senior vice president for Pulse's global expansion.

"There was always the psychology or sociology behind the payments method, but now the neuroscience behind the experience is a bigger part of our work, especially with new technologies like virtual reality," Parsons said.

After observing how her younger colleagues absorbed information over social media during industry conferences and deciphered it for valuable knowledge, Parsons realized that payments technology and advancement would rely significantly on "the speed at which knowledge moves."

Because the payments industry moves at such a rapid pace, Parsons said she can encounter multiple new companies with new technologies each day.

"Social media allows us to keep up with this change," she added. "Discover is always looking for new ways to collaborate across the industry, and social media keeps presenting new ones every day."

It translates to a keener sense of observation in traveling the world and learning about new cultures and how payments influence lives around the world every day.

Payments and networks in different regions can impact travel and tourism, she said. In that manner, payments acceptance becomes a vital aspect of the overall well being of a country or region. "If there is easy acceptance for tourists to come in and purchase goods, that could boost a local economy, making it easier to supply safe food and water options."