Work-life balance has taken a new meaning for Synchrony Financial's Carol Juel since her company began its spinoff from GE over a year ago.
During this separation, one of the largest spinoffs in history, Juel was called upon in her role as chief information officer to help rebuild much of the company's technology from scratch. Everything from creating new human resources systems for taxes and payroll to establishing new data centers fell on her shoulders with GE out of the picture.
"As the person who oversees the overall IT strategy and vision, while continuing to focus on innovation, I was responsible for making sure we had the right infrastructure in place to stand as our own company," Juel said.
By November 2015, when Synchrony completed its separation from GE, Juel and her team had built more than 45 new systems across the company.
Achieving such a feat naturally meant many late nights and weekends with all hands on deck. That's a lot of time to spend away from one's family and friends. So to encourage employees to spend time with their families, Juel and her colleagues implemented "Technology Friday."
Through this initiative, workers can take off a Friday and disconnect to enjoy quality time with their loved ones. Juel participated as well, sharing photos of her trip to the New York Botanical Gardens with her three children as inspiration for others to participate.
"I made the expectation clear: Turn off your phones, shut off your computers and go have fun with your families," Juel said. "The feedback was terrific with people feeling respected, having fun and being valued. I try to walk the talk as much as I can with juggling family time and work."
Getting that chance to breathe is necessary when working in the fast-paced payments industry. To Juel, the biggest challenge she said she faces is the exponential rate at which innovations and technological advancements occur.
"The pace of technology isn't necessarily something I fear, but it is something I am always watching," she said. "I am constantly thinking about how to make the business relevant in a world that is changing at an exorbitant speed."
In the year ahead, Juel sees the growth of mobile payment platforms as the biggest upcoming development across the industry. As products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Walmart Pay keep emerging, Juel says it's important to focus on the technology's value to every customer segment.
"As the largest issuer of private-label credit cards, it's imperative to allow businesses to offer the solutions their customers demand, which is why we have partnered with all third-party mobile wallets," Juel said. "By doing so, we are able to equip retailers with the solutions needed to accept any type of payment the consumer chooses and the mobile wallet that they carry."