Di Challenor, Westpac Institutional Banking
Countries all over the world are embracing faster payment processing, and Di Challenor is one of the major forces behind the movement in Australia.
In announcing Westpac's participation in the New Payments Platform, Challenor, general manager of global transaction services at Westpac, noted the move creates an opportunity to build the "new era" of payment processing for Australia and add capabilities such as the P-to-P service Osko by BPAY.
Challenor became GM of Westpac Institutional Banking in January 2017, responsible for global corporate and institutional service, product and specialized sales teams spanning Australian and international markets. That places Challenor at the fore of not just faster payments, but all of the services that follow. It's not the first time Challenor has navigated a big company through technology crossroads, dating to the dot-com era.
Challenor, one of PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments for 2018, has been driving innovation for years in a variety of roles at different institutions.
After spending two years at Hewlett-Packard, her experience in technology, financial products and sales attracted the interest of Citibank, which was growing internationally through a technology-driven strategy. In 1999, Citi enlisted Callenor to set up the bank's e-commerce solutions team in Australia.
"It was a major turning point as I quickly saw how technology would play a central role in all our lives," she said. "It was the advent of online shopping, with PayPal and the rise of the internet. I was able to develop new banking solutions and channels that leveraged technology."
She led a number of teams at Citi, including Global Payments and Receivables; Treasury and Trade Solutions; Cash Management and Trade Services.
Challenor later served as managing director and head of transaction services in Asia Pacific for JPMorgan Chase, where she was based in Hong Kong.
Joining Westpac gave Challenor the opportunity to follow the legacy of one of her inspirations, former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly, a pioneering executive who was the first female head of an Australian bank and of any major Australian corporation when named Westpac CEO in 2008.
"[She] was the first woman in banking to break through glass ceiling and become the world’s first female bank CEO," Challenor said. "Her leadership style teaches us to stay true to all your traits and to never compromise on your personal values. She put gender diversity on the map and led one of Australia’s largest companies along with a family of four kids including triplets. I can relate to this with five children, including twins."
Westpac has a number of measures in place to track the pipeline of opportunities to ensure there are openings for women coming up throughout the organization.
"It is also a cultural imperative. Men and women alike need to be empowered to call it out and say enough is enough," Challenor said. She was lucky, she said, to always have good sponsors and senior people advocating for her throughout her career.
"My advice to my younger self would be to take more risks and move faster," she said. "Whether it’s starting a family, moving to another country or advancing your career, this is the time to push your boundaries and not hold back."
READ MORE: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2018