The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication's Juliette Kennel says she's not a big fan of formal initiatives aimed at helping women advance their careers in the payments industry.

To her, mentorship and encouragement from the top down would go much further toward boosting workplace diversity than any sort of formal association.

"It's pretty simple — if we want more women in senior roles, we need to increase the pool of women that are considered for these roles," said Kennel, who serves as SWIFT's head of market infrastructures. "I strongly believe that all women that hold senior-level positions within their organizations can make a huge difference by helping women make the right choices around their careers through mentoring, encouragement and being a strong role model."

A previous Most Influential Women in Payments honoree, Kennel doesn't just delight in seeing her team members rise through the ranks. She's her proudest, she said, when she helps to dismantle the barriers between the worlds of payments and securities.

Along those lines, she and her organization helped to create the Market Infrastructures Forum, a two-day event at Sibos, the annual conference organized by SWIFT for the financial services community. The forum focused on the interests and needs of financial market infrastructures and also served as a venue to bring together senior individuals from the different industries.

"We quickly realized that common issues can be solved much more effectively through communication, collaboration and dialogue," Kennel said.

To that end, Kennel said SWIFT is working to help different organizations reduce inefficiency by promoting the adoption of a common approach to ISO 20022 implementation. As part of that effort SWIFT plans to expand its portfolio of resilience services for payments market infrastructures to include an ISO 20022 compatible version.

SWIFT is also looking to address the retail demand for real-time payments, a trend Kennel expects to grow in 2016. Already, SWIFT is working to develop platform and technology capabilities that can handle real-time payments, particularly in Australia.

The current challenge of course is to develop a product that, when successful on a small level in Australia, can be scaled and then replicated across different markets. After that, the next task will be to look beyond payments, Kennel said.

This article is part of PaymentsSource's 25 Most Influential Women in Payments feature. Follow these links to see a full list of all honorees or a slideshow of the featured executives.

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