Kim Crawford Goodman, Fiserv

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If the payments industry presents anything to aspiring leaders, it's change.

As technology, corporate structure and business plans undergo dramatic change, employees can get caught in that crossfire. Kim Crawford Goodman knows this as well as anybody, having been involved in what she refers to as "four significant fintech transactions" in the past three years via company buyouts, breakups and corporate rollouts.

"Although it has been volatile, the learning has been tremendous," said Goodman, president of merchant joint ventures and acquirer processing for Fiserv Inc. "In life and in business, it's important to be flexible and pivot when circumstances necessitate."

Read more: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2020

That philosophy has guided Goodman's relentless pursuit of the right executive roles and enabled her to "lead, innovate and shine." As such, she has also become an honoree among PaymentsSource's 2020 Most Influential Women in Payments.

Before moving into her current role a year ago, Goodman led Fiserv's card services business. She helped the company's technology grow to better deliver debit and credit processing, ATM payment solutions, the Accel debit payment network, the MoneyPass surcharge-free network and fraud protection solutions for thousands of clients.

She brought 25 years of payments and technology experience with her to Fiserv two years ago, having been CEO of the U.S. business sector of Worldpay. Prior to that, she was president of merchant services at American Express.

Kim Crawford Goodman, President, Merchant Joint Ventures and Acquirer Processing, Fiserv
Kim Crawford Goodman, President, Merchant Joint Ventures and Acquirer Processing, Fiserv

As a general manager for Dell Inc., Goodman received advice from Michael Dell that stuck with her throughout her career.

"He instilled in me that the key to my success would ultimately be determined by my ability to motivate teams of people to take any hill, no matter how steep," Goodman said. "There is a multitude of managers that can determine the right path, but it is the rare leader who can guide their teams through the journey with enthusiasm."

Hoping to achieve that lofty goal, Goodman said she became a lifelong student of leadership.

"In all of my operating roles, I've focused not just on setting direction for my teams, but also truly inspiring them," she said. "This is the magic that has allowed us to repeatedly drive innovative and extraordinary results for clients, shareholders and each other."

With the digitization of payments continuing to be the pace-setter in the industry, Goodman believes leaders must keep their teams focused on the consumer expectations and end-user experiences.

"We've seen a proliferation of non-traditional players not only entering the payments industry, but staying," Goodman said. "The industry focus needs to be on the end user. While we are largely working on the needs of financial institutions, it's those consumer expectations that are ultimately going to shape the future direction of our industry."

Last year, and in years prior, Black Enterprise magazine recognized Goodman as one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, and she was also included among U.S. Black Engineer Magazine's 100 Most Influential Blacks in Technology in 2006.

It all didn't happen by accident or just because Goodman was in the right place at the right time to use her Harvard Business School degree or the engineering and political science degrees she earned at Stanford University.

"There is no substitute for raw hard work as a young professional seeks to climb the rungs of the management ladder," Goodman said. "Be the professional that everyone can rely upon without second thought. Raise your hand for the projects no one else wants to take on."

One has to become a student of business and learn as much about the industry in which they work, Goodman added. "Expertise, dedication and hard work will be the foundations for your ability to innovate and succeed."

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