Lyndsey Lang, Fattmerchant
Despite knowing nothing about payments when she started, this industry has provided a fast track to success for Lyndsey Lang, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Orlando, Fla.-based startup Fattmerchant.
“Payments found me,” said Lang, who joined Fattmerchant fresh out of college as the company’s first hire in 2014 and rose through jobs in marketing and business development to become chief strategy officer last year, placing her among this year’s Most Influential Women in Payments.
As one of the first companies to offer subscription-based merchant acquiring services, Fattmerchant was already challenging other norms with its female CEO, Suneera Madhani, a 2018 Most Influential Women in Payments honoree, making inroads in the typically male-dominated merchant services arena.
Read more: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2020
These were positive signs for Lang, who Fattmerchant hired over the phone on a Thursday. She then drove across the state and reported to work the following Tuesday, with very little initial pay, no benefits and no mattress to sleep on in the home she had hastily rented.
“A lot of new technology was forming, M&A activity was picking up and it turned out to be the prime time to jump in,” Lang said of her relatively blind dive into the payments industry.
Since then, Lang has become an expert in spotting areas where merchants can improve their results by integrating data analytics into payments processing. She also plays a key role in leading the 100-employee company’s expansion into new retail market segments.
Fattmerchant has seen exponential growth in more than five years since its launch. But along the way, Lang has seen the payments industry's resistance to new methods and technologies, including from being a woman on the front lines in merchant services.
“It would be naïve to say that unconscious or structural biases don’t still exist, particularly in legacy companies or industries like payments. This is changing significantly, but the important thing is for women to realize they have power and ensure our actions match our belief,” Lang said.
Lang believes it’s important to show calm, cheerful confidence when you feel challenged.
“If there’s a male coworker that doubts you, belittles you or shows some sign of disrespect, choose the seat right next to him in the next meeting. That small physical move is a representation that you’re staking your claim,” Lang said.
Being transparent about your goals and contributions is also key to advancement, she said. For example, demonstrating commitment to the team and the company is critical and tends to reap rewards faster than a me-first attitude, she believes.
“A team member that’s exceptional in their role and displays this mentality gets attention, not just from management but from everyone they interact with,” Lang said.
One thing Lang has had to learn on the job is the art of tempering her enthusiasm.
“You can have everything you want, but not all at once," she said. "I’m the kind of person who will take on more than I can chew, but a mentor helped show me the importance of prioritization. Focus and timing are key, and there is strength in the vulnerability of asking for help when needed.”