For decades, the payment processor TSYS had been nothing if not a rock of stability, touting a senior management team dating to the 1970s, a reliable processing record and years of steady growth.
But the age of mobility has turned the entire industry on its head, requiring a nimble response in a world where transaction processing and scale have become commoditized. It's a world that required TSYS to make fast and meaningful changes. It's spent billions of dollars on acquiring TransFirst and Netspend, and perhaps more importantly, made substantial adjustments to its management team to accommodate retirements.
It also lured longtime U.S. Bank exec Pam Joseph out of retirement to help steer the company's evolving business strategy as it morphs into a multi-channel merchant services provider.
"I feel that I’ve learned more in the last five years than I did in my first 20, and it’s all because my younger colleagues have been able to successfully keep pace with the rate of change," said Joseph, TSYS' president and COO, and one of this year's Most Influential Women in Payments. "Moore’s law (which states that computing power doubles every two years) has opened our eyes to the exponential growth and progress we’re going to see from technology."
Joseph has also been a repeated honoree for PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments and American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking.
TSYS CEO M. Troy Woods recruited Joseph to TSYS last year, bringing someone with a unique mix of talent and experience to address the challenges TSYS faces. Joseph had been head of U.S. Bank's Elavon processing arm for a decade and was responsible for electronic payment lines and card types, just the type of skills needed as TSYS diversifies.
As TSYS, Joseph is responsible for improving speed to market, and guiding a new generation of payment experts through TSYS ranks.
"My younger colleagues…[have] an entirely new perspective compared with someone like me who still primarily uses my iPhone as, well, a phone," Joseph said. "Their resolute belief that change is powerful, and technology will revolutionize the world, is contagious. I also admire their lack of intimidation when it comes to asking questions, exploring things from a different perspective, or probing for answers — even if it means challenging the status quo."
It's fostering that ability in younger staff to challenge the norm that will be vital in a changing economy and a company that's increasingly reliant on adding new services for merchants as payments become less important.
"I find it frustrating when people lack the confidence to 'run with it' when it comes to an initiative or way of doing business," she said. "Of course, it’s okay to ask questions, but directing someone at every step of the way simply isn’t feasible. I can’t tell you how much I admire when someone consults their manager or leader during key decision points, but then has the confidence to carry forth an idea or project on their own and bring it to life."
Maintaining balance is also important, according to Joseph. "Having a sense of humor has been very important to my career development. When it comes to business relationships, I see it as something that’s healthy, productive and illuminating. And by that I mean it can take 'the edge' off a serious topic and help cut right to the crux of an issue very quickly to engender honest communication and trust."