As the chief information officer for enterprise growth for American Express, Rathi Murthy has been at the forefront of creating opportunities for innovation and financial inclusion through technology.

"We are redefining payments for the underserved through the use of emerging technology," Murthy said. "Leveraging the cloud, an optimized release framework, and testing automation has enabled us to quickly iterate on our products."

The unprecedented fast pace of payments technology also creates customer confusion, which Murthy considers the biggest challenge facing the industry in 2015.

In addition, increased security concerns and a global trend of moving away from cash leaves consumers "inundated with options, complex solutions and confusion over which payment products to use," Murthy added.

Still, enterprise growth at American Express will focus on financial inclusion and "providing payment and money management functionality for unbanked, underbanked and unhappily banked customer segments," Murthy said.

Murthy is well-positioned to continue her leadership role in those pursuits. She started with American Express in Enterprise Growth Technologies, heading testing and software release management projects as well as shared technical services for the Serve and Bluebird prepaid cards. After a year, American Express appointed her head of engineering for all of enterprise growth, adding a team of software engineers and technical resources. She was recently appointed senior vice president in addition to her responsibilities as chief information officer of enterprise growth, overseeing the Enterprise Growth Technologies team and the end-to-end delivery and operations of the team's customer platforms.

"The change in my role has allowed me to demonstrate success at scale and the challenge to emerge as a leader in payments," Murthy said.

Women need to continue to break through "glass ceilings" to reach senior ranks at payments companies, Murthy said. "We often believe in our ability to excel and succeed in senior leadership positions, but without the action to break through this barrier."

Women will have better leverage for success by creating a personal brand that showcases personal strengths, past successes, innovation and strong work ethic, Murthy said.

"These community-building efforts are further improved by the very personal act of finding a mentor, key advocate or career sponsor," she added.

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