Stacey Madge, Visa Canada

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As the leader for all of Visa’s activities in Canada, Stacey Madge learned something early on in her career that has helped her succeed in multiple leadership roles at different companies. It’s something that many of us take for granted or don’t use well enough — a voice.

“The most memorable constructive criticism I received was from a very senior female partner, when I was an associate at McKinsey. She told me that I need to have presence in meetings, and that it would be key to my advancement. She advised that irrespective of how senior folks were in the room, ‘to speak early in the meeting and then again at the end’,” said Stacey Madge, country manager and president of Visa Canada, and one of PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments in 2020.

Madge took the advice to heart and drove herself from being an associate at McKinsey to eventually becoming a partner at the elite consulting firm. It's a task so few men, let alone women, achieve in their careers.

Read more: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2020

Taking a chance at a new opportunity, Madge then embarked on what she considered to be the biggest risk of her career when she left McKinsey to become head of marketing for Scotiabank’s International Business Group. The job required marketing experience, which “I didn’t [have]. But at McKinsey you are trained in the art of ‘storytelling.’ So I crafted a compelling story drawing on my work experience."

After successfully running the marketing team and eventually becoming responsible for Scotiabank’s Latin America and Caribbean markets (about 30 countries) Madge had the opportunity to move on to Visa where she now runs the card network’s entire Canadian operations.

Stacey Madge, Country Manager and President, Visa Canada
Stacey Madge, Country Manager and President, Visa Canada

In her role as country president for Visa Canada, Madge sees that there will be big changes coming in the payments landscape by 2025.

“I think the biggest change in payments will be connectedness and this will be driven by ever-increasing customer expectations for a better experience. By connectedness, I mean the integration of payments into everything we do and making it easier to do them” Madge said.

From her vantage point atop Visa Canada’s payment rails, Madge also noted that the ability to move money will become far simpler.

“By 2025, money will have the ability to move over multiple networks. Today’s cumbersome international money transfer will feel like a person-to-person transaction to the customer," Madge said. "This transfer may start on Canada’s real time rails and ride over Visa’s network to be deposited in real or near-real-time into your aunt’s account in the Philippines or your friend’s mobile wallet in China."

In addition to being Visa Canada’s country president, Stacey Madge graduated from Queen’s University and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is based in Toronto, Canada with her husband and three kids: Max, Jack and Charly.

When it comes to mentoring other women on how to achieve success, Madge was very direct in her advice: “The first is to have a voice. You won’t get a promotion into a leadership role if leaders don’t see you step up and have presence. Second, build resilience. You have to have some grit. Lastly, is garner the courage to just do it.”

On courage, Madge pointed to a difference in how men and women differ in their approach to exploring their next opportunity.

“Studies show that men and women have different thresholds when applying for jobs — while women think they need 100% of the skills and requirements needed, men think they only need 60%," Madge said. "My example of this is when I took a career risk and jumped into leading the marketing team at Scotiabank. Women need to have courage. Believe in yourself and make the jump."

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