As the payments industry advances at a lightning-fast speed, Stephanie Ferris plans on enjoying that ride — as long as it benefits Vantiv's customers.
Ferris, who is deputy chief financial officer for the Cincinnati, Ohio-based payments processing and technology provider, has followed a mantra for 20 years when it comes to dealing with change in the payments industry.
"The best way to respond to change is to embrace it, evaluate the change, and evaluate who we are as a company," Ferris said. That philosophy has served her well, most recently in the six months she has worked as Vantiv's deputy chief financial officer, earning her a spot among the 2016 Most Influential Women in Payments.
But the rapid change in payments can also be a scary challenge for companies, Ferris said. Vantiv has to be careful "not to chase the shiniest object, but to ensure that object is important to our customers as well as being a profitable endeavor for us and our partners," she said.
Prior to accepting her current role, Ferris held several jobs at Vantiv since 2009: Executive vice president, a general manager for merchant bank and financial institutions relationship management, and senior vice president for financial planning and analysis.
She was also the chief financial officer for Fifth Third Processing Solutions from 2006 to 2010 and had the same role in Fifth Third Bank's investment advisors division from 2002 to 2004. Fifth Third Processing Solutions became Vantiv Inc. in 2011; Vantiv went public in March of 2012.
She also served as an audit manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1995 to 2001.
Outside of her financial roles, Ferris takes great pride in having started two women's leadership networks focused on developing female talent through a company's executive ranks – one at Fifth Third and the first of its kind at Vantiv.
"The Vantiv Women's Business Network is comprised of 200 women who have done amazing things both inside and outside of the Vantiv community," Ferris said.
Ferris says one of her proudest career achievements was the role she played in revitalizing Vantiv's bank-referral business into the fastest growing line within the company. Another high-water mark came in the form of "standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange the day we took Vantiv public; it was an amazing accomplishment that started during the economic crisis of 2008."