Pulling out her driving iron to tee off with a group of men on the golf course is always an interesting experience for Suzan Denoncourt, managing director for Ingenico in Canada.
Golfmates expecting something else are often are caught off-guard by her powerful drives. “I can nail a 150-yard golf drive fairly consistently,” she said, noting that she plays almost exclusively with business contacts and typically she’s the only woman in any foursome.
“Expectation for a repeat occurrence is low, but by the time I’ve nailed a few solid drives, I’ve earned a little more respect—and that goes a long way in business,” Denoncourt said. (Like many golfers, she points out that the rest of her golf game could use more work.)
Denoncourt also has earned respect from colleagues in the payments hardware industry. Arriving at Ingenico in 2005, Denoncourt rose steadily through the company’s sales channels before being promoted to her present role in January 2016. This year she’s making her first appearance as one of PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women of Payments.
In late 2016 Denoncourt also was invited to join the board of ACT Canada, where she’ll serve as an adviser to the payments technology industry association.
As in golf, Denoncourt sizes up business obstacles carefully. But she’s learned not to give them too much power.
“I’m a firm believer that obstacles must be put into proper and manageable perspective,” Denoncourt said. “The more attention is focused on the obstacle, the greater the distraction from the big picture and the less is your probability for success.”
Denoncourt has also learned the importance of keeping an open mind as technology and communication modes change.
“Initially I resisted social media and even prided myself on shunning it, viewing it as a detrimental obsession,” Denoncourt recalled. “It took a younger, adamant colleague who was well-versed in social media to educate me about what I assumed was all noise and banter versus what is in fact a wealth of timely information.”
Now Denoncourt believes social media is reshaping consumer behavior. “The power of social media has caused me to focus on evolving our role in payments acceptance toward a seamless experience,” she said.
Social media’s emphasis on brief, powerful messages also suits Denoncourt’s passion for precise communication.
Away from the office, Denoncourt writes fiction. “I embrace it as a relaxing escape and a stimulating exercise,” she said.
But Denoncourt believes her hobby, which began as a simple pastime decades ago, has helped advance her career by helping her make each word in emails and texts count.
“Elaborate verbal dialogue has been replaced by brevity by necessity, but with mastery of the craft of writing, we can be eloquent yet succinct," she said.
Denoncourt’s job calls for long hours and lots of travel, but she maintains balance through discipline and eating healthy food wherever she goes.“Don’t be surprised if you see me eating an apple or nuts I’ve pulled out of my purse at industry conferences,” she said.
And when she tees off, look out.