The 20 women we honor this year have advanced the pace of innovation, challenged competitors and fueled the creativity and ambitions of their colleagues.
Click on each honoree's name to learn more about her.
Ann Cairns President, International Markets MasterCard"We can start by changing the conversation. It's not about the latest gadget or shiny object, instead it's about the impact this technology is having on consumers and businesses."
Virginia Curnal Chief of Staff, Bank of America Merchant Services "Women have not reached the most senior levels as much as they should. This isn't specific to our industry; it's prevalent across the corporate world. It's difficult to pinpoint why rather, it's likely a host of reasons."
Janet O. Estep President and CEO, NACHA "In a world that requires balance, you should not expect 100% of people or companies or constituents to be 100% pleased and happy."
Kimberly Fitzsimmons U.S. Market President, Chase Merchant Services "Whether you are a male or female, the most important thing is to always look at creating opportunities for yourself. You cannot wait for someone to think of you."
Reetika Grewal Head of Payments Strategy and Solutions, Silicon Valley Bank "At SVB, we consider disruption our friend. Disruptive innovation in payments has historically been more incremental compared to other sectors. But this sector is evolving and fast."
Pamela Joseph Vice Chair of Payment Services, US Bancorp "The time that we're in right now very much resembles, to me, the time that the Internet was exploding there's so much going on."
Kara Kazazean Director of Credit and Debit, Finance, Walmart "Today, payments companies are all around us. Retailers have come together to create a mobile payments company and regional debit networks are expanding capabilities to support a wider variety of transactions to attempt to compete with traditional credit networks."
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Juliette Kennel Head of Market Infrastructures, SWIFT "The number of women that apply to join payments companies is still much lower than the number of men, and ... when you start your career and can't see anyone that looks or thinks like you at the top, this is not inspiring."
Carey Kolaja Vice President, Global Product Solutions, PayPal "[Our] efforts have helped eBay to more than double the number of women in leadership roles, as well as increase the share of leadership positions held by women in the last three years."
Christine Larsen EVP and Chief Operations Officer, First Data "Many of our clients are women, too, and there's a significant opportunity for females to change the face of this business. I took a hell of a risk when I left the security of a banking job to come to First Data and I couldn't be happier."
Linda Mantia EVP of digital, payments and cards, Royal Bank of Canada "Payments and digital are highly interconnected and both are rapidly evolving growth areas."
Leslie McNamara Managing Director, Partnership Management, Citi Retail Services "The differentiating factors in ensuring women get the roles and recognition they deserve are the ability to drive change, think innovatively and build consensus. These, combined with the so-called 'soft' skills commonly associated with women, create a clear roadmap for the future of our industry and will allow women to leave a legacy of inspiration."
Jennifer Miles President of Americas, Verifone "Without a doubt, EMV, security and mobility are going to dominate the payments space this year."
Rathi Murthy SVP and CIO, Enterprise Growth, American Express "We often believe in our ability to excel and succeed in senior leadership positions, but without the action to break through this barrier."
Diane Offereins EVP, President of Payment Services, Discover Financial Services "The emphasis currently on mobile technology is around security and how it changes the in-store, and now, online, shopping experience. It is impacting everything from how a card member finds the best price to how they are paying for the purchase at the point of sale."
Linda Perry Linda S. Perry Consulting "One boss mentored me and told me to go out and learn everything I could about my job and all the other jobs I managed and those jobs of my peers. It was good advice as I did this throughout my career and no one could question my knowledge."
Jeffrey Paul Kraus
Ellen Richey Chief Enterprise Risk Officer, Visa "An industry that some may have considered to be synonymous with conservative, slow-moving tactics is embracing the innovations of the digital age."
Debra Rossi EVP, Wells Fargo; CEO, Wells Fargo Merchant Services "I was very fortunate in that I started on the issuing side of the business and in the early 90s I moved over to the acquiring side. There are probably not a lot of people who grew up on both sidesmerchant acquiring and card issuing."
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Valerie Soranno Keating CEO, Barclaycard "It's important that we do not allow the dynamic nature of the industry to overwhelm participants and merchants."
Colleen Taylor EVP, Head of Treasury Management & Enterprise Payments, Capital One Bank "Instead of focusing on barriers that stand in the path of a rising star, I want to concentrate on steps that women can take to propel themselves to the next rung in their payments career."
Digital workforce collaboration apps like Slack are hot acquisition targets, particularly for a company like Salesforce, which needs to compete with enterprise technology companies while making it easy for its clients to execute an "invisible payment" that's embedded in cross-selling and marketing.
High profile companies like Facebook, Square and PayPal have brought attention to using cryptocurrency for payments — but speed is more important than buzz in getting stores to view crypto as tender, according to a group of developers who are building connections to merchants.
Moscow-based JSC Post Bank has established a merchant acquiring agreement with JCB International to allow JCB cardholders to withdraw cash from all of the bank's ATMs and make payments at Post Bank point-of-sale terminals in Russia.