Celebrating International Women’s Day with Delta’s Director of Operations, Stacey Wiles
In honor of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women who have played an integral role in shaping the payments industry into what it is today.
One of those women is our very own Director of Operations, Stacey Wiles. With over two decades of experience in payments, Stacey has been a part of the FinTech revolution from its origination. Working in an industry that has traditionally been male-dominated, she has paved her own path of success to become a role model to women in payments everywhere.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Stacey for a Q&A where she shared insights on how she became the successful business woman she is today, and what advice she has for future female leaders.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be Director of Operations at Delta Payment Solutions.
I actually started my career in retail. One day (I think it was in 1998), my CFO put a stack of card processing statements about a foot tall in front of me and asked me to determine why our business was paying more in card processing fees during heavy return months. I was 22 at the time and had no idea what a card processing statement even was, let alone how fees worked!
That was my introduction to the acquiring side of the payments industry and over time I became a subject matter expert. Looking back, I feel fortunate that was my introduction to payments because I got involved when the process of accepting payments was simple (limiting, but simple); as the process become more complex over the years, I was able to learn and grow along with it.
Since reviewing that first stack of statements, I’ve held positions ranging from VP Business Development, to VP Operations and Customer Service, to payments company Owner/Founder. Through those roles, I had the opportunity to be involved with FinTech innovation groups, technically complex conversion teams, as well as process improvement projects. After learning of the open Director of Operations position at Delta Payment Solutions and reading up on the Delta Co-op, I felt Delta had a unique position in the industry that my background was well suited for. Fortunately, Delta felt the same, and I came on board in September 2020.
2. What do you love about payments and what developments are you most excited about?
The great thing about the payments industry – what keeps people like me in for 20+ years and what attracts new people like Pam, Delta’s Business Development and Marketing Coordinator – is that each day is different.
There is constant change – whether it’s innovation in products or compliance and regulation changes – the payments space is ever-evolving. You are in a constant state of learning. Depending on the segments you target, what you learn can be incredibly complex, which in turn, allows you to provide services and specialized subject matter expertise that are useful to merchants needing to navigate the payment industry waters.
As for developments, I think the most exciting one at the moment is the escalated consumer adoption of BNPL (By Now, Pay Later) products. When coupled with the services Delta offers, the Delta Co-op and the solutions we are launching in 2021, these products can deliver meaningful impact to a merchant’s revenue model. I love to help our customers grow – this is the stuff I find exciting.
3. What can be done to motivate women looking to make strides in payments, and how can organizations and companies help in promoting diversity and inclusion in the financial industry?
I think part of motivating women to make strides in payments is to help them recognize that change is happening now – they don’t need to wait. For those that seek to do so, now is the time to look into a payments industry career. Now is the time to pitch your idea. Now is the time seek mentorship and join groups to educate yourself on the opportunities available. There are more resources, more opportunities, and far fewer barriers of entry to this industry than I’ve seen at any other time in the last 15 years.
While there is still room for improvement, I think many companies have made great strides in promoting diversity, as evidenced by the increasingly female-driven meetings I am in. Along with that, I see growing awareness and a shrinking tolerance of harassment, which makes me hopeful that things will continue to improve in both amount of opportunity and quality of life for women professionals.
4. The 2021 IWD theme is #ChoosetoChallenge. What does that mean to you?
#ChoosetoChallenge to me symbolizes a commitment to continued learning of how both men and women can identify and challenge stereotypes and bias. Companies can put policies in place all they want but if staff is not empowered to act on and report inequities, then change will be slow. Seeing companies support #ChoosetoChallenge is encouraging.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give all women who are juggling the work/life balance right now?
My advice comes down to two important steps:
Step 1. Create home support system expectations with your partner, kids, family, friends, caregivers, etc. – whoever is part of the group you are accountable to.
Step 2. Set boundaries with your team, management line, and customers that align with your home support system’s expectations.
Understanding and setting ethical guardrails that work in line with your professional commitments is how you can avoid damaging relationships and/or compromising your career. However, this may mean making sacrifices.
For example, maybe you’ve been offered a promotion that would require longer hours or more travel that isn’t worth the additional time away from home. Or on the flip side, maybe that promotion in title and earnings would open incredible doors for you and allow you to afford more special moments with your family down the road, which can be life changing. You need to determine what you are willing to sacrifice and what is most important for you and your family at this moment in time. Whichever one of these paths you choose, repeat steps 1 & 2.
When all else fails, my bottom line is this: choose the school recitals, soccer games and Saturday morning cartoons. You will never regret missing out on a career opportunity the same way you will painfully regret missing out on life.