Posted August 29, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Mugdha Vaidya

(33%) of the workforce at large, international Tech companies. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women globally to consider careers in Technology and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories. 

Mugdha Vaidya is Quality Assurance (QA) Team Lead at FreedomPay. She was honored as one of 2021’s Rising Stars in FinTech by Women of Color magazine. Formerly a Civil Architect, Mugdha took an unconventional route into Technology. The working mom’s enthusiasm for problem-solving and continuous professional development is palpable as she shares her ongoing career and personal journey.

Describe your route into Tech.
I practiced Architecture for five years then decided that I wanted a change. I was fortunate to have friends and family working in Tech as Developers in QA, who encouraged me to make the jump and eased my transition with their guidance and support. They reassured me that I could return to Architecture if I didn’t gel with Tech, but it’s been eight years and I haven’t turned my back on it!

Tell us about your role.
I joined FreedomPay in September 2017 as a QA Analyst and was promoted to QA Engineer. I’ve been a QA Lead for our Web Applications for almost three years and have worked across different teams, allowing me the opportunity to learn a lot about our industry and products. 

Which women inspire you?
YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, is one of my role models. Also, Maya Hari, the Managing Director of Southeast Asia and India at Twitter, and Lori Greiner who has her own show on QVC. I worked at QVC, testing the internationalization of their mobile application, focusing on currencies and European regulations. I met Lori when we were working and filming in the same studio. I was in awe of her and her success in building a huge empire.

The women at FreedomPay are next level, too – they make me want to achieve more and more. Jackie McCarthy (VP, Financial Operations), Courtney Kelly Peters (VP, Partnerships), Eileen Hannan (Associate Director, Implementations and Customer Success), and Allison Jones (Executive Assistant to CEO, and Office Manager) are so talented, their confidence inspires me.

Can you offer any advice for girls and women considering a career in STEM?
I’m a perfect example of going from having no formal education in tech to thriving in this industry. So, take up a course and start learning without being afraid of whether you’ll be able to do it. Just try it! 

These eight years in Tech have been a continuous learning curve. Learning a tool is like learning a new language. It can be difficult at the beginning but becomes a lot more fun as you start to solve the challenges. It motivates you to keep learning. As technology is ever-changing, you need to evolve. I set aside a couple of hours a week to learn a new programming language or tool. 

How can Tech companies support women?
Leadership programs are valuable in elevating women’s confidence and boost morale. We can also increase representation by being supportive and inclusive of other genders. Education, continuous mentoring and highlighting achievements will bring more women into this industry. 

Describe the culture at FreedomPay.
The culture at FreedomPay is the reason I’ve been here for so many years. When I started, I had relatively limited experience, but the people helped me learn and understand the processes. Learning the different tools and terminologies around payment gateways was challenging but the people at FreedomPay have been fantastic and want to support you as you learn. 

Thank you, Mugdha!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted August 25, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Laura McGuigan

FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women to consider STEM careers and encourage them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories. 

Over half of women feel that having role models working in Tech (52%) and inclusive, supportive company cultures (51%) can incentivize more people like them to consider careers in STEM. This could increase the 28% female share of the sector’s workforce.

Laura McGuigan is Manager of Strategic Accounts at FreedomPay. Laura joined FreedomPay in August 2016. Laura shares her journey as a woman in Tech from a non-Tech background, balancing her roles as a Team Leader and a working mom of two. 

What does your role at FreedomPay involve?
I manage the Strategic Accounts Team at FreedomPay. We assist our clients with a multitude of unique and varied responsibilities. These range from onboarding hundreds to thousands of clients to our platform and acting as their main point of contact with FreedomPay, to suggesting solutions and innovative strategies to enhance their Tech experience. Our team prides itself on building strong, lasting relationships with our clients through optimal customer service. 

How did you get into Tech? 
I went to Penn State University and graduated with a Business Management degree. After college, I worked for a year at a staffing agency as a Recruiter. The division that recruited for Tech roles sat behind me, and I’d hear them speak with candidates about the sector’s endless opportunities. This peaked my interest in  a career in Technology. 

At the same time, my brother was interning at FreedomPay. He told me that the company was growing fast and hiring for a range of positions. He advised me to check them out.

In 2016, I started at FreedomPay as a Partner Channel Specialist. This was a data entry-centric role, helping train and onboard partners to our platform. Through building relationships  as our partners’ main point of contact, I grew into an Account Manager on the Partner team.

Do you have any advice for girls and women that are hoping to succeed in technology and other STEM careers?
Just go for it! Be confident in yourself and your abilities, don’t be intimidated, and – most importantly – follow your gut.  

I have a four-year-old daughter and I want her to know that she can grow up to be anything that she wants to be. She is one of the reasons that I work so hard in this industry. I want her to see that I started off as a Channel Partner Specialist and  manage a team and work in a beautiful skyscraper in the city, six years later. I want her and all girls of her age and generation to know that the opportunities are endless.

Do you have any role models that are women in STEM careers?
Yes, Sheryl Sandberg. She became the COO of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) in 2008, and was appointed as the first woman on its Board of Directors in 2012. Sheryl advocates for gender equality and has written about women in the workplace, highlighting how we, as women, stand on the shoulders of women that came before us. I’ve always looked up to her. She leads a majorly successful company in the Tech world and inspires me in my career journey. 

How would you describe the culture at FreedomPay?
Firstly, motivating. Everyone here is very inspiring which encourages you to work hard. If you put in the effort, you’ll grow and see the benefits. 

Secondly, innovative. We’re always developing new products and offerings for our clients. Since 2016, we’ve grown astronomically, and it’s because of  the tremendous talents that FreedomPay employees possess. We only hire the best of the best.

Thirdly, collaborative. We work as a team. Success takes a village, not just one individual’s achievements. These strong internal relationships are key to fostering success with our clients.

Finally, why should women candidates choose FreedomPay?
We need more fantastic women at FreedomPay to join the company as we continue to grow, reducing the gender gap in Tech. FreedomPay has been nothing but supportive of me and my professional development during my career here. I know that if more hardworking, passionate, motivated women join us, they will have the same positive experience. 

Thank you, Laura!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted August 23, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Liesl Smith

Supporting women to succeed in STEM careers with inclusive policies and equal opportunities reduces the gender salary gap, as well as reducing bias in products developed and services provided. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women globally to consider careers in Technology and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Liesl Smith is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales Enablement at FreedomPay. Liesl joined FreedomPay in September 2018. Liesl sits on the Center for Hospitality Research Corporate Advisory Board at Cornell University, which has enabled FreedomPay to produce thought leadership around Gen Z attitudes to data sharing and incentivization in collaboration with Cornell students.

Liesl shares her experience and insights as an Executive leader in Tech, transitioning from her role as Deputy TV Executive at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) to Marketing and Payments. 

What made you want to get into Tech?
I think Tech found me. I didn’t wake up one day and realize I wanted to work in Payments – one thing led to another. I had a vision but found it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas. You can visualize your roadmap but it’s okay to reevaluate if something comes along that will knock you off course. Don’t be afraid of taking a calculated risk.

What has been your biggest career achievement so far?
I found the courage to switch career from Journalism to Marketing after almost two decades. I had job security and lots of friends, but I wanted a change. I was accepted for a Master’s Degree in Marketing, Strategy, and People, which I took as a sign to start a new journey. 

It was a scary time, but looking back, I wish I’d done it a lot sooner because my life is more exciting now. At the BBC, I learned a lot, met amazing people, and worked on some incredible stories like natural disasters, wars, big court cases and royal weddings. But my career now is even more fulfilling. 

Making a massive change or taking an unexpected opportunity could well be the best thing you ever do.

How would you describe the culture at FreedomPay?
Inclusive. We’re disruptors who test and learn as we go. 

FreedomPay is agile and growing at scale, which makes it very exciting. Everyone is rowing in the same direction. Our CEO, President and all the Execs are strategically aligned. We know the best is yet to come!

We’ve expanded from 150 to almost 500 people since I joined the company. We’re keen to set up programs that empower younger, talented individuals to grow and to have a voice. 

Do you consider any women to be role models?
Yes! Benazir Bhutto, Jacinda Ahern, Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright. They are and were bold, strong, emotionally intelligent women working in heavily male-dominated environments. They didn’t let that hold them back.

As a journalist, I interviewed Benazir Bhutto when she was the first female Prime Minister in a Muslim-majority, democratic country. I couldn’t find the location for the interview and was running late. In my haste, I blasted opened this door of the massive hall. I didn’t expect the session to be in progress but 500 people were listening to her give a speech. She invited me to take a seat at the front, telling me I was very welcome. Benazir Bhutto was so gracious and kind to this sweating, discombobulated 28-year-old, and was equally warm and lovely when I interviewed her afterwards

How can companies encourage women to join the STEM workforce?
Promote women to board-level and offer mentoring. The proportion of women at C-level is growing, although a recent report by Deloitte and The 30% Club predicted we won’t reach gender parity until 2045. That’s unacceptable. 

Talking about women in the workforce (as FreedomPay is through our Women in Tech series) is key to targeting underrepresented groups in STEM and elevates female voices. 

What did you value in a mentor, earlier in your career?
A good listener with more industry experience than myself. Someone wise, who I admired and aspired to be. Mentors helped me navigate office politics, learning what to do – and what not to do – to succeed in that environment. 

As a mentor, describe your ideal mentee.
A bold, go-getter with determination to do well, and a positive, ambitious mindset.  

What makes a good boss?
Having trust is their team is pivotal – your boss should trust what you do. It’s important to relay clear direction and feedback as a boss. Consistency from the top is very important for success on the ground, as inconsistency undermines confidence in leaders. 

Do you have any advice for women in STEM careers?
Firstly, trust your own voice, ditch the imposter syndrome, and be clear and decisive. Make your voice heard with a good degree of emotional intelligence.

Secondly, remember you’re a trailblazer if you’re the only woman in the room – that’s ok! Transformation must start with someone. Don’t see it as a problem, rather focus on the great products and outcomes you’re a part of. Things are changing. 

My 16-year-old niece is a Math and Science genius who wants to be an engineer for Formula One. It’s challenging, but she focuses on her road ahead rather than how she is one of two girls in her Advanced Math class. 

Thirdly, surround yourself with intelligent people and be humble. If you’re a leader, hire people that are smarter than you and be proud of them. My team is super smart. If you work in a team, sit with people you learn from. If you’re the smartest person in the room, then for sure you’re in the wrong room. Keep learning and keep pushing. As I said, the best is yet to come.

Thank you, Liesl!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted August 18, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Kristine Greck

FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women globally to consider careers in Tech and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories. Only 38% of women in the United States who majored in Computer Science are working in the sector, leaving plenty of opportunity and open doors for women to enter the space.

Kristine Greck is Vice President of Platform Solutions at FreedomPay. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing with Spanish from West Chester University. Kristine has worked at FreedomPay since March 2010 across Client Services, Implementations, Account Management, Tech Support, Marketing and Program Management. Kristine shares her experience, and advice, and inspiration.

You’ve been with FreedomPay for 10 years! What was your route to VP?
I started at FreedomPay as a Field Marketing representative. I’d stay late to gain experience assisting the Project Managers. I was promoted to Sales, then moved to Implementation after 3 months. I implemented our first Point to Point Encryption. We grew rapidly and I hired two people under me. Next, I moved into Account Management, managing our key accounts in Food Services.

I then ran Tech Support for a couple of years – I had no formal education in this, but Chris Kronenthal (FreedomPay President) took a chance on me. And before moving to Platform Solutions, I led Product Marketing whilst managing side projects.

Through my experience, I’ve become a Swiss army knife at FreedomPay. In Platform Solutions, I leverage my legacy FreedomPay knowledge and experience to help enterprise merchants with digital transformation engagements. This includes large scale deployments, net new development, and our value-added services offering.

What do you like about working at FreedomPay?
The people. I’m blessed to have worked with such talented folks! Our developers build industry-leading technology, Sales and Marketing bring world-leading merchants to our platform, and Operations manage our customer-centric support. 

I enjoy how our leadership team trusts us as employees. We can suggest and implement better processes and practices and try new, exciting things, aligned with the company’s vision.

The culture at FreedomPay is work hard, play hard. FreedomPay leadership, especially Allison Jones (Office Manager & Assistant to the CEO), make us feel appreciated and part of a community that makes time for fun.

FreedomPay is flexible around employee schedules to balance work and home life. There is no micromanagement. 

What are the biggest successes of your career?

Climbing the corporate ladder at FreedomPay. In a decade I progressed from a Call Center Rep to a Vice President through extremely hard work and our Executive Team’s support. 

My biggest success here has been getting a concession stand for the Super Bowl bid live in three days, setting up twenty more in two weeks and winning the business. Other highlights include launching our first P2PE solution, implementing our first Value-Added Services offering and building the go-to-market roadmap for Marriott’s global deployment.

When did you realize you wanted to work in Tech?

I’ve always been drawn to the Tech world as my father was a network engineer for 35 years. I visited his headquarters as a kid and was fascinated listening to him on conference calls with developers and seeing their models come to market. 

What advice would you girls and women hoping to succeed in STEM careers?

Be confident. You don’t have to be shy about believing in yourself and taking credit for your achievements. Show up for yourself and go for it!

Speak up and don’t be afraid of making mistakes as no one is perfect – we’re continuously learning. You grow more when you fall and get back up than when things go right all the time. 

Knowledge is power, so take the time to study up. Also, find a mentor to reach out for advice without fear of constructive criticism. If somebody advises you how to improve, listen and be open to it.

Who are your role models in Tech?

Jackie McCarthy (VP of Finance) at FreedomPay is my biggest role model. After my interview with her, I remember thinking, “I hope I make it to VP with a glass office like her.” Jackie is so skilled in Finance and Business and expresses herself kindly and directly.

Allison Jones is another one of my role models. She balances so many different responsibilities while making every employee feel seen. I try to channel her mentality.

Why should women candidates consider joining FreedomPay?

You get as much out of working here as you put in, and we learn so much from one another. It’s a land of opportunities whether you’re a seasoned executive or straight out of college. FreedomPay recognizes talent and passion and allow you to try something new if a role isn’t the right fit for you. If you want to move up, there’s a path for you here. 

Thank you, Kristine!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted August 16, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Courtney Kelly Peters

In the US, women account for only a quarter (25%) of workers employed in Technology. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women globally to consider careers in Tech and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Courtney Kelly Peters is Vice President of Partnerships at FreedomPay, specifically focused on North America. Courtney has been named as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Pennsylvania for 2022 by Women We Admire, and as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Financial Technology in 2020 by The Financial Technology Report.

Courtney joined FreedomPay in April 2017, paving an unusual path to Tech Exec, from studying Human Nutrition and working in Hospitality to Sales and Partnerships. The mom-to-be shares her insights and inspiration.

What does your role involve?
I lead the Partnerships team to fulfill our company’s business development objectives around monetizing and optimizing relationships with potential and existing acquiring and integration partners. This involves setting partners up as referral resources, evaluating their businesses, and growing our partnerships. I also oversee our reseller channel, from business development and sales training to operational duties such as ordering hardware and setting up accounts.  I also do some direct enterprise sales that I’d been working for some time or have an interesting tech approach. I started in sales at FreedomPay around 5 years ago and like to hold on to a couple of direct deals myself.

Tell us about your unconventional path into Tech

I took an untraditional route. I studied human nutrition at undergrad and grad school, then moved to New York City and alternated between bartending and travelling the world for seven years. The interpersonal exchanges I had throughout those experiences hugely influenced how I socially interact with people and problem solve which ultimately impacted my ability to effectively transition into a Sales role. Then, I was hired by a leader in the Payments space to sell the same Point of Sale systems that I’d used as a bartender. Soon after, FreedomPay reached out to me on LinkedIn and the rest is history.

What do you like about working at FreedomPay?

I like being challenged. I’ve always been very competitive, so the challenge of trying to close a deal or learn something new motivates me. Being surrounded by so many intelligent peers with different ideas to share makes FreedomPay highly collaborative, motivating and engaging. This helps to strengthen the skills that can transform our employees into strong leaders and better allies.

I also love the people that work here – I’ve made some great lifelong friends and had great mentors along the way. Nate Ware has been instrumental in my personal career growth, but I also see how he elevates others on his team to be the best versions of themselves. It is a leadership quality that I strive to emulate.

How does FreedomPay encourage collaboration?

In my role, there is consistent overlap with client-facing and internal teams within FreedomPay. We all collaborate to create a fantastic customer and partner experience with our innovative technology and commitment to customer success.

At FreedomPay, all employees receive additional compensation through a pooled commission plan, which helps to drive collaboration even further. This unique program incentivizes project engagement and team pride in our achievements.  

All of this and more guide our strategic, cross-functional engagements, help set clear objectives and identify targets or areas for improvement. This helps move the needle faster.

What is it like as a woman in Tech?

I am glad to see the women becoming more interested and entering into these exciting and challenging tech careers. It is inspiring to see how the number of women in leadership positions in the sector and at FreedomPay specifically are growing through internal promotions and external hiring. We’re seeing an increase in women interested in moving into this space. We also have many allies, who empower our next generation of women leaders.

How can people be good allies to women in STEM careers?

Recognizing and elevating women with leadership and growth potential is changing the game. Women leaders are valuable, tending to lead with empathy and supporting their team members to elevate them and ensure everyone feels comfortable. If we continue to build these individuals into strong leaders, there is no stopping the inevitable transformation of the workforce.

Do you have any role models?

I’m going to become a first-time mother within the next month. I have recently found myself looking to women that have children and balance their families with their careers as role models

My own mother’s work ethic and dedication to our family have always inspired me.  As a working mom, she organically grew her career while raising three little ones with my father. She set the bar high for what it means to work hard for what you want while creating a wonderful life.

The women I find most inspiring and influential have the qualities that I try to portray myself with as a leader: confidence fueled by increased knowledge of technology and self-awareness.

I really admire some of the women at FreedomPay who work on the technical side. I’m in awe of Sam Wildonger. She’s around my age and her career progression in Technology has been inspiring. Watching her become a mother twice since she’s been at FreedomPay gives me hope because I was concerned about how being pregnant would impact my career. I worked hard to advance within FreedomPay and have different teams view me as a leader. I really didn’t want that to change. I spoke to Sam and that conversation shifted my attitude about moving into this next chapter of my life. She was quickly elevated to a new position just two months after she came back from maternity leave, and her success motivates me to be just like her.

Do you have any advice for girls and women that want to work in Tech?

Find your niche, what you’re great at. You don’t have to be an engineer, a coder, or work on the QA team to be a part of the experience that technology brings. There’s tech all around us, whether that’s our phones, laptops, or other devices.

You can get into Account Management or Project Management, or work with Implementations and Client Success. You can be the face of the business or sit further in the background and strategize. Those are all vital roles in Tech.

If you’re interested, always reach out and ask questions. That can sometimes be hard for women. It’s not easy to speak up when you don’t know something or missed the explanation but just ask. A lot of people are excited, happy, and interested in helping younger people, and women specifically, to grow their careers.

Why should women candidates choose FreedomPay?
There are a lot of internal allies at FreedomPay that are interested in helping women to be successful. Our collaborative culture values creative approaches to problem solving. We’re a very inclusive community where everyone’s thoughts and ideas are truly appreciated beyond just what their pronouns and beliefs are. It crosses cultures and religions. We get to know people on a personal level and it creates a strong bond in and out of the office. You’ll have a fantastic support system and an intelligent team.

Thank you, Courtney!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted August 08, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Samantha Wildonger

FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women to consider careers in technology and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Men in tech are almost twice as likely to be promoted to manager as women on the same rung of the career ladder. A recent McKinsey report illustrates how the cross-industry workplace gender gap widens to a valley for STEM careers with just 52 female managers per 100 males, compared with 86 per 100 across all sectors.

Samantha (Sam) Wildonger is Associate Director of Product at FreedomPay. Sam joined FreedomPay in April 2017. She holds a Double Major in Physics and Math and is a proud working mom of two. We asked Sam to share her first-hand experience, insights, inspiration, and advice.

Let’s start with any advice you have for girls and women hoping to succeed in STEM careers
We sometimes have an idea of what “successful” looks like and often those characteristics are associated with what are traditionally masculine qualities. Women are often told they need to be bolder, more brazen, etc. to succeed.

For me, that’s not necessarily true. I’m quite an introverted, prudent, introspective female, but I’ve been most successful when I’ve listened to my gut. You don’t have to approach life or roles in a way that conforms to stereotypes. There is space for you, as you are. Trust yourself, trust your instinct, and you’ll succeed. Your different perspective will be appreciated.

We’d love to hear about your education and career so far!
I’m currently working on building out the Product team at FreedomPay – helping to drive strategy, managing the flow of the backlogs and work to our engineering teams, and implementing unified processes across teams. I’ve been in Product for about two years, and I’ve been in the role of Associate Director for about three months.

I double majored in math and physics at Ursinus College. My initial job upon graduation was as a Physicist designing radiation shielding for cancer treatment centers. I did that for a few years and liked the role, but it’s very hard to move up in that industry without going back to school, which I wasn’t really interested in.

I decided to shift careers and took a project management position at a non-profit, “Children’s Literacy Initiative”, an organization based around early education and literacy. There, I was able to get my hands dirty with a lot of fun and challenging projects surrounding Tech. For example, I helped improve process and analytics by building out a rubric for literacy coaches to fill out and have that feed directly into an SQL database. There, we could then run reports for school boards, donors, coaches, etc. – this was previously manually tracked and calculated. I decided at this point I wanted to dive deeper into the Tech world.

I started at FreedomPay in the Systems Integration (SI) department. I was interested in being a Quality Analyst (QA) but lacked experience. Immediately, I became the owner of testing all POI devices in addition to helping onboard integrators to our platform. Due to my continued interest in QA and developing skill set, I was quickly moved over to QA for POS and POI device integrations.

Fantastic. Did you enjoy the role?
Yes! I became the device subject-matter expert. I was consumed with learning which devices we support, their functions and configurations, understanding the bugs, and liaising with our hardware manufacturers.

As we expanded, I built a team around the POI device packaging and testing. Simultaneously, the Product department emerged, and I asked to join. Not only was it an opportunity to grow but stepping out of the weeds allowed me better work-life balance to focus on my kids. I became the Product Owner of Devices and DMP. If there’s a bug that needs fixing on a Friday night, I’m not the one who needs to ensure that that release gets out. Instead, I’m using my technical skills and understanding of the product to drive decisions and strategy. It’s been such a fun growth experience for me, and such an exciting place to sit within the company.

You mentioned your work life balance. Has the pandemic impacted that at all?
Definitely, and probably for the better. I work from home so I can start work early, meaning I’ve been able see my two kids a lot more than I would going into the office. That’s been really, really great.

Being a new mom during Covid hasn’t impacted my growth within the company, which is amazing. The pandemic forced a lot of women to drop out of the workforce and lose out on promotions or recognition by their companies because they had to focus on their children more. That is not true at FreedomPay at all. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to balance spending time with my kids with doing a job that I really enjoy and growing within a fast-moving, high-paced company.

How can men be allies to women in tech?
Companies supporting policies like paid maternity leave is vital. FreedomPay’s generous maternity leave benefit has been incredible to promoting and supporting my relationship with my kids. US companies often do not offer any paid leave for new parents – forcing women to return too quickly to work or plan for a large financial impact. 

Regarding expecting moms, I almost left FreedomPay when I was pregnant with my first child because I was so worried about balancing being a new mom with working at such a fast-paced company. FreedomPay doesn’t hesitate or settle. We’re constantly pushing for better, which is such a fun environment to be a part of, but when you’re expecting – at least for me – I wondered if I could do both.

Dave Knowlton (FreedomPay CTO) sat down with me and gave me the best parenting advice I got from anybody – to be disciplined with my time and set boundaries. This sounds so simple but can make all the difference in gaining that work-life balance. Chris Kronenthal (FreedomPay President) also called me when I was pregnant and said something like, “I know you might be scared about becoming a new parent, but we’re willing to support you and make it work.” I was very surprised by both conversations at the time, but it made me realize that FreedomPay is a place I could grow and not have to sacrifice my life with my family.  

Another piece of advice – give the less extroverted team members space to speak and don’t speak over them. If there is a quiet or shy person on your team, ask for their opinion. You could tap into a vital resource. 

How would you describe the culture at FreedomPay?
If you’re a self-motivated individual, it is one of the best places to work because you have the freedom to take ownership of things and run with them. And because we’re growing so rapidly, I’ve been able to create my own positions multiple times within the company. It’s dynamic. You’re never bored and you’re constantly learning and striving for the next goal.

One of the best things at FreedomPay is the people. Everybody is at the top of their game. You never feel like a colleague isn’t doing their job as well as they can. You also have direct ties to the Executive team, which I haven’t seen as much at other companies. They see the people who are working hard and driving things forward. You’re not just a number at FreedomPay – everything you do matters. That’s the thought process behind the bonus sharing program – everybody is driving this machine forward, so everybody should be rewarded.

Why should women candidates consider joining FreedomPay?
FreedomPay has a very supportive culture where people are willing to work with you, promote you, and get you what you need to keep going. This includes women supporting women.

Courtney Kelly (VP, Partnerships NA) and Kristine Greck (AVP, New Product Introduction) have been key in driving that. Both are phenomenal leaders who strive to create a women-supporting-women culture. We have our own chat in Teams and our own Happy Hours. Also, the company pays for us to attend the PA Women’s Conference every year, which allows us to network and hear advice from other women across industries. FreedomPay is a great place to grow.

Finally, do you regard any women in Tech or male dominated fields such as STEM as role models?
Yes! I read this New York Times article about Ingrid Daubechies. I’d studied Daubechies wavelets in school but didn’t know much about her. The article focused on her personal life and reiterated how you don’t have to present yourself in a certain way to succeed. She exemplifies this as a somewhat introverted person in a male dominated sector that was successful and really made an impact in her field.

Ingrid was a professor and department lead. She reinforces the idea that you can just be who you are and still move things forward and inspire others. She struggled with imposter syndrome, feeling she’s not the archetype for her field, although she’s clearly making “waves” (pun intended). So, you can feel all these doubts, but you shouldn’t let them prevent you from pushing forward.

RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is another role model in a male dominated field. You can agree or disagree with what she stood for, but one of the most inspiring things about her was how she argued her points. She would appeal to the people that she was making the argument to by understanding their mindset and empathizing with them. She then structured her arguments around that and led people who strongly disagreed with her to see another perspective. She was so strategic in the way she crafted her arguments and so diligent in her research, which is important as people were forced to see her viewpoint. She was also soft-spoken, showing again that you don’t need to be bold, outspoken, and loud to have a huge impact on the world.

Thank you, Sam!

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