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Posted September 29, 2022 by Michele Clemmens

FreedomPay & The Future of FinTech

Barry Stearn joined FreedomPay 3 years ago as Vice President of Partnerships (EMEA) and boasts 15 years of experience across various Payments companies, device manufacturers, and gateways. Barry shares his insights around FreedomPay, industry trends, and the future of the sector.

What sets FreedomPay apart from other FinTechs?
FreedomPay is a Technology company that does Payments. We lead with innovation. This differentiates us from other Payments companies within our space, which seem to drive with Payments and play catch up when it comes to innovation and Technology. Our approach is progressive and forward-thinking. We were first to market with PCI validation, the leading encryption for Payments in the US.

Barry Stearn, Vice President of Partnerships

Describe the Next Level Commerce™ platform.
FreedomPay’s data-driven, unified commerce platform authorizes and settles card transactions made online, card present, and from mobile assets. We’re an agnostic solution, so we’ll integrate with any banks, payment providers, and Points of Sale for ultimate merchant convenience. 

Our integrations with localized service providers such as Network International in the Middle East and Redsys in Spain enable us to replicate our solution globally. As a result, we’ve seen exponential growth in regions such as the UK and Ireland during the first three years of our European existence.

We partner with the best-in-class brands across all verticals, including hospitality, retail, F&B, lodging, stadiums, gaming, education, and healthcare. Some of our key partnerships include Marriott International, Inditex, Footlocker, Dine Brands, Sephora, and MGM Resorts International.


Could I benefit from working with FreedomPay as a partner or merchant customer?
Absolutely! It doesn’t matter which sector you’re in, or whether you’re an enterprise company, an SME, or a mid-corp. FreedomPay supports businesses like yours, optimizing commerce processes for companies of all sizes.

Customer satisfaction is one of our core values, and we’re proud to say that not one enterprise customer has left FreedomPay in a decade.


How can you help my business build customer loyalty?
Our Next Level Commerce™ platform provides merchants with comprehensive Business Insights around consumer purchase habits. These can be used to personalize loyalty incentives targeted at meeting individual customers’ wants and needs. This contributes to strong brand relationships and an increased likelihood of repeat purchases.


Which functionalities do you support?
We support additional functionalities such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and the innovative, alternative payment methods that direct customers demand. This ranges from touchless commerce checkout experiences and contactless payments to Direct Currency Conversion, or DCC (payment in your home currency while abroad).


What is the future of Payments?
As we see it, there are two key elements: touchless commerce and open banking.

Firstly, touchless commerce enables a consumer to register their custom through a business’ mobile app, entering a store or venue, and walk out with a basket of goods. They do not need to scan items, pay at checkout, or select an in-store payment option from their wallet or digital wallet. Going forward, Payments is focused on delivering innovation and a frictionless consumer experience.

Secondly, open banking is catalyzing the evolution of Payments architecture. Millions of customers across Europe and the US use open banking on a weekly basis to make account to account payments or to pay for goods and services. This is democratizing technology, but there is some way for open banking to go to become ubiquitous in Payments globally.

Thank you, Barry!


Check out our platformpartnerships, or hear more from Barry.

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Posted September 28, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Jen Shoemaker

FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series seeks to inspire ambitious women globally to consider STEM careers and take on leadership responsibilities. FreedomPay is committed to boosting the proportion of women studying STEM subjects, currently representing 21% of Engineering majors and 19% of Computer science majors, by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Jennifer (Jen) Shoemaker started at FreedomPay in 2019. The highly educated Platform Solutions Manager has 12 years of experience in Engineering and Software.

How did you get into STEM?
When I was a child, I loved numbers and excelled in Math. I went to college for Engineering as it combines Math and Science, which are two of my passions and were my strongest subjects at High School. I majored in Materials Engineering and began my career as a Materials Engineer for the Navy, working to control ship corrosion.

I moved on from the role as governmental red tape slowed processes down. I wanted to work with a product that would have a more immediate impact on the end user. I went to grad school and earned a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering. Software Development interested me as it involves logic and many aspects of Systems Engineering.

What was your next step?
After graduating, I worked for Thomson Reuters on a product for banks to perform background checks and due diligence. The role combined up-front work and back-end configuration, from project management and requirements gathering, to supporting technical teams by implementing and prioritizing code. I was promoted to COB Platform Technical Manager, leading a team of Technology Consultants to develop and support complex, large scale global implementations of Client Onboarding (COB) software.

Three years ago, I joined FreedomPay. Our software is ubiquitous, and I was keen to understand the back-end technology!

Tell us about your role at FreedomPay.
I lead the Infrastructure Project Management team. I coordinate with teams across the company and supervise project managers and business analysts. I oversee projects related to infrastructure, including building hardware, servers, security, and even data centers.

FreedomPay is a very entrepreneurial company, so people are receptive to solving any needs you might identify and implementing a solution. Your contribution and its positive impact are recognized.

How would you describe the company culture at FreedomPay?
There is seamless collaboration and people are very happy to help one another, however they can. People appreciate and acknowledge a job well done.

Policies such as remote and hybrid working are helpful for employees with young families. It’s great to see people in person at the office but having the long-term flexibility to manage your own time is really valuable for a work-life balance. 

What is it like to be a woman in STEM?
People are often surprised to see a female Engineer, but I’ve found they show the same level respect for men and women in STEM. It’s most important to be confident in your capabilities. 

Do you consider any Women in STEM to be role models?
My biggest female role model was the Head of the Materials Engineering department at my college, who was also my Senior Design Advisor. She was intelligent, educated, well-respected, and self-assured, as well as fair and compassionate as a professor. Her strong soft skills complemented her technical understanding, and she motivated me to work hard to be like her.

Explaining technical concepts clearly to non-technical people and bridging the knowledge gap is a challenge in STEM. There are left-brained and right-brained people, but I particularly respect those who can balance analytical thought with communication and creativity.

Why should women in Tech consider FreedomPay when applying for roles?
The culture is very supportive and collaborative, for all genders. The company promotes men and women equally and takes an active approach to professional development.

Women at FreedomPay support each other and there’s a sense of camaraderie. We have a women’s channel on Teams, attend the annual Women’s PA Conference, and set up company-sponsored events for International Women’s Week. 

Thank you, Jen!


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.

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Posted September 19, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Laura Pride

By 2030, almost three million young women may be working in Technology. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious girls and women to consider careers in STEM and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories. 

Laura Pride is Global Head of Marketing at data insight and technology-led Communications agency, Indicia Worldwide. We asked Laura to share her experience, advice, and inspiration as a successful woman leader in a male-dominated sector. 

Are you from a Tech background?
No. I studied Anthropology and French at University, followed by a vocational Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. I started my career in Journalism, developing strong communication skills and strengthening my ability to read and actively listen to people from all walks of life.

Which transferrable skills did you develop?
I turned stories around for radio, TV, or online audiences within a day. I digested and reformulated complex topics for a range of audiences, from in-depth governmental reports to scientific data from the Environment Agency. How could I engage stakeholders and promote AI or Machine Learning if I didn’t understand what they were and what they meant to and for the target audience?

In Data and Tech, presentation is key to capturing the depth of expert knowledge and repackaging it to entertain and inform. When I moved into data-led Marketing and Communications, the key skill set I’d nurtured didn’t change. This eased my transition into the sector.

I’m also highly skilled behind the camera and in post-production. This was very unusual 10 to 15 years ago, particularly for a woman! My technical abilities in software editing and filming have enabled me to create quality content and campaigns while working both in Journalism and Marketing and Comms.

Why is Tech a good industry for women?
There’s constant movement and innovation, creating an abundance of opportunities. The prevalence of remote and hybrid roles levels the playing field for men and women.

How can we promote gender parity in STEM?
I’ve been involved in initiatives encouraging young girls and teenagers to study STEM subjects. Gender diversity in Tech is improving by championing women working in traditionally male-dominated environments. Visibility and access to education are key to motivating underrepresented groups to consider careers in STEM and sustain progress.

Advice for companies?
To recruit strong female candidates, hire and promote women senior leaders. If the pool of talent applying for a position isn’t diverse, ask yourself and your company why that may be and how you can attract a wider selection of applicants. Consider what could be putting candidates off from applying. Also, implement flexible policies which support and invest in working parents.

How can people be strong allies to women in Tech?
Give women a platform and speak up publicly to champion women. Promote and praise women for their successes. When senior leaders of companies do this, it cascades down through the company to promote a positive and inclusive environment.

Which women inspire you?
Liesl Smith, the current Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales Enablement at FreedomPay. I used to work with her. She’s knowledgeable, supportive, and forthright… she doesn’t compromise on quality and standards. It’s inspiring to see her upward career trajectory.

What would you look for in a mentee?
Someone willing to learn, who’s open to listening to advice and experience. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support, whether around developing a skill, managing relationships, or sourcing information about a new field or company. 

On the flip side, what qualities are important in a mentor?
Honesty, someone who will give their opinion and offer tangible advice with examples and solutions based on their knowledge, expertise, and even their contacts. Having a mentor who’s been through something similar is powerful. A mentor should be relatable and not too distanced from your circumstances, so someone much more senior than you may not be the right fit. 

What is your greatest career success?
When I found my career in News, Media, and TV incompatible with having a young family, I successfully used my transferrable skills to move to the corporate environment of Marketing and Comms. 

Do you have any advice for girls and women considering a career in STEM?
Firstly, know your worth and put yourself forward. Banish the impostor syndrome. Understanding the value of my skill set enabled me to find new opportunities in a different sector after going through a redundancy. It’s good to know where your areas to improve are, but don’t let them stop you going for opportunities. Equally, always prioritize your mental health and well-being by stepping away from toxic, unproductive, or unsupportive environments.

Secondly, keep learning. If you study something that you’re passionate about, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. 

Thirdly, keep trying new things. You’ll develop transferrable skills and experience while you find the industry or sector you gel with, even if it’s not quite what you expected. 

Finally, find a manager, boss, or mentor who’s interested in you and your development and will champion you and your abilities. 

How can women network remotely?
Reach out to people on social media. Be bold. Comment on LinkedIn posts and start a dialogue or join industry groups. This will give you visibility and the opportunity to make connections and grow your network.


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.

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Posted September 13, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Irina Solovey

Women currently make up approximately 25% of people working in Tech in the US. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series seeks to elevate gender parity by inspiring ambitious women globally to consider STEM careers and take on leadership responsibilities. Strong, successful, and passionate women share their stories.

Irina Solovey is a Software Technology Team Lead at FreedomPay. Born in Belarus, the mom-of two holds two degrees, speaks multiple languages, and joined the company in November 2018.

Tell us about your job .
I lead two teams of six and seven people. I oversee various projects, resolving complex technical difficulties and ensuring we meet all requirements. Alongside my role as Software Technology Team Lead, I act as a Scrum Master.

The fast-paced environment at FreedomPay works well for me. I enjoy the constant challenge and continuous learning. We have very complicated technical products, which suits me perfectly as I love solving puzzles and strategizing.

What is your background? Did you study Tech?
While I don’t have any formal education in Tech or programming languages, I did receive two degrees – one in Economics with Organizational Production, and the other in Marketing with Economics.

I had 10 years of experience as a Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer and QA Lead when I joined FreedomPay. I was based in Belarus, working mostly for outsourcing companies with web-based applications. 

How did you get into Technology?
I was encouraged to try out a temporary position in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by my dad, who was a Developer. I was later offered a role by another company in QA – I loved it!

Are there any women who inspired you to work in STEM?
My mom and grandma have been my biggest role models. They were both Heads of Department, working in Economics. 

I also admire the women I work with. I learn a lot from the amazing Project Managers and Product Owners at FreedomPay who lead successful teams and have vast technical knowledge. 

Any advice for girls and women that are hoping to succeed in STEM careers?
Be curious and proactive. Do your research and always do your homework. Figure out what you want and go for it.

Why should women consider joining FreedomPay? 
FreedomPay has vacancies to suit all different tastes and skill sets. We have openings in Management, Technical roles that deal with code, and lots of entry-level positions. As there is a shortage of skilled people with relevant knowledge in the labor market, we focus on training talent.

Also, FreedomPay’s remote work policy gives employees the flexibility to manage their work and home lives. 

How would you describe the culture at FreedomPay?
At FreedomPay, everyone is very supportive and eager to help out – all you need to do is ask. We’re all aligned on and committed to our mission, too. When we speak about our projects and the company, there’s a spark in our eyes. People truly enjoy their work.

We’re also very inclusive. There are a lot of women in my department. We’re looking for strong candidates from all genders, races, ages, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. 


Any final thoughts?
English isn’t my native language, so getting to where I am now has been a challenge. But I’m not unique in my journey. If I can do it, everyone can do it! I want to inspire women to figure out what they want and go for it.


Thank you, Irina!


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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.

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