As The Fintech Times in September celebrates Women in Fintech we take a moment to hear more from leading fintech females. One of them is Joanne Dewar, Chief Executive Officer of Global Processing Services (GPS), the trusted and proven go-to payments processing partner for today’s leading challenger brands including Revolut, Starling Bank and Curve.
Joanne joined GPS in 2013 and led its transformation from start-up to private equity-backed scale-up. She is a recognised leader and influencer in the payments industry, having been selected as one of just two women on the 2019 Payments Power 10 list, which recognises payments industry leaders with an ongoing commitment to pushing boundaries in the payments sector.
She was also the European Women Payments Network (EWPN)’s 2018 Woman of the Year Finalist, and is on the judging panel for Inclusion Signpost, a new accreditation to inform and support consumers on existing fintech products and services that address financial inclusion.
Describe your career journey so far…
I’ve always wanted my work to have a positive influence on the world, and to be able to create meaningful change through what I do. From volunteering as a teenager, to using my skills in the charity sector during my career break, I’ve always wanted to be part of something greater.
What are the future trends and predictions you see happening related to your work in fintech?
The fintech industry is in an incredible position to change the world for the better by providing solutions and products to help solve the problem of financial exclusion across the globe. Our company mission is to enable financial empowerment for everyone. Using technological innovations, the fintech industry can transform the role of financial services to enable people to manage their money better, open bank accounts for the first time, and access credit that can enable them to afford the items they need to improve their quality of life.
GPS are the ‘tech behind the tech’, in that we do a lot of the heavy lifting to enable brands to focus on their consumer propositions. We have become renowned for innovating in the issuer-processor space and giving rise to the fintech boom, being the engine that has powered the fintech revolution across the UK and Europe. Our cutting-edge technology powers many of today’s challengers and fintechs, including Revolut, Starling Bank and Curve, and we work with over 40 issuing banks and 180 clients, across 60 countries and in 150 different currencies.
One of our areas of focus and a highlight over the past two years has been our Global Expansion programme, as we brought the epicenter of the European fintech revolution to APAC and opened offices in both Singapore and Australia. Launching our APAC presence at the 60,000 attendee-Singapore Fintech Festival last year was a significant achievement as our launch was highlighted as one of the top ten announcements, and we have since been powering key players in the region including Revolut, Razer, WeLab Bank and Xinja, amongst others.
What career advice and recommendations do you want to give future female entrepreneurs and thought leaders?
Imposter Syndrome is a huge issue for many people in high-level positions, irrespective of gender, and something that I certainly struggled with when I first became CEO. To help combat this, one thing I have always remembered is Jack Welch’s ‘Destroy Your Own Business theory’ – that one should consider how the competition would respond to a situation, and to do that thing yourself. To apply this to my own situation, I ask myself how a veteran CEO would respond to a particular situation, and I apply that behaviour.
This was particularly true when it came to getting over my fear of public speaking. I used to worry about the one person in the audience who I thought might know more than me, but as I became more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, I focused on the hundreds of other people who I knew could learn something from me. To overcome a fear of failure, instead of focusing on the fear, you need to behave as though you already are the leader you want to be, and eventually, that will manifest itself.