One of my first impressions when joining the Federal Reserve’s Retail Payments Office was that so many of the staff powering the Fed’s ACH network were women. Women are everywhere in electronic payments … well, almost everywhere. Even today women occupy relatively few senior leadership positions in the industry. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that, today, the Federal Reserve’s Retail Payment Office is headed by a woman. In my opinion, this is an important development for the industry.
For those who find this inspiring, W.net, short for Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions, is an association formed to help women gain the skills and relationships required for career advancement. Recently I was fortunate to attend the “2012 Career & Leadership Summit” in Atlanta sponsored by W.net. Attended by around 150 women, the conference focused on developing professional skills and helping attendees reach their personal goals in the electronic payments industry.
If my own experience is any indicator, most people in the industry don’t know about W.net. There are several chapters around the country with upcoming events in New York, Northern California, Texas and Chicago – consider attending one near you.
There are other challenges when it comes to women in payments. My new colleagues at Glenbrook on the West Coast tell me that there still aren’t enough women in leadership positions at the payments start-ups that are driving much of the innovation in the industry and the VC firms that fund them. Glenbrook Partner Erin McCune, who is the 2012 president of the Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco (FWA SF), is trying to change this. If you are in the Bay Area on October 2nd, plan to attend the FWA SF annual gala luncheon to learn about their programming and scholarship fund supporting women studying finance.