The Last Ten Years – Insights and Lessons from Kristy Duncan of Women in Payments
Continuing my year of “firsts” while attending payments conferences, I had the privilege of sitting down with Kristy Duncan to discuss the legacy of Women in Payments and her opinions on how things have changed over the past ten years.
The payments industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving space. Despite the significant strides made in recent years, women remain underrepresented, particularly in leadership positions. As Kristy told me at the outset of our conversation, “this industry is underpinned by the exchange of value,” and her organization is driving value across the payments ecosystem. Women in Payments is leading the way to a more equitable and inclusive industry.
One critical factor contributing to the success of Women in Payments is what Kristy calls the “journey to a global community” designed to provide women with the support and resources they need to thrive in this space. By sharing their experiences, challenges, and success stories, Women in Payments created a powerful network that is driving change across the industry. By engaging in open and honest conversations, women can share their experiences and insights, learn from one another, and build stronger connections. Kristy explained that one of the goals of the organization is to “have a dialogue about payments, but it’s also about showcasing the talent, showcasing the role models.” This dialogue helps to break down barriers, build trust, and create a sense of shared purpose, all of which are essential for driving change and promoting gender equality in payments.
Women need to see other women in leadership positions to understand the possibilities and opportunities available to them. According to Kristy, “Visibility and peripheral learning are critical in promoting the advancement of women in payments.” Attending conferences, participating in mentorship programs, and engaging with industry thought leaders helps to broaden perspectives and expand networks, all of which are essential for career growth and advancement. She went on to say that her goal with the organization is to “engage and give young women in their careers a forum and a safe place to learn and to network and support each other.” Women in Payments is leading the way in this regard, providing content like My Career Six and opportunities like the Girls in Tech program in partnership with Mastercard, which has served over one million girls.
Promoting equity in payments is not just about breaking the “glass ceiling.” According to Kristy, women also face a “sticky floor” problem, where they are unable to move up the career ladder due to a lack of opportunities, support, and resources. The example she gave focused on the idea that if you have 50% women at entry level, but men are promoted twice as much, by the time you get to the C-suite and boardrooms, you end up with single-digit representation of women. Addressing these problems requires a comprehensive approach, including promoting women based on potential rather than strictly track record at all levels of the organization .
As Kristy explained, “People do not wake up and think about payments; they think about the friction in their lives.” Women in Payments has a critical role to play in reducing this friction while also promoting greater financial inclusion, accessibility, and security.
About the Author
Dr. Angela Murphy has experience in artificial intelligence, financial technology, and the global payments industry, building on her skills as a storyteller and rhetorician. She engages at the intersection of strategy and insight to drive results for her clients. In her current role as Vice President of Business Development at Photon Commerce, she helps run a team that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve complex problems in the payments industry. Dr. Murphy received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and currently resides in Kansas City with her husband, Brock, and German Shepherd rescue, Roscoe.