Backstage with Wendy Holliday, CEO, PayTech Women
Q>What inspired Wnet’s rebranding and how does the new name and brand reflect your vision and mission?
In 2005, the founders of Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions (Wnet) created a unique space for hundreds of women in the payments industry to connect, network and share objective advice. Wnet inspired thousands of women during those years, and their loyalty and passion are still on display every day.
Much has changed in payments in the past 15 years and much has changed with respect to the needs of all women in this field. We wanted to examine who is served, highlight new opportunities and create even more meaningful inclusion and programming that is truly impactful for our now 5,000+ members.
Helping women rise in payments means attracting and engaging women at all levels in our industry. Being intentional about a message and a brand is critical to connect in the right way with influential and priority audiences. After surveying our membership and working with our board and stakeholders to examine the Wnet brand and messaging, we knew the time was right to evolve the legacy of Wnet while recognizing the future of the organization.
With the assistance of PR and marketing expert Jennifer Tramontana, Founder and President of The Fletcher Group, we conducted in-depth interviews with Wnet Founders, the executive team, corporate partners and sponsors, members and regional representation. Our strengths and the opportunities were captured as we explored the competitive and industry landscapes. After an intensive year of collaborative work, new messaging pillars were created to capture the spirit,
value and affinity of Wnet but speak directly to our different audiences.
However, the messaging was only part of the brand journey. We asked ourselves what name, brand marks, colors and design elements would best represent the tone and spirit of the evolved messaging. We introduced – and celebrated – the new brand at our 15 th annual Leadership Summit, EmPowered by FIS, in Atlanta on September 28 during a special luncheon: PayTech Women Make Their Mark.
Our new name and logo, PayTech Women (PTW), is modern, clear and powerful. The font has clean lines and perfect circles. The peak in the W represents the summit or peak that we help each other reach through our network of dedicated and driven, professional women. The circles represent connection and inclusivity.
Our colors are bold, strong, and full of energy: Trailblazer Teals, Innovative Oranges, Elevation Greys. Our tagline is simply our mission stated concisely in three present tense, action words: Rise. Thrive. Connect.
While our mission – to create a stronger and more diverse industry by empowering and investing in women – has not changed, our laser focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) will enable us to better improve the working environment and opportunities for all women in payments by propelling meaningful change.
PayTech Women, formerly Wnet, is the ONLY non-profit, professional network that helps women break through barriers to achieve their ambitions in the payments industry – however high those ambitions reach. We are a place for every woman in payments – and their advocates – to RISE, THRIVE and CONNECT.
Q>As you reflect on PayTech Women’s history, what historic milestones stand out and why?
Our organization came into existence with three powerful women finding few other women in the space and wanting to make a connection – be a connection. Having this vision and the fortitude to connect women and the men that support DEI across the space was the first hurdle and Wnet was born.
As we grew, members saw a need to come together in person and further connect, inspire and grow – the annual Leadership Summit was created from this need. We have grown to 60+ education and networking programs offerings each year including the Leadership Summit, but also PayTech Women Lead, PayTech Women Live and monthly webinars.
Interest began to emerge across the country with our Links (Chapters). Now with 13 active chapters across the US and growth internationally, we offer a connection for all women in the payments space with opportunities to connect with peers, near and far. Chapter participation is free and open to all. As a non-profit, we truly live our mission and even if you personally cannot afford to join or your company cannot support your membership – we are here for you.
In 2017, we saw an increased interest from companies wanting to support our vision and mission and our corporate memberships were created. With 36 corporate partners and growing, from 175 organizations, PayTech Women has exceeded our 5,000th member.
Q>What positive steps have you seen in fintech and financial services toward creating gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Awareness and representation matter. I have seen more of an interest in companies supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the payments space; and it shows. The McKinsey Women in the Workplace survey reveals we are not yet at gender equity, but as an industry, we are faring better than business overall.
Q>What areas of improvement would you highlight to drive gender diversity in fintech and financial services?
We measure what matters. I would like to see more organizations take note of their current success as well as opportunities for improvement and use this information to assist in organization equity goals.
Q>How would you advise organizations to foster gender diversity and friendly, inclusive workplaces?
Gender diversity and inclusive workplaces will not be successful without the support of all. Organizations that lead an open and inclusive environment will be able to address systemic and isolated instances that negatively impact employee morale and engagement. In the age of the great resignation, organizations must foster open communication, create forums for engagement and develop programs to identify and encourage a diverse, future leadership to outpace their competitors to retain the best and brightest.
We continue to need a community of leadership champions at every level of the industry to press for progress. With the support of our industry partners and sponsor, our annual Leadership Summit empowers our attendees to achieve greater personal success, influence and professional parity, creating a world where a woman’s potential is as unlimited as her ambition.
With new opportunities like PayTech Women Live and PayTech Women Lead, PTW offers programming that shares industry leaders’ perspectives and guidance about imperatives to deliver results, how the industry is changing since the pandemic and what changes companies must make to meet the challenges presented today and into the future to stay inclusive, relevant and profitable.
Q>What benefits does PayTech Women offer to members and sponsors?
PayTech Women helps ambitious women rise in payments. We are a collaborative and supportive environment building programming and events that empower women and advance gender equity. We are where senior women in payments come together as leaders to grow and give back and where the next generation connects and succeeds. From our mentoring and coaching programs to networking and industry education, PayTech Women is here to strengthen individuals and the industry.
PTW enables businesses to empower female employees through a supportive network of cross- company peers and mentors, along with hands-on learning and growth opportunities – like the PayTech Women Executive Academy – that prepare women at all career levels to assume increased responsibilities and take advantage of leadership opportunities. We empower the potential of their whole team and provide programming that meaningfully enhances DEI in our
Bio: Wendy Holliday, CEO, PayTech Women
As Wnet CEO, Wendy works to support our mission to create a stronger and more diverse industry by empowering and investing in women. Supporting women has been a significant portion of her career including mentoring other women, seeing the first female board members at PLM World and starting a Women at Work program as part of the PLM World Annual Conference.
A seasoned association professional, Wendy has more than 20 years in non-profit management, bringing a strategic and data driven approach to association management, inclusion of volunteers, membership marketing, and increasing member and attendee acquisition. Prior to Wnet, she served as Executive Director for Digital Enterprise Society, formally PLM World; the Vice President for Attendee Acquisition and Experience at Velvet Chainsaw Con
sulting; and the Vice President for Marketing and Member Services at the National Association of College Stores where she drove the marketing and sponsorship plans for the TSNN Top 150 Show, CAMEX. Wendy also led sponsorship activities at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics for Certified Angus Beef in the Special Projects and Strategic Partnerships role.
Wendy serves as an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s College of Business Administration. She earned her BBA and Masters in Higher Education, with an emphasis in counseling from Kent State University and is an ASAE Certified Association Executive. She lives in Kent, Ohio, with her husband Tom and children Jacob and Joey.