Here we hear from Gloria Garber, Proud Limpongpan, Sophia Sanders, Samantha Yap, Kelly Fryer, and Catherine Boundjia as they share with us how they smashed the glass ceiling.
Catherine Boundjia, Chief Product Officer, Amadis
As a young girl, I was surrounded early on by bold women, encompassing all spheres of society: entrepreneurs, doctors, CEOs, judges, politicians, and a variety of professionals. This empowered me to believe that success was easily accessible to all women. It wasn’t until later in my twenties that I realised that being a female leader is a constant struggle. There are three tips that allowed me to smash the glass ceiling in the Payments industry.
1. Surround Yourself with People Who Believe in You
Being surrounded by people who believe in me has played a key role in my career.
Very early in my first job at ACI Worldwide, I was put on large-scale and complex projects. My clients were among the largest banks in Europe. Although I was a junior-level payment expert, my management team trusted me completely to carry out these projects. Their confidence in me empowered the young graduate I was to excel in my role, to make an immediate impact on customers, and to reveal my leadership skills. Later in my career, I have been fortunate to continue working closely with inspiring male and female role models whose trusting, pragmatic, and fast-learning mindset has greatly influenced the leader that I continue to grow today.
2. Stop Overplanning: Success Does Not Have a Timeline
I learned to stop over-planning because success has no timeline.
As women, we tend to over-plan our next steps. Being too focused on the process and making incremental changes may slow down a career. You can’t break a glass ceiling while doing clever calculations of how to get through. Twelve years ago, when I left France for a new opportunity in Canada, I had no idea that this unplanned and uncertain change would propel me towards other great career opportunities. Being shortlisted for the 2018 Women in Payments Canada Rising Star Under 40 Award a few years later was in some way recognition of my daring.
3. Don’t Wait Until You Have a Seat at the Table to Step Up
I didn’t wait until I got a seat at the table to step up.
Breaking the glass ceiling is a great achievement, but it shouldn’t be the beginning of your story. You need to cultivate a leadership mindset long before you’re part of a C-level team. In my case, true leadership has always been about stepping up for my company or my teams, especially having difficult conversations, in tough situations. I think of it like a football (or hockey or soccer) game: Would I rather be on the bench, gently waiting for my teammates to lead us to victory, or would I rather be one of those who stick their neck out to whatever the outcome of the game is?
In 2019, my team and I were responsible for delivering the payment solution deployed at one of the world’s largest sporting events. It was an intense period of work to meet the deadlines given to us to successfully execute the vast scope of the project. I rolled up my sleeves and worked out strategies with our partners and teams to achieve this ambitious business goal. Several years later, it is still one of the projects I am most proud of.
Breaking the glass ceiling is not a long calm river for women as we must continuously double our efforts to achieve our goals, but the adventure is well worth it.