Women in Payments: Heidi VandenBerg

In the fintech industry, PaymentsSource estimates that women represent only 30% of the workforce. Global Payments Integrated wants to share the unique experiences of women in the payments industry, so in January, we launched our first-ever Women in Payments interview series.

Our next interview is with Heidi VandenBerg, Vice President of Marketing here at Global Payments Integrated.

We spoke with Heidi about her career, as well as about how to maintain meaningful work relationships during the shift to remote work during the pandemic. Read on for the insights she shared.

Mackenzie Miller:

Hi, Heidi. Thanks for joining me today for our first ever Global Payments Integrated Women in Payments series. I’ve had the chance to meet you virtually through our work calls, but I’d love the opportunity to get to know more about you, and your career. So tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your current role? What’s your background and where did your career really start off?

Heidi VandenBerg:

So I am currently the Vice President of Marketing for Global Payments Integrated. I have been in the payments industry for 20-plus years, which is crazy. I actually started out, I’m one of those people who climbed my way through the ranks. So I started out on customer support, taking technical calls from merchants who couldn’t get their terminals to work or their printers to work. And I troubleshoot — I helped them to troubleshoot.

And, from there throughout the years, I’ve just found opportunities of growth and movement, working my way through a variety of departments and roles in the payments world, which has put me where I’m at today, in our, in the marketing department.

Mackenzie Miller:

Awesome. So what tips do you have for advancing your career in the current state of the pandemic that we’re in?

Heidi VandenBerg:

I think one of the biggest recommendations that I would have is, first and foremost, if you don’t already have a one-on-one opportunity with your leader, take that initiative and get a meeting put on their calendar so that you have an opportunity to share with them where you’re at, what your aspirations are, and ask for what you want. So if you are aspiring to move somewhere else in your career, share where you’re wanting to go and ask your leader for recommendations on ways that you can develop the skills to help you get where you want to go.

Mackenzie Miller:

Awesome. How are you able to still make meaningful connections within the organization and keep team members motivated?

Heidi VandenBerg:

I think the key really is making sure you get those connection opportunities. You know, we’re all right now on a lot of conference calls, and I suggest turning on your camera so people can see your face, because that human interaction is a little bit different than just hearing a person’s voice. And making sure that, again, you’re doing those one-on-one conversations with the folks that you’re working with on a regular basis, with your team lead, or staff calls for that matter.

Mackenzie Miller:

That’s really good advice. I’m not the best at turning my camera on, usually because I have sweats and my hair’s in a ponytail, so I need to work on that.

Heidi VandenBerg:

And, you know what? They say bring your authentic self, and I’m with you. I do the same. There’s days when I’m like, “All right, I took the time to do my hair today,” but, you know, they say it even on those days when you maybe don’t look your best and you’ve got your hair in a ponytail, we should, turn on our camera.

Mackenzie Miller:

Yeah. So what was your biggest challenge as a leader during 2020?

Heidi VandenBerg:

So for me, my team has always worked all across the United States. So, for us, I only had a few team members who sat in an office. And for me personally, as a leader, I’ve always, I’m used to it. Nothing has changed for me.

Probably my biggest challenge was more so in the realm of the relationship I have with my peers. So we used to travel multiple times a month, going to various locations, and spending time together, strategizing in a room, you know, white boarding, collaborating, having the opportunities to go to dinner afterwards, where you can connect on a more personal level and all of that’s really been stripped away. So, keeping those personal connections really with my peers has probably been the biggest challenge this year.

Mackenzie Miller:

Yeah. We’re gonna switch gears a little bit here. I’m gonna ask a couple more personal questions. What advice do you have for women working in payments or fintech today?

Heidi VandenBerg:

So I guess what I would say first and foremost is we need more leaders. We need more women leaders in the payment space. And, I think we oftentimes, for whatever reason, we’re intimidated. We tend to think maybe we’re not smart enough, we’re not qualified enough. And, and we’re — we just don’t take the initiative to take that next step. And I want to encourage women in payments that you are smart enough and you are qualified and, you know, kind of start thinking about what those next steps could be for you, to start moving into those roles.

Mackenzie Miller:

Thanks. I think that a lot of people need to hear that sometimes. Especially as a woman in the payments industry, sometimes it is a little bit harder to speak up, but once you do, everything’s, like, fine. And just seeing you in the role is a really big inspiration to me. So what would you say your biggest challenge you’ve had to face in your career as a whole would be?

Heidi VandenBerg:

My biggest challenge has been myself. I get in my own way. I carry a lot of self-doubt, and just like what I said before in the previous question, carrying those, “I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough.” And I personally have been super blessed to have really great leaders a part of my career who have always been the one to say, “Heidi, you need to go do this. You are qualified. You need to go and try, and you are smart enough and you are capable.” And that’s been my biggest challenge for myself.

Mackenzie Miller:

Yeah. I think a lot of people think that, so know that you’re not alone in that. What do you do to continue to learn and grow in your career? Are there any like books, podcasts, conferences that you like to go to, or just chatting with others? What, how do you kind of learn and grow personally?

Heidi VandenBerg:

So when you get the opportunity, things that I’ve gotten a lot of benefit out of is like when there’s industry-related shows, being able to get out there and expose yourself to different companies that are in the same space as us, whether it’s a product or a competitor, and learning about what they do well, and how they, what they do in their business. I always find so much value in that.

We oftentimes work with other vendors who provide certifications and different classes that might be relevant. Like if you’re in the marketing space, if you’re in the product space, oftentimes you can find things that you can do right from your own home, that helps you to learn and grow and gives you new ideas on how to be better.

And beyond that, a lot of, you know, I spend time on LinkedIn. I spend time on, you know, looking at various blogs and things of that nature to help learn about what’s happening in the industry, beyond what I see and work with every day.

Mackenzie Miller:

Great. So what advice would you give someone wanting to enter the fintech industry?

Heidi VandenBerg:

I think if I would, if I would give just one piece of advice, it’s networking. So, beyond taking the initiative to learn. So some of those things that I just mentioned, you know, taking those initiatives to learn on your own, but network. And in the payment space, a great place, I’m going to give a little plug here, which is Wnet. Wnet is a women’s network which is focused on the payment space. It’s a great way to meet people. It’s a great way to — you can participate in different panels where you can hear women who have been successful in the space, things that they’ve done to promote their career. And they also have mentoring programs. So if you’re looking for help and direction and growing your own skill set, they have a variety of different types of mentors that you can partner with to help you.

Mackenzie Miller:

Awesome. I’ve actually never heard of that before, so I’ll have to check it out. Sounds really, really cool. And what, this last question, what is your favorite thing about working in the payments industry?

Heidi VandenBerg:

It’s always changing, always changing. It feels like you’re always, every single year, you’ve got a new regulation. You’ve got products that are constantly evolving. Um, the industry that I entered into 20 years ago is completely different than what it is today, and ust always giving us those opportunities to learn and grow.

Mackenzie Miller:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about creating meaningful connections during a pandemic and the journey of your career. I know a lot of people could really utilize this advice to advance their careers. So I really appreciate your time.

Heidi VandenBerg:

Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you for having me.

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Global Payments Integrated

Global Payments Integrated

Global Payments Integrated helps businesses succeed by delivering secure and personalized payment solutions.