Empowering Diversity – Ep.38

Education & Inclusion – Ep.37
November 24, 2021
Reflections of Kwanzaa – Ep.39
January 8, 2022

Linda Perry, Diane Faro and Holli Targan discuss their mission to create Wnet and how this organization is designed to empower women in the payments industry. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion, and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started.

One of my favorite African proverbs is the one that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” These women are going far, and they are showing us how to bring people with you. One of the things about doing podcasts is that you get to meet some extraordinary people, and this week is no different.

Each guest this week brings a wealth of wisdom on their own, and yet we’ve decided to pull them all together into this one podcast. Why did we do this? Because these women are phenomenal. They also all co-founded W.net, and I want to briefly tell you a little bit about each of these women. And trust me, his introduction will not do any of them justice. They are phenomenally giving women with vision and execution.

As we discuss diversity, equity and inclusion, they will be providing perspective really on their friendship, their mentorship. And these are the women that have broken glass ceilings and continue to find ways to reach back and make sure that the glass continues to break. These are the kind of friends who bring each other to the party, and I want to give you a little introduction and have you take a look at your own network, so stay with me here.

Let me first start with Diane Faro. She became CEO at JetPay in May of 2016 after serving on the company’s board of directors for two years. She was instrumental in the 2018 acquisition of JetPay by NCR. And before joining JetPay, she was the president and partner of National Benefit Programs, served as president of global merchant services at First Data. She served as an alliance group president for First Data merchant services, and prior to that, she served as CEO of Chase Merchant Services.

Faro is a past president of the Electronic Transactions Association and served as an ETA board member for nine years. She also served on advisory boards for Visa and MasterCard and held board positions with Merchant Link and FrontStream Payments with a career spanning more than four decades in the financial services industry. She focused on growing companies and leading people. Her expertise in defining strategy and increasing revenue has shaped her career as an executive and entrepreneur. She has a variety of awards and accomplishments: the Electronic Transactions Association Hall of Fame, Women in Payments Distinguished Professional Award, a Silver Stevie Award, Electronic Transaction Association Distinguished Payments Professional. I could go on.

In addition, we are also joined by Linda Sternaman Perry. She is a retired banking and payments industry expert who most recently had a strategic payments consulting practice that advised merchants, processors, and acquiring companies. She is also an advisor to Digits, which provides merchant processing for software platforms. She also served on the Electronic Transactions Association board and was inducted into the ETA Hall of Fame in 2019.

She was also named one of the 20 most influential women in payments by PaymentsSource.com in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She retired from Visa Inc in April of 2009 after 17 years, and for most of her career there, she served as senior vice president and head of acquirer and processor sales for the US. Before joining Visa, Linda was a vice president of Citicorp, and before that held several vice president positions at Michigan National Bank. She was also recognized by Transaction World Magazine in as the 2007 Mover and Shaker Award. She’s an industry leader by Green Sheet, and in 2010, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Midwest Acquirers’ Association.

In addition, we finally have Holli Targan, is a partner at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, where she is a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Jaffe Electronic Payments Law Practice group. She has dedicated her career to fostering the payments industry and professionals within it, having served as past president of the Electronic Transactions Association, as an ETA board member for 12 years, and as a founder, board member, and past president of Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions, or W.net.

Targan is a leading authority on payment systems law and represents fintech businesses, private equity firms on contract and compliance issues, and merger and acquisition transactions. She received numerous awards, including the MWAA Industry Achievement Award, the Most Influential Women in Payments, Best Lawyers in America, and Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly Women in the Law.

All of these amazing women are co-founders of Women Networking in Electronic Transactions, or W.net. It’s a national organization that provides networking and growth opportunities for women in the payments industry. Join me this week as we dive into their backgrounds, their minds, their friendship, and they tell their individual stories, but also the vision and creation of W.net.

All right, so I am so excited this week. I have Holli Targan, Diane Faro, and Linda Perry with me this week. So excited to meet and celebrate with these wonderful women of payments. We are just going to dive in and get started. This is the first time I’ve had three people on at the same time, and I’m so excited to speak with you all based on all of the things that you’re doing and the success that you all have had in your careers, so thank you so much for joining us.

Linda Perry:  Thank you for having us.

Melyssa Barrett:  So, I wanted to just start out, because as you know, my whole focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion really is focused on storytelling. My late husband was a storyteller, and everybody has a story, so I want to ask you all first kind of how you got to where you are today, such successful business women, and any secrets you want to share in terms of your journey to success.

Linda Perry:  Shall I start?

Diane Faro:  Go for it.

Linda Perry:  This is Linda Perry, and my journey started basically out of college when I walked into a bank near where I lived and got a job as a teller. And then in a couple of years, I got a job in auditing, and then I kept moving and kept thinking about different jobs in the bank. The way I thought about that in those days was I would see some new project coming through the bank, and the bank in those days was very open to letting people try stuff, and so I just said, “Oh, I think I can do that job.” And I would go and apply for it, or I would go to the boss and say, “Hey, I want to be in debit, because it’s an up-and-coming project that’s going on in the bank.”

And so, I just went from product management to sales management, back to product management, back to sales management, and just varied back and forth. And then, I went to Citibank for a couple of years in the merchant processing business, and then from there, I went to Visa, because I thought, “Oh, it’s…” No one likes this. “It’s the mothership of payments.” So, I thought, “I could go to California, and I could work for Visa, because they’re working on debit, and I understand debit, and I understand credit, and I understand merchant processing.”

And so, I wrote three letters to people at Visa who I did not know, I knew of, but did not know. I wrote them three letters saying, “Hey, here’s why I want to come to work for you. I’d really love to work for Visa. I think you’d love this experience.” And wouldn’t you know? One of those letters hit, and they hired me.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow. Nice.

Linda Perry:  Yeah. It was pretty amazing. I don’t know if it always happens, but it happened to me. So then, I had a very lovely 17-year career there. I spent 11 years in the banks, or 12, and then 17 years at Visa, working both on the issuing side, because Visa both calls on issuers. And then, I went to the executive vice president, and I said, “We’re not doing enough for acquirers, and I’ve got these four ideas. I’d like to do a newsletter. I’d like to do a council. I’d like to do this or that and the other, and I’d like to hire some people who understand acquiring.” And he said, “Well, okay, you better do it right, but go ahead.”

That’s how I got… I was just always kind of… I don’t want to say… I was assertive and not afraid to go, because I thought, “What are they going to do? I mean, maybe they’ll give me the job. Maybe they won’t give me the job.” So, I had, I thought, a very successful 17-year career there where I met these wonderful women that are on the call with me today. Both of them are terrific. We formed a great friendship. We’ve been friends and colleagues and vendors at some point in time. I used to call on Diane. So, it just became a wonderful network for me.

Melyssa Barrett:  Holli? Diane?

Diane Faroz:  Sure, I’ll go next. My start, my career at First Chicago, I grew up in Chicago, and I was fortunate enough that they put me [inaudible] payments. I was a keypunch operator, if you remember those days when they had the paper slips. And so, I was in keypunch. I decided then I was going to relocate to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, so I went to work for a company called NaBanco.

Again, I was very lucky, because I came in two months after Paul Garcia. All of you know who Paul Garcia was in the industry. He’s done very well and CEO/chairman of Global Payments. Paul and I took over operations. Paul was running sales. Again, to go through the story, it’s kind of funny, because then he took over as CEO of NaBanco, and he said, “Come on Diane, you could do sales.”Well, it was like, “Me? Sales?” I was operations.

So, I did. I went into sales. Turned out I loved it, but not through ease. I mean, I would go home every night, crying, sick to my stomach. I would be like, “This is not me,” but I loved it. We were acquired by First Data. So, I spent 26 years of my career at NaBanco and First Data and had a wonderful career and retired in 2009 and then went on the board of JetPay. And they decided they wanted a new CEO of JetPay, so I took over as CEO and had wonderful three years there, sold the company to NCR.

So, I always tell everybody, “You could do anything you want to do. You just have to be out there. You have to be…” Like Linda said with letters, mine was in your face, talking and saying, “I could do this. Why not? Everybody else can? So I’m female. Big deal. I can do it.” So yeah, I’ve had a wonderful career in payments and again, same, I met the most wonderful people, of course, these three, the best, and Mary Gerdts, and it’s been wonderful. I have to say, I don’t think I would ever want to be in anything but payments. [inaudible] It was [inaudible].

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. Holli?

Holli Targan:  So, I am a lawyer. I started my legal career at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is the agency that regulates national banks. I was staff counsel there for about five years in Washington, DC. I had my first child there, and then I decided Washington was fun, but it was time to move home, so I moved back to Michigan and worked for a very large law firm and then went in-house at a bank, the same bank that Linda worked at, although we did not… it was Michigan National Bank. We did not work there at the same time. And while there, they taught me all about the payments industry, and I was the legal counsel for their merchant acquiring arm and their ATM arm, those parts of their businesses.

And then, at some point I realized that I didn’t want to be in-house anymore, and I went out and started my own law firm, and I was a sole practitioner doing everything from licking the stamps on the bills that had to go out. And then, eventually I got so much work, and I was always concentrated on payments in that career, and eventually, I realized that I could not handle all the work that was coming in, and so I affiliated myself with a law firm, which is the same law firm, Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, and I’ve been there now 25 years.

I became very involved in the industry through the Electronic Transactions Association, the ETA, and was fortunate enough with the support of these women who are on the call to be appointed to the board of directors there and served on that board for about 13 years and eventually became president of the ETA, which really opened a ton of doors to me, both because it exposed me to the inner workings of the acquiring industry and of payments and because it enabled me to form a network of people that I could rely on, really, to facilitate my career.

Since then, I have been on boards of other organizations, and then eventually, the three of us along with Mary Gerdts formed W.net, and it’s just been amazing. I feel like I have the best legal job in the world, because I’m utilizing my legal skills, but there is so much innovation in fintech, and so it enables me to really figure out what’s going on in the industry and how that marries with the laws that are very old laws that were created not to accommodate fintech, but now we have to look to in order to figure out what the compliance requirements are.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. I love that. I love that. You all are so interesting to me, women in payments, which I have to say is somewhat rare even today, but some of the nuggets… I mean, I heard, “Be assertive,” as Linda says, not aggressive, but assertive. “Do it. Get out of your comfort zone” is Diane’s mode, right? Like, “You can do it, whatever you want.” And Holli just talked about utilizing your network and really not only learning, but creating exposure and utilizing your network. So, I love the way that you all came together, and I know when we talk about W.net and why you created W.net, and I know there was a fourth person in the network that you all brought in as well.

Holli Targan:  So, I can take that one. We were all very involved in the ETA, and I had started a women’s caucus group at my law firm, and this was back in 2000, maybe around 2000? Something around there. It was a long time ago. And I could see the benefit. Mainly what I could see is the energy that was in the room when these powerful, dynamic women got together. It was palpable, and I wanted to… And the other thing that I noticed… Our colleagues… Is that in the ETA, in the payments industry, who were male had these informal networks. They would go golfing every year. They would do various things that did not include women, necessarily, and I could see the benefit that they were getting out of those informal networks. And so, I thought to myself, “You know what? We can form an organization.”

I had no idea that it would grow to be as big as it is now, but we could form an organization that facilitates women’s careers and enables them to network in the way that women network and not necessarily in the way that men network. And so, I brought that idea to the other three women. I said, “What would you guys think about… Why don’t we try organizing ourselves and getting together and see if other women in the industry would be interested in this?” And after a couple years of me bringing that…

Melyssa Barrett:  It didn’t happen tomorrow?

Holli Targan:  Pardon?

Melyssa Barrett:  It didn’t happen in a day?

Holli Targan:  It did not happen in a day. And by that point, Diane had been president of the ETA. I was about to become president of the ETA. We were pretty seasoned in our careers, and we just decided to start formulating the organization, and we met over a long period of time. We had committed to each other that we would meet in person, because we felt like that was the only… Because there was no Zoom back then, and we would meet in person every quarter, and we did that for about year and a half before we formally launched so that we could really figure out what it was we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.

Melyssa Barrett:  And you all lived in different places, so you would fly in for this girls’ weekend or something? And plan it, or…

Diane Faro:  So, anyways, I was fortunate [inaudible]. Holli and the other person, Mary Gerdts. I mean, we had meetings in different places. Again, we’re from all over the United States, and we would meet… We met once at Mary Gerdts’s house as well, but it was… I thought, “Wow, I’m being included in this group.” I mean, it was an honor when Holli… It was her creation, her idea. Mary finally supported it and brought us into it, and our first meeting, I always laugh about, because we drank good wine, because thanks to Mary, she liked really good wine. I got introduced to very expensive, high-end wine. So, that was great. Why wouldn’t you do it?

But the opportunity that these women… I mean, and the ideas that would roll off everybody saying, “Well, what if we did this?” And we took a chance because again, the men in the ETA mocked us. I mean, they were like, “You would need to form a woman’s group?” I mean, so there was a lot of controversy, like, “Why a women’s group?” Because men didn’t think golfing or doing the things that they did were a men’s group, but it was great.

And Holli’s right. It took us a couple years to how we want to form it. We didn’t want to make a mistake. We wanted women to understand, here’s a place you can come. You could network, you could be mentored, or you could meet other people in other organizations. You’re not alone. And that was one thing I always felt like in my early years, I was alone. Every meeting, every business travel, was only with men. I never traveled with women. I used to say, “I’m on the road with men all the time.” So, it was an opportunity for women to come forward, and like I said, I’m… You saw the energy, Melyssa, in the room [inaudible] two weeks ago. It was amazing. So yeah, it was a great, great opportunity to be part of great, great women in the industry and [inaudible] today.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, what I really loved about the conference itself was, I have to say, I didn’t know anybody. I had never met anyone in person because of the pandemic, and so you all brought together 400 or 500 women, mostly. There were men there, but what was interesting to me is the reception that I got when I got there. I mean, it was very… I mean, the first person that came up to me, I’ll never forget. Katherine. She was just like, “Oh, my gosh, I am so happy to meet you.”

And when you want to feel included in a body of people, when you’re there by yourself, you don’t really know… People might know you because you were on a Zoom call with them or whatever, but it’s different when you’re in person, right? You get all the nuances of the body language and everything. And she was just so open and welcoming, made such a difference to me, and now I always will think back and go, “How am I making somebody feel when they’re at a conference or at someplace new?

So, I love the fact that you all really wanted to create that sense of sisterhood for women in payments, and now you even have so many men coming on board to really understand what it’s like to be in this type of atmosphere, which is different than their kind of men’s network, as you call it, so I love that.

Holli Targan:  So, the other…

Linda Perry:  So…

Holli Targan:  Yeah, go ahead. Yeah.

Linda Perry:  Can I say, the thing about the W.net is that it is a community, and I think that was reflected in what you saw. It is not a club. We used to talk about the men’s club, right? “Oh, the men’s club, the men’s club.” It is not a women’s club. This is a community of women who come together in this industry to help each other and to talk to each other and to create a big network. I mean, we are vendors to each other. We are customers of each other in this organization, right? We work with each other. We work as competitors. So, this is a community that encompasses the entire payments ecospace in a friendly and comforting way, and I love Diane saying this, and I wrote this to my [inaudible] today. “You’re not alone. You’re not alone, no matter what company you work for or what you do. Or if you’re a lawyer, we’d like you, too.”

Melyssa Barrett:  You have to have a lawyer in the group, right?

Linda Perry:  You have to have a lawyer.

Holli Targan:  And we are here to support you, and that feeling that you felt when you walked into the room, Melyssa, that has been here from the very first meeting, and no matter how big or how small the gathering is, that is always present in the room.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And Linda reached out to me, I guess it’s been maybe almost a year ago. I don’t know. Something like that. And what I loved is that you all were thinking, “What else could we do from a diversity, equity, and inclusion standpoint? How do we make sure people feel included?” And you really kind of focused on your board first, which, as CEOs and folks that have sat on boards, I think a lot of times people are thinking about their organization or their employees first, and you all really said, “No, we need to make sure that the board is trained.”

Linda Perry:  Well, I’m dividing things now into two… I’m so glad, by the way, thank you for saying yes to me all those months ago and saying you’d help us, because I think what we found out is that in order to work on diversity, inclusion, and equity, people had to understand it and had some foundation, because there were definitions that everybody thought were different. Nobody really knew what it meant. Some people didn’t like the terms. And so, we had to start with a foundation, and that foundation of information and knowledge had to start at the board level, because these women are the ones who take this downstream into all of our membership.

We’re still working on foundational items, and then we have a lot of other projects that are over and above that, where we can talk about lots of different things, because we think people… “Okay, all right, they sort of get it. They see the definition of mentorship, and they’re willing to be mentors or they’re willing to be mentees, because they understand what that means.” And that’s, to me, maybe that’s… I’m not sure where that came from, but it hits me, that foundational information and not just really critical to success of any project.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. Let’s pause for a moment. We’ll be right back.

You guys created your own DEI council, and now you have all these inclusion groups, which I think people do find a bit of solace in just connecting with people who they can relate to. And it allows the network to blossom, right, as really a starting point. But it also allows us to create a lot more awareness about other people, other cultures, other interests and activities, which I think is always helpful when you’re talking about a network of people, because we are so multidimensional.

So, I’m going to ask just an interesting question because I know you all have spent your lives kind of thinking about how you want your legacy to go on with this organization. What advice would you give your younger selves in terms of… I mean, because I think it’s so rare that you meet women in the same industry that actually know what you’re talking about, being able to kind of bounce things off of somebody who maybe isn’t at the same company as you, but you can really get advice or mentorship from them in a network of folks that are centered around payments.

Holli Targan:  I can start out. The question is, what advice would you give your younger self?

Melyssa Barrett:  Or to everybody else that’s out there today.

Holli Targan:  Or to everybody else? I would advise them to trust their guts. Trust your instincts, because as a very young lawyer, right out of law school, I would sit in a conference room at the OCC, and someone would come up with a thought, and I had had that same thought five minutes ago, and it just kept happening over and over again. And finally, I got to the point where I felt like, “You know what? I know the answers here as well as anyone else who was sitting around this table.” And so, I think that women especially need to remember and to have that confidence that if you have an idea like a W.net, we didn’t really know whether it would take off or whatever, but you have to go for it. You have to trust that your thought, that it’s a good idea, will resonate with other people, and typically, it will.

Diane Faro:  I would… That’s excellent as always, Holli. And similar is, I wish I would’ve told my younger self, “You can do anything that you want to do.” In my younger years I was always, believe it or not, more timid. That I was always concerned about, “Whoa, if I put myself forward, what are people going to think?” Or, “Can I really do this?”

Again, I would see other people being stepped forward, being promoted, opportunities for them, and I thought, “You know what? I can.” I had… again, a little bit different. I was a single mom. Children. I had to support a family, and I thought, “Well, no one’s going to give me anything. I have to do for myself.”

Just like being president of a division, there’s no book that tells you how to do that. It really comes from within your gut, what you believe in. And if you are honest to yourself, and you go out there, and you say, “I can do this. I can do this.” So, I guess the first thing is believe in yourself. Create your own brand. It’s very important. We look at all this social media and some of these pictures people are posting, and you have to say to yourself, “Remember, those pictures never go away. They’re always going to be out there.”

So, be careful what you post on social media, what you want people to think about you. Be true to yourself, and do whatever you want to do that makes you happy in your career, in your personal life. I wish that’s what I would’ve done as my younger self, believe more myself back in those early years. Took me a while to get there, but I got there.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. Linda, do you have anything you want to add?

Linda Perry:  Yeah. I often think about this, and I tell… Like, I have a niece who I am very close to. We talk about business issues and things, and I’ve told other people this, and that is that you’re going to go up and down in your career. You’re going to have some pretty high highs, and it’ll be great, and you’ll think, “This is it.” And then, the bottom drops out. Something’s going to happen to you. You get a new boss you don’t like. They make you transfer to a different division. Something… That’s how life is. That’s how careers are, right? They’re up and down and up and down, and you can survive that.

Because when you’re in a down, you don’t think, “I’m never going to survive. I’m never going to have this career that I want,” but you just have to sort of be patient and kind of wait things out. You have to be thoughtful about what you’re doing and who you are, and maybe some of these things are as a result of what you should change about yourself, and then move forward. Because it’s really… You hit some walls, and you think, “That’s it. I’m never going to do anything else, or they’re going to fire me, or something’s going to happen.”

So, I wish I’d have known or been able to tell myself when I was young, “You’re going to have some great opportunities, and then some things aren’t going to be as good. It’s not going to be as happy, and you just got to have patience and work through it and put your head down sometimes and just keep going.” And that’s not something when you’re 30-something and you get a boss that you do not like, or whatever, you can say, “Oh, I’ll just power through this.” That’s hard to say to yourself.

Holli Targan:  But it took time. It took time for all of us to get there. Like Linda is saying, as a young, professional woman, especially, especially at the time that we were coming up in the industry, #MeToo hit, and the whole world changed, right? Because then, it sort of caught up with what W.net was all about once… But prior to that we didn’t really know that, so it takes a while to get to that place.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. I can’t imagine you all being patient in that way. You all are like these powerhouse women that are like, “No,” and I have a feeling… Diane said she traveled with a lot of men. I can imagine she gave them a little piece of her mind every once in a while.

Diane Faro:  It doesn’t… No. So, what I did want to add into that is that remember, back in those times, yes, we all, went forward, and yes, we were not quiet. But again, remember, it was easier, I think, at the time, and I don’t know, from Linda and Holli, but it would be like, “Oh, will you do this? Do this job. Do this.” It was always to myself, as a woman, versus the men in the group, “Can you take this assignment?” And it was at the point I was taking on more and more and more, and what was I getting in return? It’s like the whole thing with Mikey… Give Mikey… Mikey will do it.

And that’s how I felt, until you get to the point and say, “Wait a minute.” I had to call attention to being underpaid and demanding a raise. And that’s a gamble, because I went in, asked for a sizable raise, because I knew people were being paid more than I was. Now thankfully, I had someone who respected me and knew I was good at what I was doing. I got the raise, but you better believe that you can say, “These are why I should have raise. This is what I’ve done in my career. I deserve this raise, and I should be equally paid.” So, those are things you learn. You might not have… You wouldn’t have known in your early 20s, 30s, like.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. I love the fact that you all are in these powerful positions of influence, and yet there is still this sense of, make sure that you’re confident in yourself and that sometimes, you may lack that total confidence, but you can get it. It’s almost like the ability to have women come together and support and encourage you gives you that level of energy and confidence that maybe sometimes you may lack.

So, I love that. I love the fact that W.net is here for over 4,000 women now, and that you all have started this community and this movement that Linda mentioned. What would you like to see as kind of the legacy? W.net obviously is very successful now. It is continuing to move into a much more dynamic position in serving women. Are there specific things that you would love to see, like your original vision, that maybe haven’t been accomplished yet?

Linda Perry:  Well, the one thing I think about and I’ve been trying to think through and work on is that we think we’re… I mean, we have been, and the fact that we have 4,000 women or more that want to join us, but we have to continue to sell what we do as a part of the support system to these companies that we all work for.

So, we have to sell that in at various levels, whether it’s the HR level that says, “Hey, W.net can help your employees.” W.net, we’ve talked to… we had conversations with some CBOs of some companies of our big sponsors to introduce them to, “Who’s W.net? What do we do? How do we support their efforts and what they’re trying to do for their employees?” Because we can’t do it all alone, and they probably know they can’t do it alone.

And now, we’re reaching into the CEO levels, and we had the vice chair of MasterCard, Ann Cairns, speak to us. We’re trying to get to that level and say, “Hey, here’s who we are. Here’s what we do. We want you to come and tell us your stories and what you are doing and recognize that we can work together.” Because if we don’t continue to work together with our sponsors, with our companies, with those people, it won’t continue, and we’ve been very lucky over the years. We’ve had great response from the companies, but it still could be better.

And there are now way more women in the workplace than there were when we were out working and trying to find our way, so there’s lots of opportunity to have more women participate, and some men, and there’s opportunity to make sure that the companies that these women work for are supportive of the women, not only the women, but of the W.net and how what we do can be a joint effort in many ways, so I’d say that.

Diane Faro:  I would add… I mean, Linda said it correctly. We have to continue… Again, we’re nonprofit. Our, monies come from these corporations. There’s still a significant amount of women within these companies that are untapped, that probably still don’t know W.net. I would love to see the legacy where we can work with these corporations, and again, whichever it be, HR, whichever company, and we take over their whole women’s networking group, where we create programs within their companies and show the value of what we bring to these corporations, because without them, we’re not W.net.

And if we can go in and say, “We will do your mentoring programs. You don’t need to do it.” They can monitor, it’s their brand, but there’s so much we could [inaudible] in these companies within payments that’s still untapped, and there’s a significant amount of companies within payments that we still need to talk to and continue to tell more about W.net’s story.

Holli Targan:  I totally agree with everything that Linda and Diane said, and it’s critical. I have a different spin on the legacy question. My goal was to get to a point, and I don’t know how far in the future this might be, but to get to a point where women are on a totally equal footing with men in the workplace. So, not so much a legacy for the organization, but a legacy for the women within the payments industry, within the electronic fintech industry, that they have reached the highest potential of their own careers and that they want to reach in every way, both with regard to opportunities presented to them that they can take advantage of with regard to pay, with regard to lifestyle. So, that is the legacy that I would like to leave, is that we have facilitated those kinds of opportunities for women.

Melyssa Barrett:  Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, clearly you’re well on your way to that. The people that I talk to, I think you’re already making that type of impact to people that are working in those companies, and to see them participate, contribute, whether they’re… I mean, I was at the first time… I think it was called the First Time Networking Group, if you’re a first time attendee, and the room was packed. I mean, standing room only. Diane was there, and they had a panel talking about what it’s like, how you get involved.

I just thought it was such a great opportunity to really meet with people that were for the first time there, but people are really excited about being able to connect with others, even when they were competitors, because when I was in there, you would kind of be a little bit off if you were sitting there talking to a competitor. But to be able to really relate and connect to people has just been awesome, so congratulations to you all.

Holli Targan:  Yeah.

Diane Faro:  How about, Melyssa, their stories on how we changed their lives? That was moving and touching. It was like, “Wow, we changed their lives.” That, to me, just [inaudible] said, that was emotional.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah.

Diane Faro:  It was touching.

Linda Perry:  Well, and Melyssa, as a storyteller, because that’s what you are doing, and I’ve recognized over the years, but more so lately, as I’ve been working on this diversity project, the stories are so compelling and so important to hear because, if you don’t know someone else in even another company, or you don’t know someone of another demographic or an age group, because I’m kind of one of the older people in this group, you can’t understand what they’re going through.

I mean, you think about young people. I don’t know what it’s like to be a young MBA going into a company these days. I just don’t know. So, the stories that we tell and that we tell each other and that we hear are really critical to gaining that inclusivity that we’re looking for, right? The story helps you become more inclusive, because you now hear how you’re alike, what might be different, and how can we help each other, is really kind of part of what we’re we’re trying to do, and it’s evolving, as it should. Right? It’s evolving.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes. Yes, it is evolving. Right? Progress sometimes takes a while, but progress nonetheless will happen. Awesome. Well, any last minute thoughts on… I mean, where do people go for more information on W.net?

Linda Perry:  We have a wonderful staff now. We have an in-house staff, which is a big move for us after 15 years, and they are totally dedicated to us, and they understand us, and they are a group of wonderful women with skills and talents that we’ve brought together to help W.net grow and be more useful to our base as it grows. So, they can go to wnetonline.org and see that and then make some contacts or let us know. We’re all on LinkedIn. We’re there.

Holli Targan:  We want to hear from everybody. We want to hear from you, so please join us.

Linda Perry:  Awesome. Awesome. Thank you guys so much for being here. I look forward to continuing my relationship with W.net and the wonderful women that I’ve met. I met so many wonderful women just by going to the conference, but it is so awesome that you all had this vision and really have been able to bring it to fruition, to help women really around the globe, because payments is so expansive. Thank you so much. We love to see innovation, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion, sustainability, environmental governance. All of those things are wonderful, so thank you so much for all you do, and I really want to celebrate you all and appreciate you all, so best wishes to all of you.

Holli Targan:  Thank you.

Diane Faro:  Thank you.

Holli Targan:  Thank, you Melyssa.

Linda Perry:  Thank you.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.