This Women’s Day, Earthport CEO, Amanda Mesler, shares her journey and obstacles overcome over the years to become a leading female Executive.
Always look for potential.
“When I decided to take over the reins of Earthport, back in July 2018, I knew the business had tons of potential, but wasn’t thriving the way I knew it could. I knew that turning this around would be a real challenge, but a challenge has always been something I welcome.”
“I remember when the news of me joining Earthport first came out, I would often get asked why would I swap a giant like Microsoft for a smaller company specialising in B2B payments? But the one thing I learnt to always look out for is potential. Earthport had huge potential and I was so excited to bring over 25 years of experience to support our customers, employees and stakeholders to realise that potential.”
“I am loving every part of being a CEO at Earthport – women make up 50% of our executive team and we have a very diverse employee population across our company. We are growing, transforming and implementing a strong work environment while performing all the while.”
“My career history? After starting at General Electric, I worked as a partner for KPMG and ran energy businesses for Electronic Data Systems. I then went on to sit on the executive committee of IT group Logica and also worked for banking technology group Misys. Prior to Earthport, my last role was as the General Manager for Microsoft, where I managed central and eastern Europe, travelling the world and venturing to some parts of the world where female business executives were a rare sight.”
“As a Texan who has worked in consulting technology for most of my career, I’ve had to travel all over the globe. When I go back to Texas, I have to tell people where some of these places are. I am very international. I'm not the stereotypical American who doesn't have a passport. My passport has more stamps than most people's.”
Don't be afraid of taking responsibility at a young age.
“At GE, I had responsibility at a very young age. At 24, I was managing a business in Asia for the GE product line.”
“There I was, an American female at 24 years old selling electric vehicle controls to the Japanese, Chinese and all over Asia.”
"That's where my international brain was wired because when you do that at an early age you have a lot more appreciation of different cultures, different people and how to get things done. It was a lovely experience, a fantastic forming experience of my career."
Be a pioneer.
"When I first went to Tokyo in 1989," she says, "I never met another woman working, except for the assistant who would serve me tea.
"I kid you not. It was very odd but when you're that young, it doesn't materialise in your mind. It was an incredible time.
"There were no women there in the sector where I worked. I was the first one that Japanese businessmen in the companies we dealt with would meet in a business setting.
"I remember faxing my customers before I went for my first visit and walked into a room with 15 engineers and saw a lot of red faces and people looking down at the ground.
"They had had no idea that a woman was coming to visit. They had assumed there were meeting a man and just weren't prepared for me. It was a very embarrassing situation.
"They took me to their guest house and there wasn't a ladies rest room. Finally someone came and bowed their head and said they were sorry but they didn't have a woman's bathroom.
"A woman had never been in the building before. I had to use the men's bathroom while someone stood guard. in their culture, they would never have worked with a woman but they were smart and progressive enough to realise that I was the one that had all the answers."
Make use of women's networking groups.
“I am a huge believer in the power of women's networks.”
"We don't have enough tech women, so we have to get women into technology. This is a big passion of mine. It's not just about hiring. It's about building the environment to help them to be successful at the executive level because that's a different world. It's a dog eat dog world at the top."
“I’m also member of a women's network in the Young Presidents Organisation and gain a great deal of support from it. I worked with Facebook's chief operating Sheryl Sandberg to help create "Lean In circles," so named after the title of Sandberg's best-selling book, founding Lean In London, with 200 women.”
Don't be intimidated by men.
"My whole career I have been in businesses dominated by men, especially at KPMG where I was a partner at a very young age. I was always in the consulting side but I never felt like a woman until I moved to the U.K. and worked for Logica.”
"I was on the executive committee of ten and I was the only woman and the only America ever on that board. That's where I became personally passionate about helping women lean in to their own ambition and creating an environment to help them do that.”
"I think we have a long way to go with women in tech businesses. We're just not getting the numbers coming in that we need to and there are even fewer at the at the top. There's been a focus on getting women onto boards and you can see that changing in the U.K. but it's not changing in the executive ranks as quickly. That's where you need it."