Wnet Launches Tampa Bay Chapter to Empower Women in Payments

Blog
June 30, 2019

Would You Rather Be an Orchid, or A Cactus?

The first Wnet Tampa Bay Chapter in Florida was launched recently at a networking event held at World of Beer in Tampa. Founder/Chair of the Chapter and Gem Security Solutions President, Donna Gem, said she was amazed to discover that there was no Wnet chapter in this area despite the huge Payments Industry presence. Wnet is a non-profit, professional organization that seeks to empower women in payments through leadership development, mentorship and networking opportunities. Gem launched the Chapter with the support of Tannon McCaleb, Managing Partner of Fintech Executive Search Consultants and Co-Chair of the Chapter.

As she welcomed women from leading companies in the Payments Industry to the organization's inaugural event, Gem asked an interesting question while holding an orchid and a cactus, "If you were a plant, which plant would you like to be?  This lovely orchid with a beautiful flower, or this lonely cactus with leafless stems covered in prickly spines that doesn't appear as if it can compete in the world of customary house plants?" "While a cactus is not the best plant that one would like to be like, its characteristics are liberating.  The cactus plant symbolizes endurance and persistence to survive under the most unpleasant of circumstances," she added. Gem then connected the analogy to the characteristics required for women to grow in their organizations despite the barriers and biases they face.

Gem said, "Women are still outnumbered by men in the most prestigious positions, from Capitol Hill to the board room.  In short, women are much less likely than men to be in leadership positions.  For women of color, leadership opportunities are particularly elusive. Asian, black, and Hispanic women make up only 17 percent of workers in Standard and Poor's 500 companies but fewer than 4 percent of executive officials and managers." She pointed out that this is not due to a lack of qualified women to fill leadership roles. She said women earn a majority of university degrees at every level, and more women are in the workforce today than ever before. "There must be something inherent in the system that's working against us," she concluded.


Gem stated that in larger companies like those within the fast-paced payments industry it is hard to connect with each other and build friendships. "This is especially stressful for women due to our gender and, in some cases, our race, as we feel like we have more to prove," she said. "We feel more burdened and, thus, have no time for connecting with others. These issues make organizations like Wnet relevant as we aim to provide solutions to these issues and help guide women as they navigate the challenges and hurdles within their organizations," she added.

Gem said that Wnet will provide a community for women in electronic transactions in the Tampa Bay area, and that members will have a platform to encourage, help and develop each other in an industry that is dominated by men. In closing, she encouraged the women present to become a part of an organization that empowers women to be strong and resilient like a cactus.

To find how to become a member of the Tampa Bay chapter contact Donna at .

 

To read the press release, visit: https://www.prlog.org/12777179-would-you-rather-be-an-orchid-or-cactus.html