At Interac, we celebrate diversity and believe bringing our authentic selves to work drives the best results and allows us to learn from one another. We are a diverse group of people and are committed to creating an environment for diversity of thought and experience, where unique ideas, perspectives and voices are not only welcomed but encouraged.
For Black History Month, we are featuring the stories of people within the Interac family who are part of the Black community. This is your opportunity to read their stories and learn more about the advice they have for Black professionals who are looking to enter the FinTech space.
What is your name and job?
My name is Carol, and I am a Senior Analyst at Interac. In my role, I’m the central point of contact for our extranet resource portal. I provide support to our employees, participating financial institutions and business partners who are authorized to access the Interac Extranet website. The site supports fraud and compliance applications and contains a wide array of documents such as technical specifications, financial reports, and governing documents applicable to each of our products and services.
What does a typical day at Interac look like for you?
My days are not typical, and no two days are alike! I communicate daily with employees in departments across our organization, as well as our external clients who are mainly senior-level executives known as Sponsors, and their Extranet users.
I prioritize my day by first checking to see what I have scheduled in my calendar, then I check my email to address the most critical and user-impacting issues first. My day can include anything from troubleshooting with users, monitoring user and system access, reviewing access requests and general inquiries, preparing user reports, activating and deactivating users, and updating documents and various tools required to manage user access.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy the variety of activities that I have in my day, interacting with clients and helping to resolve their issues. I never know what I’m going to face on any given day and that keeps me on my toes!
What comes to mind when you think about your journey at Interac?
I am just one of a handful of current Interac employees from the original Certapay team. When I joined Certapay in 2001, it was a small start-up company that was in the process of launching email money transfers now known as Interac e-Transfers.
I was responsible for designing, implementing, and managing the Customer Support operations for the Interac e-Transfer service before moving into Extranet Support.
Being part of the team that brought the Interac e-Transfer service to life is such a historic achievement! I don’t think that any of us could have imagined the impact that this service would make in the Canadian financial landscape and beyond.
I can’t believe how much the organization has grown and all the products and services that have been launched since I first started over 20 years ago.
A lot of people think that we have thousands of employees because we’ve accomplished so much already in such a short time frame. We may be a relatively small group, but we are mighty!
How has your journey been as a Black professional in Toronto and navigating the FinTech space?
I graduated from University with a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Information Management, so what I learned in school in addition to work experience in the software development field prepared me well for the FinTech space.
I’ve been fortunate to work directly with several incredible Presidents and Vice Presidents of innovative technology firms who believed in me and gave me a chance to utilize my skills to develop and lead teams of extraordinary client and customer support professionals.
Being a Black professional female, I’ve faced some challenges including racial discrimination and sexism, but I believe that it’s important to address and resolve issues when they arise and to not let them become distractions and disrupt your mental well-being.
What advice do you have for others who may be experiencing a similar situation?
Never give up! Follow your instincts and believe in yourself. There may be bumps in the road along the way and the journey may not always be easy, but with faith and perseverance, you will succeed!
What advice would you give to young Black professionals looking to start a career in FinTech?
I would encourage them to go to college or university and get a diploma or degree. Learn about the industry and current trends, then determine if and how you want to contribute to it. It is moving at lightning speed and there are so many different directions that you can take. Find your niche, network with others who may already be doing what you would like to do, join industry associations, keep learning and dream big!
Restaurants and small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. Do you have a favourite Black-owned restaurant you’d encourage others to try?
I recently discovered a place called Beach Hill Smokehouse that serves really good Texan-Style BBQ with a southern flair. I highly recommend it!
What is an interesting fact about you?
I love oysters so much that I learned to shuck them!
What makes Interac a unique place to work?
Interac is unique because every one of us plays a significant role in helping to deliver top-notch products and services to our customers. We are a leader in the financial technology sector and we impact Canadians in their daily lives. We are a well-respected organization and I feel a sense of pride when I see our logo displayed or catch one of our television commercials, radio spots or print ads. Our brand is everywhere and as an organization, we celebrate so many different cultures which are reflective of our diverse country.