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FIS Payments - CAO Team


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: FIS, Jacksonville, FL
Company Description: FIS is a global leader in financial services technology, with a focus on retail and institutional banking, payments, asset and wealth management, risk and compliance, consulting and outsourcing solutions. Through the depth and breadth of our solutions portfolio, global capabilities and domain expertise, FIS serves more than 20,000 clients in over 130 countries.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Management Team of the Year – More Than 10 Employees

Nomination Title: CAO Team, FIS Payments

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated management team since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words): Text Redacted For Publication

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) team is a part of FIS Paymentsthe world’s preeminent FinTech firm. Headed by CAO and Head of International Payments Serena Smith, the CAO team is comprised of a risk mitigation team, a procurement team, a payments engagement team, a business performance management team and an international payments team. The women leaders reporting to Serena are Cindy Knowles (payments engagement) and Leah Middlebrook (international payments). As centralized support for a 15,000+ employee division, daily collaboration between the many departments in FIS Payments is essential.

This small team of 21 (15 are women) accomplishes the administrative functions of the division. Whether it is the risk team working with a department to understand compliance, the payments engagement team executive leading her millennial team to new milestones, or the international payments group educating international offices on Payments products, the key for this team is mentoring and leading through education. Their leadership and mentoring of teams across the globe has increased revenue engagements significantly and has been recognized with industry awards.

The risk mitigation office is responsible for keeping the FIS Payments division in compliance with the many regulatory obligations of the group. In 2016, the team completed 133 audits and assessments with a greater than 95% satisfactory rate and passed 97% of categories for risk management.

The procurement and vendor management team doubled vendor savings in 2016 was involved in key supplier negotiations, provided research on various projects and vendors, identified global card production research and passed audits with flying colors.

The payments engagement team, responsible for product branding, messaging and marketing, is focused on the external messaging and public awareness of FIS Payments. They supported/attended over 70 domestic and international tradeshows in 2016, craft divisional communications and news publications, run an award-winning thought leadership blog (, and created the company’s first Payments Conference, which was held in Q2 of 2017.

The business performance team is responsible for educating the executives with a monthly book comprised of over 150 pages that breaks down the business performance of our entire division. In the last year, the size of the book has increased over 250% with the addition of international, people office data, major initiatives and expanded payments engagement and security sections. They also added fraud, loyalty, chargebacks and PINless trend slides this year. Additionally, the team compiles data from our competitors, helping our leadership team better understand both our place in the market.

The international payments team is responsible for penetrating the international space and expanding our markets globally. In 2016, they developed and executed solution education sessions in India and Latin American regions, creating actual pipeline deals. They also created market strategies for India and Brazil, and started strategizing for marketing in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Middle East. They won international awards such as the Payments’ Pioneer Award and the Most International Webcast award for our company-wide global town hall live streamed from Chennai, India.

Last year alone, the team won 12 awards and will only continue to grow, influence and succeed!

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated management team (up to 125 words):

Serena Smith has a dual role as CAO and the first Head of International Payments for FIS Payments. She is highly devoted to connecting our payments operations across the globe.

Serena began her career in the financial industry working for a small credit union. As her skills grew, she tackled management roles at Bank One, Regulus and Corestates Bank, before joining FIS to spearhead development of remittance operations. From there, she joined FIS to oversee all aspects of transaction and remittance processing, including 10 national payment centers, product direction and marketing strategies. In her subsequent role as chief client officer, Serena received Payments Source’s Most Influential Women of the Year 2017.

Choose one (even if both apply): The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.