Editor’s Note: In recognition of Women’s History Month, First Data Today is profiling several prominent women in payments. Today, meet Linda Rossetti, founder and president of ISO and First Data partner Bluestone Payments.
As founder and president of Bluestone Payments, a niche focused Independent Sales Organization (ISO), Linda Rossetti is a recognized payments pioneer. Linda is a trusted advisor, continually sought by members of the investment community to translate complex trends that enhance decision-making and create profitable business opportunities.
She is able to pair large corporate and small business ownership experience with her vast payments network to establish relationships, generate revenue and increase profitability. Linda is highly successful in developing and executing innovative sales marketing strategies that differentiate brand and expand market share.
Currently, Linda serves as president of the women in payments group, W.net, and has been instrumental in establishing Local Area Networking Circles (LINC) in major U.S cities. She is passionate about attracting women into the payments industry and is a leader and innovator in the industry.
Recently, she answered a few questions for First Data Today.
Q: As a leader in the payments industry, how have you seen the industry change and emerge over time?
LR: In my 39 years working in the payments industry, I have seen great change. The industry has transitioned from merchants depositing paper credit card receipts at their bank and calling a voice authorization center for approval to electronic data capture, plus the changing ecosystem of technology platforms shifting to Point-of-Sale (POS), gift card, accounting, e-commerce and other vendor choices. Continued consolidation at the card brand, processor and bank levels, combined with heightened Payment Card Industry (PCI) security requirements, created an elevated cost structure for POS vendors and a new market for mobile technology. We are now navigating a payments technology revolution. One of the biggest challenges we currently face in this industry is managing the migration to Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) chip cards, as most merchants will need assistance to implement the heightened compliance requirements that accompany EMV acceptance. Security and fraud protection are also at the forefront, as is the evolving mobile wallet technology. To best support merchants in this shifting paradigm, we must transition from sales representatives to business consultants. We serve our clients as a trusted partner. They rely on us for expertise and support.
Q: Can you tell our readers about the organization you lead, W.Net, an organization dedicated to women in the payments industry?
LR: Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions (W.net) is the premier professional organization for women in payments, providing personal enrichment no matter what stage members are in their careers. The organization provides world-class national and regional programming, fosters networking and promotes mentoring to help members achieve greater personal success, influence and professional parity. Serving more than 1,000 women in payments annually, W.net is positioned for explosive growth through via new corporate memberships. Hundreds of women from member corporations like First Data can now take advantage of all the benefits W.net has to offer. Local Interest Networking Circles (LINCs) or chapters are located around the country in major metropolitan areas, and our first international event took place in London last fall. W.net is a not-for-profit association, celebrating its 10th anniversary serving women in payments this year.
Q: As we are in the midst of celebrating Women's History Month, what does it mean to you?
LR: Women’s History Month honorees lead by example and learn from their experiences. The founders of W.net made history by starting an organization to propel women in payments to a higher level both personally and professionally by sharing their collective connections and know-how. I am honored to carry the W.net message forward as this year’s president, to lead by example and share my experiences like my historical counterparts. Women make history each and every day all over the world. My goal is to leave a legacy that enables women to thrive in the payments industry.
Q: Who were some of your mentors when you entered the business? What were some of the most valuable lessons they taught you?
LR: I did not have a specific mentor, but many people influenced me and taught the value of having a strong work ethic early in my career. These lessons stayed with me, and I have shared them with many women I have mentored, including my own daughter. Leadership skills are learned throughout your lifetime and can be demonstrated at any work level. I believe women in all industries need to overcome internal obstacles and push themselves to be recognized as leaders. I am very involved in developing W.net’s local chapters, or LINCs, because I believe that each and every woman needs a network nearby to rely on for support. Building relationships assists women to overcome uncomfortable business issues and situations, encourages them to be their own advocate and helps them build their careers. LINCs help women learn and to form a good network of both formal and informal mentors. My passion with W.net over the years has been launching LINCS nationwide and beyond. This stems from my desire to mentor the next generation of women in payments.
Q: You have clearly excelled in sales and building your own business, what advice would you offer to young women as they enter the workplace?
LR: Young women need to build a network in their own companies, as well as through organizations like W.net. Know that there are so many women willing to help you along the way. Think about how to maximize your potential and positon yourself for greater career and personal success. The definition of personal success means something different to everyone, whether in private or business life. It is critical for young women to strike a balance between work and home, while identifying and then reaching goals. And don’t forget, have a strong passion for the payments industry and love what you do.