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  • Yitz Mendlowitz

Welcome to PAAY’s New Advisors - The future of payments with the guidance from those who’ve seen it

Leaning into PAAYs momentum at the start of this year, I am excited to kick off the first week of March by welcoming four industry veterans as our newest advisors. These individuals not only have decades of experience but also have all made significant contributions to the development of the industry as we know it today.


Our advisors are former President/CEO of the TSYS Merchant Solutions Division, Mike Peters; former General Manager at PCI, Stephen Orfei; Lesley Gold, CEO at SutherlandGold; and former SVP Venture and Business Development at First Data, Pete Donat.


I have always valued working with people from different backgrounds and experiences than me. I am very grateful to Mike, Stephen, Lesley, and Pete for offering their support and cementing their confidence in PAAY’s mission to make payments secure anywhere. For those who don’t know them, I’ll provide an introduction.


As the former President/CEO of the TSYS Merchant Solutions Division, and a 38-year payments industry veteran, Mike Peters has guided the trajectory of the payments industry by advocating for and implementing the technologies that laid the foundation for eCommerce. In this role, he was directly responsible for the full P&L management portfolio of the TSYS merchant business. He also worked in SVP roles at both TransFirst and Chase.


The two of us come from very different perspectives and backgrounds and he has told me that as a payments executive, he does not see his role as the technical expert. Rather he is the old school guy in the room who tells it like it is and knows how to identify opportunities for growth. His deep understanding of what merchants need and want will help inform our product team, and help the sales team capture the merchant segments that can reap the greatest benefit. This will create tremendous value for PAAY and I am heartened by his vote of confidence in what PAAY is doing and his commitment to advocating for us.


Stephen Orfei has a long standing professional history with our very own CTO and CPO at PAAY, Adam Gluck. At a time of great change in the payments industry, the two worked together at MasterCard on new products to usher payments into the online world, including working with the New York MTA to develop the secure ‘tap and pay’ system that we all know and use today. I can see that Adam and Stephen are excited to collaborate again, and I myself look forward to working with Stephen. Stephen not only comes from a deep background of innovation but, as the former General Manager of PCI, he has helped pave the way for developing payments industry standards and regulations that keep transactions safe and efficient. In his role as general manager at PCI, he set the tone for how the private sector could self-regulate and even testified before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee to provide his recommendations on how to create a future of secure payments in the United States.


I put great value in his ability to ask the right questions and pose the right concerns as we make important decisions about the future of our company. Stephen was also an integral part of bringing about our partnership with Bluefin. As an advisor to Bluefin, Stephen helped us to work with their team to create an unprecedented solution set that eliminates the threat of hackers and online fraud while providing regulatory compliance. The PAAY and Bluefin solution secures online payments in real-time, at the point of interaction on the web. PAAY’s EMV 3DS provides strong consumer authentication at the front door, while Bluefin encrypts & tokenizes the payment data. Our partnership empowers merchants to stay ahead of the curve, and conduct business with confidence knowing their data is secure and their bottom line isn’t suffering because of unnecessary expenses related to online fraud. I expect Stephen’s multifaceted perspective to both advance our company and our Bluefin partnership.


Lesley Gold is CEO and founder of SutherlandGold, a Silicon Valley and New York based integrated communications agency. Lesley has always loved a good story and grew that into a career, where she has held leadership roles at Blanc & Otus, CNN, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Lesley has brought 100s of brands, companies, and products to life through her strategy, story, leadership positioning, and messaging. She has a track record of putting great brands on the map, years ago with Zoom, and more recently with Brex. She has elevated beloved brands and developed communications strategies for TiVo, Sony PlayStation, Bill.com, and countless others. When I first met Lesley through Samantha Martin, our Director of Marketing, we found an instant synergy. It wasn’t very long before we hired SutherlandGold to help build our communication and brand strategy. Lesley and her team worked with us to develop a blueprint to imagine, influence, and inspire through PAAY.


As a fellow founder, I know Lesley understands the passion and dedication I have for my product and growing organization. She is a true force in the communications industry and I’m excited to take extraordinary strides in the payments space with her by my side. I’m honored to have Lesley join our advisory board. Not to mention, she promised to introduce me to her neighbors who are also founders of a well-known technology organization.


And finally, I have Pete Donat, also a MasterCard alumnus, to thank for my introduction to Adam. The two worked together in adjacent departments at MasterCard. Pete subsequently led Enterprise Strategy & Planning at Visa and was SVP of Ventures and Business Development at First Data. Like Mike and Stephen, he’s a leading figure in the payments space and a sought-after consultant and speaker. Currently, he’s a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group and leading Needham & Company’s FinTech Investment Banking practice. He has emphasized to me that he hopes to help put his stamp on PAAY not only by helping to push forward our business development and growth, but also by advising on the expansion of our team. I am aligned with his belief in the utmost importance of finding the right team members to bring the best expertise and perspective to the decision-making table. For that reason, I am humbled to have his confidence and his input in building PAAY’s future.


I look forward to working with these seasoned individuals who are committing to supporting PAAY’s growth and success. Welcoming them as advisors could not come at a more exciting time for us as we continue to see commerce shift online faster than ever before. PAAY is at a critical moment in its company history and I anticipate 2021 will be one of great customer growth as we continue to bring our solution to more merchants It will be my pleasure to work with Mike, Stephen, Lesley, and Pete to continue to build solutions that secure online payments and give merchants choice and control of their destiny.

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