As the direction of payments, commerce and retail are all seeing a major shift, it’s important to still keep in mind the core tenants of business and what it means to innovate.
Just before PYMNTS’ Innovation Project series was launched in 2013, a dear friend of the payment community, Mike P. Duffy of Chase Paymentech, passed away. To help honor his spirit of curiosity, innovation, genuiness and teamwork, we formed the Mike P. Duffy Leadership Award. Each year at our annual Innovation Project event, we honor one individual that exemplifies the very spirit of Mike and what he stood for: purity of heart, entrepreneurship and friendship.
At this year’s 2017 Innovation Project, PYMNTS bestowed the honor of the Mike P. Duffy Leadership Award on Yvette Bohanan, who currently serves as the global finance head of revenue platforms at Google.
Our own Karen Webster sat down with Bohanan to discuss Mike Duffy and how his lessons early in her career helped to shape the professional she is today.
In the mid-’90s, just before the explosion of the internet, Bohanan formed a company with a few colleagues called Chainlinks to help develop a payment server based on personal computer technology to give merchants control of who they decided to process payments with. It wasn’t until Bohanan got into the payments space and started hearing from retailers about Paymentech that she was introduced to Mike Duffy, who helped really get the ball rolling for her company.
Bohanan said, “Mike basically took a gamble on us, which was a huge deal at the time, and gave us the specs to integrate into Paymentech and build our second product integration. To trust us and to allow us to innovate basically made all the difference in the world to our company. He did that when no one else would, and because he did it, we could grow that business and expand our own network.”
This act of trust had a profound impact on Bohanan as it would help guide her throughout the rest of her career, which eventually led her to Google. She said, “Every other interaction I’ve had in my career where I’ve worked with Paymentech, whether it was a small company or at an established organization like Amazon or with Google, it’s his direction and vision throughout the years that has helped us create strong partnerships and be innovative.”
In regard to leadership style influence, Duffy’s way of really understanding a situation by getting to the root of it was what helped shape his organizations. Bohanan commented on this by saying, “I think he really did his best to understand where people were coming from and the reasons behind what they were doing before he made those decisions. What’s really interesting about his leadership is his leadership and style permeated the organization in a way that you don’t often see.”
What stuck with Bohanan in particular throughout her career was the way in which Duffy led by example in sort of a “be the change you want to see in the world” type of way. She said, “Rather than focusing in on the competition side of an issue first, Mike created a company that was willing to look for opportunities to cooperate first and then figure out what can be accomplished. From those early days with Paymentech all the way through the different roles I’ve had, that partnership of saying ‘How do we work together to solve this?’ or ‘How do we do the right thing for the customer?’ always stuck with me.”