Taking the High Road With GPS
“I approach my leadership in the same way a conductor works with an orchestra to shape an ensemble, using the right musicians, leading them and keeping them on track,” says Joanne Dewar, CEO of Global Processing Services (GPS). GPS is an award-winning payments technology provider that has enabled many high-proﬁle ﬁntech innovators. Dewar, an empathetic leader with a rock-solid vision, has led GPS’ transformation from bootstrapped startup to private equity-backed scale-up that continues to extend its reach globally. Besides possessing a strong ability to optimise the performance of a diverse team, she is also a proud mother who seeks to balance the responsibilities of being CEO with spending quality time with her three children.
Destroy Your Own Business Theory
“Imposter Syndrome is a huge issue for many people in high-level positions. It is something that I certainly struggled with when I first became CEO,” says Dewar. To combat Imposter Syndrome, she suggests Jack Welch’s ‘Destroy Your Own Business Theory’ – that one should consider how the competition would respond to a situation and do that thing yourself. Dewar had a fear of public speaking. She overcame it by focusing on the hundreds of other people who could learn something from her, instead of the one she thought could not. “To overcome a fear of failure, instead of focusing on the fear you need to behave as though you already are the leader you want to be,” she advises.
Financial Empowerment for Everyone
Dewar always had the vision to change the world for the better. Even as a teenager, she volunteered to use her skills in the charity sector. And the COVID-19 crisis created the opportunity for GPS to solve dramatic new problems. For example, within just 10 days of lockdown, her team worked with GPS customer Starling Bank to launch its ‘Connected Card’. This card can be used by a trusted person to buy essential items for those in self-isolation, bypassing bank transfers. “In 2019, 50% of all transactions were still cash, but this will have changed dramatically in the past three months, with even the corner shop now electing to accept contactless card payments for small value transactions,” says Dewar. She looks forward to enabling financial empowerment for everyone.
GPS has brought profound innovations in the issuer-processor space, leading to the fintech boom across the UK and Europe. GPS has recently expanded into APAC, opening offices in both Singapore and Australia. To mark the expansion, the company was announced as one of the top ten highlights for fintech in the region to over 60,000 delegates, at last year’s Singapore Fintech Festival. “For GPS specifically, there’s increasing recognition from traditional banks that our platform is not exclusively for startups, and that we can partner with an organisation of any size. With GPS’s agility to evolve with the payments landscape, there will be no limit to what we can achieve, both for ourselves and our customers.”
Advice to budding entrepreneurs
Today’s investors are more selective about who they partner with even though the market is ripe with opportunities. “Fintechs must have a very strong, clear, and unique proposition and a clear path to profitability in order to stand out and convince investors to dig deep into their pockets,” advises Dewar. Also, it is crucial to choose partners wisely. “What is game-changing right now will be ubiquitous in a year and legacy in three years. Therefore, it’s important you don’t get locked in with a partner that isn’t able to support a continued journey, ” she adds.