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Shiri Schneider

Data-driven Decisions: Shiri Schneider’s Vision for Global Payment Infrastructure

Innovation is a cornerstone of success for Shiri Schneider—an inspiration who stands out as a guiding light of leadership and expertise in the Fintech landscape. With over 18 years of experience in the hi-tech industry, she has honed her skills in building complex systems and leading global multidisciplinary teams. Her visionary approach and deep domain expertise have propelled her to the forefront of the sector.

As the Chief Technology Officer at PayU GPO, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a track record of success. With a focus on delivering cutting-edge SaaS Cloud platforms, on-premise solutions and large-scale big data solutions, she has demonstrated her ability to drive innovation and deliver results. Her leadership style is characterized by a passion for technology, a commitment to excellence and a dedication to mentoring and developing talent at all levels.

With a proven track record of building and leading large-scale organizations, she has earned a reputation as a trusted leader and strategic thinker. Her expertise in agile methodologies and global management has been instrumental in shaping the success of PayU GPO.

Join in the transformative power of innovation Shiri has created in Fintech!

Essence of Effective Leadership

Effective leadership is not something that is done by one person, it is a team effort,” states Shiri. With an awareness of her own leadership skill set’s grey areas, she emphasizes the importance of relying on a dependable team. This necessity becomes apparent, especially when physical presence in all managed countries isn’t feasible.

Shiri highlights the significance of extending leadership to heads of engineering teams across regions. These leaders possess a deep understanding of their respective teams and cultures, fostering a unique level of trust essential for effective leadership.

In her view, this distributed leadership approach ensures continuity and resonance with diverse teams. “Having people I can count on around me is crucial,” Shiri affirms, emphasizing the collaborative nature of successful leadership, where trust and delegation play pivotal roles in achieving common goals.

Empowering Engineers

At PayU GPO, we established a framework for engineers’ career development,” explains Shiri. The framework revolves around five core values—Mastery, Business Impact, Conscious Improvement (self & others), Ownership, and Teamwork. These values delineate the path to advancement emphasizing certain behaviors encapsulated within four circles of impact, guiding engineers to progress within the framework.

Shiri notes, “A promotion isn’t necessarily about how you move from one position to the next, it’s about continually improving and adopting the behavior required to succeed at the next level.” Quarterly assessments, conducted alongside mentors serve as checkpoints for engineers to set goals and navigate their career trajectory within the framework. This structured approach fosters a culture of continual growth and reflection encouraging engineers to envision their future selves.

By promoting ongoing discussion and self-assessment, the framework empowers engineers to identify areas for improvement and actively shape their professional journey. At its core, the framework serves as a compass for engineers, guiding them towards their aspirations while fostering a culture of continuous learning and development.

The Three Paths of Innovation

Shiri observes that innovation can manifest in various forms. She outlines three avenues—introducing significant new ideas into products, developing and implementing new technologies for existing challenges and fostering innovation through activities like hackathons. Shiri emphasizes, “Innovation should be a balanced effort of all three. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel every time, but you should be thinking about how the ways you are doing things are a little bit different to be truly innovative.”

Notably, she underscores that innovation isn’t solely the domain of product managers; engineering teams often birth the most impactful ideas. Equipped with a deep understanding of the business, product suite and technological prowess, these teams are well-positioned to drive innovation. Shiri highlights the importance of harnessing the collective expertise within the organization to bring novel concepts to fruition.

It is in the every day that we are seeing innovation,” she affirms, recognizing that innovation isn’t confined to grandiose gestures but flourishes through continuous refinement and adaptation in daily operations. By fostering a culture where creativity is encouraged at all levels, organizations can unlock the full potential of their teams and drive sustained innovation.

Turning Traffic Jams into Learning Journeys

I listen to a lot of podcasts,” shares Shiri. “Driving to work, I take advantage of that time to listen to podcasts. It’s a great way for me to hear how other CTOs work, methodologies and leadership skills which is always useful for me to hear.”

Embracing podcasts has transformed Shiri’s commute, turning a once-hated traffic ordeal into an opportunity for professional development. With a curated list of episodes, she maximizes her time, gaining insights from industry peers. This habit enriches her knowledge and keeps her abreast of emerging trends and best practices in the landscape of technology leadership.

Productivity Paradigms

Agility is already a commodity and we have been practicing this in PayU GPO for many years now,” asserts Shiri. Reflecting on the evolution of agility, she identifies productivity and rapid product delivery as its core components.

Recently, Shiri has been pondering avenues to further enhance productivity within her team. Through podcasts, she stumbled upon a concept known as developer experience (DevEx). “This puts the focus not on the output, but on the developer and their tools—how they work with no interruption, or how satisfied they are with the tools they have, current working environment etc.,” she explains.

Shifting the spotlight from mere output to the developer’s experience and toolset, DevEx presents a novel approach to enhancing team productivity. Shiri advocates that organizations should prioritize efforts to improve their engineering teams’ work environment and tooling, recognizing the profound impact on overall productivity and employee satisfaction.

Bridging Cultural Divides

One challenge is differences in cultures,” witnesses Shiri. “It’s important that you collaborate closely with local team leads and build a level of trust to understand the nuances.” Emphasizing the need for attentive collaboration, she advises against assuming omniscience and stresses the importance of addressing local teams’ specific needs.

Shiri acknowledges another challenge—the impossibility of omnipresence. “I have heads of engineering in each location and given them the independence to operate their teams on their own,” she explains. While advocating for decentralized decision-making, Shiri underscores her role in providing value when collective action is required.

Despite physical limitations, Shiri highlights the significance of personal presence, especially post-COVID. “When you are there, it is important to be present,” she affirms, citing the value of face-to-face interactions and candid conversations. This approach fosters stronger connections and deeper understanding across teams bridging geographical gaps and nurturing a cohesive, inclusive work environment.

Strength in Unity

An area we are very good at within PayU GPO is building local teams,” notes Shiri. “They are solid foundations that have built up great ways of working together.” Currently, the focus is on enhancing collaboration among global teams.

Efforts this year involve forming teams to explore new opportunities for innovation. For instance, a global knowledge base is being established—a repository of utilized components and services—to facilitate code and knowledge sharing across teams. While still evolving, these initiatives aim to foster better collaboration and leverage the collective expertise and products of global teams.

Shiri’s emphasis on building upon existing strengths underscores the organization’s commitment to continual improvement and cross-functional synergy, ultimately driving innovation and excellence across all levels of operation.

Regulatory Resilience

Shiri notes that fintech is a highly regulated sector and it differs between countries. “Regulation is by design, ingrained into our everyday work and it’s never an afterthought.” Operating globally, PayU GPO faces this challenge head-on.

However, Shiri emphasizes the proactive approach, “We have the necessary tools to scan codes and test for vulnerabilities in infrastructure, and regulation is factored into the design process early on in the development cycle.” By integrating regulatory considerations from the outset, the organization ensures compliance while maintaining agility in navigating the complex landscape of global fintech regulations.

Empowering Engineering Teams

Shiri highlights that in terms of leadership, the next focus area is on the developer experience (DevEX) to create more productive engineering teams. Agility is already a commodity and something that PayU GPO has been practicing for years now. “I have seen it evolve greatly and really what’s at the heart of it is productivity and delivering products on a quicker timescale.”

DevEx is the next phase for PayU GPO, and more organizations should be focusing their efforts here to support improving their engineering teams productivity. Shiri notes that “This puts the focus not on the output, but on the developer and their tools – how they work with no interruption, or how satisfied they are with the tools they have, current working environment etc.”

By prioritizing developer experience, PayU GPO remains poised to navigate the robust landscape of fintech, fostering innovation while upholding the highest standards of security and reliability in payment solutions worldwide.

Utilising Data to Drive Change

Shiri highlights that in terms of leadership, the next focus area is making greater use of data. As a key component within fintech, she underscores the untapped potential, “We have access to a lot of data that we can derive insights from.” Shiri advocates for enhancing this process to utilize insights for bolstering global payment infrastructure.

Additionally, she acknowledges the rapidly changing nature of the industry, necessitating continuous development in accepting new payment methods while prioritizing security. “With things like fraud on the rise, we play an important role in ensuring that safety is at the heart of how we continue providing the necessary payment methods across the globe,” she affirms.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Breaking Barriers in the fintech industry, Shiri notes, “I’ve always felt that I’ve had opportunities at work but, as a woman, sometimes we are the barrier to ourselves and we don’t believe that we can do the things we can do, like balancing managing a team and supporting a family etc.”

To do this, it absolutely requires support from those around but don’t put any boundaries on oneself. “If there is a goal that you want to reach, believe in yourself – you can do it!” Shiri’s words resonate with many women navigating the delicate balance of career and family responsibilities. She reflects on her journey, recalling the initial self-doubt she experienced when assuming her first managerial role while pregnant.

At a certain point, I said I don’t need to be great at everything, I am doing my best and that’s it,” she acknowledges, highlighting the importance of self-compassion and prioritization. Shiri emphasizes the significance of presence and quality over quantity, urging women to relinquish the pressure of perfection.

Women need to start giving themselves a break and not feeling the need to be the best at everything,” she asserts, advocating for a mindset shift towards self-acceptance and embracing imperfection as part of the journey towards success and fulfillment.