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Q&A with Rhonda Power, SVP, Global Enterprise Management Group
Part One

Don Curren July 18, 2019

Q: The first question is can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you did before you came to Cambridge?

A: I’m the ‘token’ East Coaster here – I hail from Nova Scotia originally. After university, prior to beginning my career, I lived in Japan for a few years, teaching English to mostly new college graduates embarking in a career in the financial services sector. As an example, some students worked for Tokyo Forex and the Bank of Japan, and I started to become interested in this idea of international business, foreign exchange and payments.

I then sought out opportunities in the industry and landed in Toronto – during my entire career in the cross-border payment and FX space, I’ve always had client-facing roles with increasing levels of responsibility to the business. As a dealer, I managed both Canadian and US corporate clients, and ultimately led the Canadian dealing desk at a different company, before joining Cambridge about six years ago.

Q: It’s kind of an interesting way of getting into the sector.

A: Yes. Am I allowed to say, “I fell into it”?

Q: Yes, absolutely. Just briefly, can you tell us a little bit about your outside interests? What do you do when you’re not here?

A: I am very lucky to lead a pretty full and fun life. We have two teenagers, one of whom will be off to university in September, and the other is new to high school and balancing sports and studies. As a family, we love to travel. We tend to seek out things off the traditional, beaten path. Obviously, we spend a lot of time back on the East Coast and in Japan, and also look for opportunities to travel to new places, with family and friends.

I am also a board member of a local charity that is about to embark on a national journey. Essentially, we bring women in transition together at conferences that inspire confidence, foster friendships and teach life skills as they move from adversity to possibility.

Q: That’s really important, because that’s where people really need a helping hand.

A: Agreed fully. It’s a very worthwhile cause that reaches about 150 women in Toronto each year, and we are expanding this outreach to other Canadian cities – our goal is ‘1000 women in 2025’.

Q: What initially attracted you to Cambridge?

A: What a great question. Cambridge has such a great story to tell and I was compelled by their growth strategy, integration and service offerings as well as their ability to resonate in so many key vertical markets. Five years ago, Cambridge was already a growing concern in our industry and attracting a lot of key talent. I was intrigued and wanted to become part of the story.

As a result, I moved to Cambridge to have an opportunity to contribute and help strategize about how to continue the trajectory. Cambridge was ultimately purchased by Fleetcor in August 2017, and I continue to be motivated by the progression of our global organization.

Q: How would you describe the corporate culture Cambridge?

A: What I have always loved about Cambridge is the idea of effectively leveraging a boutique, or bespoke solution, on a global scale. We are truly an international business that works collaboratively with each of our regional offices, for the benefit of our international client base and their downstream relationships.

I think all of us take pride in the fact that we are entrepreneurial by nature, and so leveraging the world clock and the expertise of our colleagues in different time zones is an extension of our offering.  Our clients and key partners tell us that we add material value through their entire payment process – this is very appealing as we continue to be determined in our approach to differentiate our Cambridge solution within a competitive space.

Q: How would you describe your responsibilities?

A: My role has changed since I arrived here, and it continues to evolve, which is very motivating. Originally my responsibilities were to lead a team of professionals that supported the online platform, essentially assisting the business and clients with training, troubleshooting and responding to payment related queries. The ultimate (now realized) goal is to leverage the team’s FX and integrated payment expertise to form a Key Account Management and Service model for our key partnerships, within our strategic Enterprise vertical markets.

My responsibilities include leading the Global Enterprise Management team, a growing and dynamic group of people who are engaged with both internal and external stakeholders throughout the entire sales and integration process. We then shift our focus to Account Management, revenue generation and retention.  We are closely aligned with the Online Payment Solution strategy for the global business and seek to ultimately expand our integrated technology and service model throughout our business lines.

Additionally, I work closely with our regional department heads and the leadership team to ensure that together, we are aligned on all priorities, including leveraging revenue and cost containment opportunities, increasing adoptability in our ever increasing direct, in-country payment rails and other business goals.

Q: I think you’ve already covered this off pretty effectively, but how would you describe the role of the Enterprise Management Group?

A: We work collaboratively, with the business globally, and we are responsible for seeking out synergies, efficiencies and opportunities with our key partnerships. We sit within a unique place in the business because our daily work is intertwined with all the divisions and departments here at head office, and at our global offices as well. We have significant core business currently based in North America and the UK and continue to build upon partnership opportunities in our APAC region.

Ultimately, our mandate is to deliver payments as expected, so working together ensures that the ‘follow the sun’ service model works.

Q: Why is the 24/7 model so important?

A: In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s become increasingly critical to ensure our systems, and therefore our service, be available when markets are open.

While North America may be closed, APAC and the UK are open for business, so covering those time zones is a must.  Having global reach is not a marketing slogan, but rather an actual methodology that is embedded into our processes.  Together with our partners, we’re able to deliver through different modalities and land payments in local destinations in local times – often faster than traditional wires sent via SWIFT. From a ‘post-release’ perspective, this means that often for the first time, our clients can leverage various time zones to gain efficiencies and also to strengthen downstream relationships.

Lastly, if any anticipated issues arise, our clients know that there will be someone to help resolve it in a timely fashion.

‘On Time Delivery’ is imperative; full stop. In specialized payment verticals such as Payroll, there is inherent time sensitivity – any late payments trigger an immediate escalation protocol in order to quickly resolve the issue. Remember, payroll may be sent to any of the 150+ currencies we offer – so it’s not only established Major currencies, but also including emerging market, minor and exotic currencies as well. This dogged approach to delivering payments and resolving any issues has resonated in the payment space – Cambridge is proud to recently be named the 2019 Winner of the International Payroll Payments Provider of the Year at the Global Payroll Awards!

Q: Do you think Cambridge is ahead of the curve here? Did we tap into the potential of globalization before competitors and even other elements of financial services?

A: In my mind, we are definitely ahead of the curve and a leader in our field – that said, we will not rest on previous achievements or accolades. Our industry is incredibly competitive and we will continue to seek ways to differentiate ourselves from the global pack. Our growth over the last five years is enviable and we are dedicated to continuing to enhance our offerings to add value to our client base as well as profitability to our shareholders.

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