Michelle Beyo: Innovating Financial Industry with Diversity

Most Powerful Women in Business 2023

My goal is to help the future of payments come to life. This is the statement of Michelle Beyo, Founder of FinAvator, a consulting firm with expertise in Payments, Prepaid, Loyalty and Blockchain focused on Digital Marketing, Product Strategy and Sales Acceleration for Startups, FinTech’s and Enterprises. She is a strategic advisor to Uulala, a California based FinTech company focused on financial inclusion; she is a strong supporter of entrepreneurs and women as a SheEO activator; a Women in Payments’ mentor and a Money 20/20 US 2019 Rise Up Academy Member. Michelle is also a wife, mother of two and just competed in her first sprint triathlon.

Michelle’s journey to leadership included experiencing struggles, success and failures with each phase teaching her something new and valuable. Her leadership skills come from many different experiences: Her resilience and confidence come from watching her parents run their own businesses. Michelle’s strong commitment to a project and teamwork come from playing ten years of rep soccer and her ability to plan ahead and believe in herself come from lessons learnt living in Australia on her own as a young adult (all invaluable lessons to the future entrepreneur!).

Michelle started her first career in Telecom while still in high school she worked to buy her first car, she spent her nights and weekends helping a Telus franchisee grow their team and locations. She soon fell in love with the excitement of learning new technologies and having the opportunity to be at the forefront of emerging digital mobile phones over her six years. She then moved to the Loyalty sector, where she had the pleasure of working for her first female leader and lifelong mentor Kelly Lee Smith. She learnt so much from her positive attitude and ability to drive results as the only female in the boardroom. Michelle adds “She inspired me in many ways, as I led my first team and managed multiple online shopping malls for major airlines such as United, Delta and Lufthansa” She then gained key leadership and marketing skills in her following Director role focused on credit card loyalty acceleration of Aeroplan for major Canadian banks CIBC and TD as she helped retailers, restaurants and spas increase consumer spend.

After eight years in Loyalty, she made the move into the payments industry and took on the challenging Senior Director role of managing three departments at the world’s largest prepaid provider InComm. She was extremely fortunate to have an inspiring, balanced and diverse executive team led by an incredible GM, Felipe Papaleo. Felipe shared “Michelle is a driven and committed leader, with innovation in her DNA. She is always eager to explore new ways to enhance sales while ensuring a consumer-centric approach. She was responsible for creating, designing and implementing some of InComm’s main initiatives during her three year tenure and did so with determination and poise. Innovation and leadership are at her core, and so is her passion for it!”

Michelle’s desire for continuously learning and improving led her to apply and attend Ivey Business School inaugural “Mastering FinTech Program” in late 2017. This allowed her to quickly grasp emerging digital currencies, blockchain technology and exciting FinTech’s that were starting to change the world of payments while also connecting her to senior bank executives and industry innovators. It was soon after this insightful program that Michelle jumped into the blockchain sector in a new role on another balanced executive team for a passionate CEO, Bruce Silcoff. Her new role as a Chief Client Officer at Shyft Network, a Blockchain startup focused on building the world’s first modern, secure, multi-stakeholder trust network allowed her to take a deep dive into consent frameworks while working towards proof of concepts and engaging strategic partnerships.

After spending a year at a startup Michelle realized it was time to venture out on her own by launching FinAvator, a FinTech advisory firm to help enterprise and startup companies add an innovative twist to their business. She is able to share her unique multi-industry knowledge on digital payments, prepaid innovation, loyalty incentives, blockchain ecosystem and her ability to combine corporate expertise with startup agility. FinAvator works closely with each client to understand their challenges and create a plan to drive growth through customer centric products, digital marketing and strategic partnerships.

On leadership Michelle asserts “A true leader focuses on long term vision and finds the time to help colleagues strive towards their potential.” Throughout her career Michelle has built strong rapport with a group of diverse mentors that have inspired her to take risks and continue to grow as a leader. She believes ’It is important in business and life to forge genuine relationships, help each other and challenge the status quo”

Michelle enjoyed working on diverse and balanced executive teams as she witnessed the unique innovative ideas and team work that it creates. She considers herself lucky to have been a part of many diverse management teams and has the goal of building FinAvator with the same vision.

According to Michelle, the first step to understanding your competition is deep industry research and customer discovery followed by finding ways to differentiate. Then building clear goals for your team, marketing the benefits of your company, connecting with your community as well as  partnering with some competitors to leverage each other.

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