FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Kathy Kmiotek, Director of Channel Marketing at Fortis
Kathy is an influential marketing leader with years of distinguished performance in the media/publishing and insurance industries before joining the fintech industry. She learned about the nature of marketing in a complex, regulatory environment in her time at AIG. Prior to joining the fintech industry she enjoyed a six-year tenure at Inc. and Fast Company where she worked closely with financial services and fintech companies. Kathy’s experiences in those other industries gave her a taste into the fintech industry and enabled her to pivot into a position with TSYS, a Global Payments company.
Having a sponsor was particularly important for Kathy to launch her career in payments. She points to two women from TSYS – Lisa Ludolph and Gail Burgos – who helped to propel her fintech career forward. Lisa hired Kathy because of her deep marketing experience and background, though not coming from the payments industry. This gave Kathy the confidence to expand beyond her comfort levels. Gail saw Kathy’s leadership skills as she volunteered and led committees at PayTech Women (formerly Wnet) and within the TSYS/Global Payments Women’s Network. Gail eventually encouraged and nominated Kathy to serve as a board member for PayTech Women. Mentorship, hard work, and saying ‘yes’ to change have all led Kathy to where she is now as Director of Channel Marketing at Fortis, but importantly as an advocate for women and other underrepresented groups in fintech.
Fortis is a leader in embedded payments for software providers, processing billions of dollars annually by delivering comprehensive payment solutions and commerce enablement to software partners and developers. The company’s mission is to forge a holistic commerce experience, guiding businesses to reach uncharted growth and scale. Fortis moves commerce closer to invisible with a proprietary platform that supports and strengthens the commerce and payments capabilities of software partners. Fortis’ core values of Team First, Positive Attitude, and Get it Done encompass the company’s culture.
In her role at Fortis, Kathy consistently challenges herself by maintaining a curious disposition and asking probing questions. She has honed the ability to adapt to a variety of situations, recognizing the diverse roles she must assume to best serve her career and her company. She employs the versatility of thinking from different perspectives – marketing, operations, product, legal, or strategy – depending on the needs of a given project or problem to solve. Familiarizing herself with other business functions also enables Kathy to be a stronger team player.
Throughout her career, Kathy has been a builder and a connector. As a leader in marketing transformation and strategy, Kathy leverages her strengths to create structure and scalability. Her background in subscription and partner marketing provided her with the tools to understand the value of P&L ownership and of setting expectations to drive revenue. Bringing this expertise to Fortis, Kathy has created a best-in-class, data driven approach to marketing throughout her career.
Kathy proudly hails from New York and is a wife and mother of two boys. She is an alumna of Hunter College - CUNY for her undergraduate studies and New York University for her graduate M.S. in Integrated Marketing.
More on Kathy
Where you currently live: Setauket, NY
Family at home: Husband, 2 boys and 2 fur boys
Hometown: South Richmond Hill (Queens), NY
What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?
Something I have written for an article and always say are in the following bullets:
Define the direction you want to go in. It puts you in control vs. forfeiting control to someone else. They may not want (or understand) what you want.
Reject “busy-ness” for the sake of busyness. Take the time to pause and think through a project and who it serves. While you are at it, think about your goals, your path and your growth (it is not selfish!).
Asking if a job is good for your emotional and physical well-being. Be honest: burnout is real and without intentional work, burn-out is far more likely.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
Nothing stays the same forever and change is guaranteed. A large lesson I have also learned is to have patience and to not react in a knee-jerk fashion to change.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am not a fan of work/life balance as the concept of “having it all”. We can’t have it all and balance it all at any given time. There is give and take that happens in our life and the elements of life that make up our whole self. My life consists of work, family, friends, and passions. There are percentages of my day that go into them all but vary day by day. I try to be intentional about not being consumed and losing myself in just one thing by making time for self-care in the morning or turning off my notifications when on PTO.
4:45 am: Wake up
5:15 am: Head to gym for a workout
6:30 am - 8:30 am: Time with kids before they go to school – breakfast, lunch making, checking in on what their day will look like. Getting ready for my day ahead
8:30 am: Start my work day
3:30 pm: Afternoon coffee to recharge and catch up with husband for a few minutes
6:00 pm: Try to end my workday and have dinner – may be earlier sometimes if mom duty kicks in for sports practice or games or later if work needs attention
8:00 pm: Social media catch up, TV, movie or other with family - downtime
10:30 pm/11pm: Bedtime