Continuing our focus on speaking with Thought Leaders, today, we are delighted to travel down memory lane with Amit Sharma, Head of Project Delivery & Logistics at PFS (a company of EML). The FinTech giant has been instrumental in ensuring that both vulnerable and clinically vulnerable people in the UK have had access to simple-to-use Mastercard prepaid Contactless payment solutions via the NHS and the Royal Voluntary Service – FinTech Thought Leadership with Amit Sharma of PFS (a company of EML).
Amit, like so many of us, you have been working from home these past few months doing your part to ensure non-cash and coin payment alternatives have been accessible to all.
Can you explain how you and your team have evolved within your working environments in recent times and what are you most proud of?
The greatest source of pride is around the seamless transition that the team and the business have made as a whole, in moving to a remote working environment. As humans, we crave interaction and it is a cliché that “people work with people – not businesses” and remote working has made that social connection and personal touch more distant and intangible. But the teams have more than made up for it with greater engagement online. We are physically farther apart but mentally closer working with our clients, all striving to survive and thrive amid this global pandemic. Another source of joy has been the enthusiasm that the team has shown in wholeheartedly jumping in to aid charitable and social causes and schemes such as the NHS volunteer scheme, school meals programmes and emergency council programmes for the vulnerable. The mantra has been that working on delivering these programmes is a wonderful opportunity to make a tangible difference.
- Can you please share with our community what you recall about the most memorable day in your career so far?
There have been several special moments across the last 20 or so working years, but there was one particularly memorable day that stands out when I first started working in the industry in my first role within prepaid in London. I had moved back to the UK a couple of years earlier and was then moving from Cambridge to London to take up this new role. I had only been in the position for a couple of weeks when the company informed me that I was being made a permanent employee – 5 months before my probation review was due to be assessed.
- What made the experience so special?
Other than the enhanced financial and professional benefits that came with the end of probation, it was the unexpectedness of the moment that created elation and pride. It’s that same enthusiasm I feel today about our important place within the global payments ecosystem. That moment drives me to recognise the achievements, large and small, of colleagues who move mountains in short periods. What I love about PFS and EML is that recognising and appreciating colleagues, their achievements and expertise, in no way diminishes your own.
- Would you mind highlighting some of your career highlights?
From completing a Masters in the UK to moving to Dubai to work as a Marketing & Logistics Manager for an international fashion brand in my first role after University to heading up the projects team at PFS, the journey has certainly had a few highlights. In total, I spent 5 years working in the Middle East across a host of different areas. I moved back to the UK to work with a university partner and a technology-driven accountancy firm in Cambridge.
- What motivates you?
Knowledge. I am driven by a need to know and passionate about being knowledgeable. Knowledge and the need to have it drives me and motivates me to be the very best version of myself.
- How do you feel about the FinTech industry?
The FinTech industry is a burgeoning beast that is only set to grow. Technology is moving at the speed of light (if not faster) and regulation is catching up too. I am delighted to see several top universities now offering courses and full-time Degree programmes in FinTech innovation. Blockchain, Crypto, Mobile Payments, AI and wherever else FinTech takes us. This industry is booming.
- What do you love about PFS?
PFS has provided me with the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people and the sharpest minds in our industry. Every day provides a positive learning experience and the company moves forward together as a family, now with our new EML family. The UK is driving FinTech around the world and PFS and EML are driving FinTech in the UK and beyond. So, the success, the innovation, the being ahead of the curve, all make us great, but what makes it truly magnificent are the people – one team.
- Do you have a FinTech-related crystal ball?
I believe the challenger banks are set to be hit with their own wave of challengers as the world heads towards FinTech overdrive. Financial technology today is paced by necessary regulation and has seen the emergence of so many niche providers who can undertake and deliver on a particular aspect far better than what traditional providers did.
- What international business leader/influencer do you admire?
There is a genuine dearth of strong leadership across the globe – be it in business or politics. Steve Jobs and his passion was possibly the most positive influence. A business leader I follow closely at this time is Sundar Pichai, CEO at Alphabet.
- Why this person?
It would primarily be down to empathy. Many leaders talk about a business being a family, but second guess everyone and everything. Google is one of the top companies in the world for having an empathy-driven culture which stems from the top.
- What characteristics do they possess that you see mirrored in yourself?
It is difficult to say that I find these mirrored in myself. It would be a desire to cultivate many of their traits, but empathy brings loyalty, engagement, bonding and a happier, more creative workplace. I try and continue to develop my ability to listen and respond with empathy and hope that it shows in my team. But empathy is hard and severely tested under pressure and like any other skill, you need to work at it to ensure you create enough memorable moments for others, and yourself.
- Who were your heroes growing up?
The heroes I grew up with were animated characters on the small screen or icons from the world of sport, especially football. But the only true real-life hero that I still worship to this day would be my father. He was honest and committed and showed immense passion in both his personal and professional life from the outset and continues to do so today. He taught me that no matter what the circumstances, I am obligated to do the very best that I can at whatever I do and that is what I strive for every day.
To join Amit’s team as a new Project Manager at the FinTech, you can visit the multi-country careers page at https://prepaidfinancialservices.com/en/careers