Paving the Way: Inspiring Women in Payments – A Q&A featuring Susanne Faustini


Building meaningful relationships with her customers is one of Susanne Faustini’s proudest accomplishments. And, as Susanne explains, relationship-building through networking is foundational to success, particularly for women who are interested in pursuing a career in payments or technology. In this edition of our blog, Susanne credits her longevity at Mastercard to those important relationships and to the various opportunities and programs for women that her company offers to ensure her success.

How long have you been at Mastercard and what is your role?

Susanne Faustini: I started at Mastercard as a Product Manager for the Site Data Protection (SDP) Program over 17 years ago. New to the payments industry, my role was to help acquiring banks manage the risk of merchants storing Mastercard account data.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve never left! I am currently responsible for managing Mastercard Cybersecurity Standards in support of the PCI Security Standards and promoting the adoption of, and compliance with, PCI through the SDP Program and informational initiatives such as the Mastercard PCI 360 Education Program.

How did you get started in the payments industry? What led you to that career choice?

Susanne Faustini: I attended the Hagan School of Business in New Rochelle, New York during the time the Internet emerged, so I studied a lot about electronic commerce. The thought of paying for products online was new to me. It seemed convenient and easy. I wanted to learn more.

A few years after graduate school, I had the opportunity to join Mastercard analyzing e-commerce transactions and ensuring online merchants were complying with Mastercard’s security requirements to protect against an account data compromise.

It took about six months to a year to learn how payments work, what industry acronyms meant, but it wasn’t until I began working on a project with the PCI Security Standards Council that I really understood the challenges organizations were facing every day in securing their cardholder data to stop criminals seeking to steal their payment card data.

What is your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?

Susanne Faustini: My proudest accomplishment has been building meaningful relationships with acquiring customers all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to have been in a customer-facing role throughout my entire career at Mastercard, which has helped me establish personal and long-term relationships in the payments industry. I’ve learned that it’s important to first build a strong foundation of partnership and trust. From there, it’s all about regular engagement and listening to feedback to help support and manage their needs, set expectations, and prioritize their success as well as the success of their customers.

Were you given any advice during your career that has stuck with you? As a result, do you have a personal mantra or a famous quote that you live by?

Susanne Faustini: The advice given to me by one of my professors in the MBA Program was choose “quality over quantity” when considering just about anything in life, whether a career, a technology, or even buying a car. Having something valuable in life that meets higher standards is significantly far more important to me than having a lot more of something, which at times can be overwhelming, stressful, or even more expensive to maintain.

What do you see as the future for women in technology roles/payments industry?

Susanne Faustini: I think more and more women will have an impact in the payments industry since technology is the future and organizations will not be able to succeed without it.

It already affects almost every aspect of our lives from transportation to safety to healthcare, not just payments. Future innovation will provide additional opportunities for women to develop new secure technologies and methods to tackle security threats in the payments industry.

What advice would you impart to other women about how to succeed in the payments industry or in a technology-based field in general? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Susanne Faustini: I would say know your skill strengths and don’t be afraid to learn about technology. With the help of mentors along the way, I earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specializing in Information and Decision Technology Management, which I believe has led me to where I am in my current role.

It was suggested early on that I integrate my knowledge of traditional business fundamentals with the technical skills of Information Technology, an area I knew least about. I learned to apply my analytical skills towards problem-solving using statistics while at the same time balancing technical information with real-world application.  

I also encourage women to network, both within your organization and across the industry. Take advantage of opportunities within your chosen field to lead, shine, and grow. At Mastercard, there are numerous opportunities for women to come together, support one another, and build a strong pipeline. Our Women’s Leadership Network is one of nine Business Resources groups that offer networking and mentoring programs, in addition to our most recent endeavor within the Cyber & Intelligence team, Recoding Our Future, that aims to educate, equip, and empower women with the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed in STEM careers.

For women returning to the workforce after taking a career break, Mastercard has a global “Relaunch Your Career” program that provides on-the-job training, coaching and a chance to be hired for a permanent role. And our workplace policies offer flexible hybrid options such as work from anywhere weeks and flexible end of week schedules to address work-life balance. 

It’s important to lift each other as we climb.

Read More from the Women in Payments Series


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