Don’t over-promise: In the end, it’s better, to be honest about your capabilities and capacity as it will make you more trustworthy in the long run. People will value you more as an individual and a professional if you’re able to follow through on the things you promise.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Perla Stoeckert. Perla is the Chief Compliance Officer at Tipalti. Before joining in 2018, Perla had more than 15 years of experience in financial services, including firms engaged in foreign exchange, online payments, fund transfers, and deposit operations. Prior to Tipalti, Perla served in executive global roles in risk and compliance at OFX, FXCM and Commonwealth Foreign Exchange (MoneyCorp). She has managed risk and compliance operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the UK, and the US.
Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up in Colombia in the mid-80s was an interesting time as I got to see firsthand the impact that financial crime can have on society at large. It’s definitely an experience that has stayed with me. I went to school for engineering which taught me how to be a problem solver and when you combine the two it made for this great passion I have for this field. Technology companies have the ability to reach large amounts of people and being able to see how my day to day can have a great impact on keeping our customers safe is extremely rewarding.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Since I took on a leadership role at Tipalti, the most interesting thing I’ve experienced during my time is our current drive to automate and drive seamless processes internally. Tipalti helps customers bring automation to life and we are also prioritizing this within our own business processes. We are posing the question of how to automate internal processes that in return will allow our customers to scale at their current speed, whether that be organically or hyper-growth. Tipalti wants to be able to support all levels of growth which is driving us to look at automating our own internal processes. This demonstrates areas of opportunities we are also facing and helps us up-level our momentum.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As Tipalti has grown, I have struggled with remembering people’s names as we are hiring at great speed. It can be difficult to remember all the names with all the fresh faces we see every week!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Tipalti’s product is unique in many ways based on how both our products and services intertwine. We also have a broad range of customers from small businesses that want to start by implementing efficient AP processes, to larger, more successful businesses that are growing rapidly. Tipalti is helping both types of customers grow at scale while eliminating the need for manual processes in their finance function. We get to see firsthand how our product is able to support all levels of growth, for example entering into new markets. Tipalti is also remarkable in its ability to automate businesses’ internal processes to help make them more efficient and ultimately give them more time to focus on areas that they really need, such as R&D. We aren’t going after one type of customer as Tipalti can make an impact on customers across industries.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help your customers?
Tipalti is working on internal automation to help grow and scale our own business both here and abroad. It’s exciting to be part of our continued world story as we aim to make our dreams a reality. We recently surpassed 8 billion dollars in annual transactions, while more than doubling new customer and business bookings in the first half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2018. By operating more efficiently internally, Tipalti has been able to maintain best-in-class customer retention rates of 98% which exemplifies our dedication to our list of notable customers.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Being a female leader is so crucial in this day and age and requires the ability to listen to others. Your employees have good ideas and bring so much value to the equation. If you listen to your employees, you will be able to see how they are bringing value to not just the day-to-day activities but making the overall business successful. In return, this will make them more invested and happier because everyone is working together towards one goal. For teams to thrive, ideas also need to be put into actionable items where you as a leader can help shape and lead them to fruition. When we work together, we are stronger and mightier.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Once you have a large team, there is a need for more structure. You need to realize you are not able to do everything yourself so you need to empower managers and employees around you. The structure doesn’t necessarily mean hierarchies or slowing down the pace but more how you are able to support the growing team. It is important to recognize that your team members need support and one as a leader has to figure out what is the best way to provide that support so they are empowered to act and do their jobs effectively. Additionally, you need to have the right set of controls in place or feedback mechanisms in place to track performance, the health of culture and overall temperament of the team. This will allow you to make adjustments and continue to support the team in the best way possible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Mentors are vital to success and it’s important to have many to help guide your career. I was very lucky when I was first starting out in my career as I had several senior leaders in my industry who took me under their wing. I was able to ask them questions and for guidance which was instrumental to my success throughout my career. Some of these mentorships were established in my early 20’s and I still keep in touch to this day. Having mentors requires time and effort so both parties can see the value. Human beings are social beings so it’s vital to have people to troubleshoot things with and who are there to guide you in the right direction.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the things I try and do is pay it forward. I try and offer my advice to younger generations and women to act as a mentor for them. I appreciated when my mentors took the time to coach me and to this day I’m extremely grateful. Those who are first starting off in their career can be shy and not know who to approach, so I make an effort to seek out individuals to offer my knowledge and guidance which is an incredible honor.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
Effective communication: Communication is not often taught in college but is a valuable skill both inside and outside the workplace. Everyone communicates in different ways, so we need to invest in learning how to communicate, while also understanding others’ viewpoints.
- Power of influence: We need to understand how to influence people in the right way to get our desired outcomes without making demands.
- Negotiation skills: The ability to negotiate is needed in so many decisions that we make every day when speaking with people. It’s not simply about getting your way, but about compromising and seeing that both parties are getting something in the end.
- Work-life balance: Work should be great and inspiring but it’s also important for people to take care of themselves. When younger, people can be very career-driven, but they also need to pay attention to their wellness by prioritizing things that are important to them outside of work.
- Don’t over-promise: In the end, it’s better, to be honest about your capabilities and capacity as it will make you more trustworthy in the long run. People will value you more as an individual and a professional if you’re able to follow through on the things you promise.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I whole-heartedly believe in the power of education. It’s proven that those that have access to education do better in the long run than those without. More education gives people the power to drive their own success. It’s not just about access to education but about inspiring children and young adults to learn. While many attend school, we need to make sure that they want to learn as this has a substantial impact on their future.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt. This quote has always resonated with me as both a woman and a minority. Outside of that, anyone can relate to this quote. When you’re young, people can say things that make you feel insecure and undervalued, but this quote made me realize that I need to give someone permission to make me feel this. People can say whatever they want but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true unless I let it be.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
If there’s anyone in the world I could have a private meal with it would be Queen Elizabeth I. She helped turn around a country in despair and did it during a time where women were not looked at as equal. I’d also be interested in sitting down with the CEO and co-founder of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki. She has led such a successful company that is having an impact on today’s world and I would love to know how she got into her field and her ideas for the future.
Thank you for all of these great insights!