What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Sr. Payment Operations Associate at MineralTree?
We connected with Joe Lennon to find out!
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Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in the little town of Gulf Breeze, FL. It’s in the Panhandle about as far west as you can go before hitting Alabama. Growing up, my Dad was a Regional Account Manager for a hospitality service company, but my Mom’s job was much tougher- being an all-star mother to myself and my 2 sisters. She always found time to volunteer in the community, though. I always loved the small town feel, but I needed to experience a city at least once in my life!
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I went to the University of Florida (gooo Gators). I bounced around from Finance to Nursing to Sports Management, but eventually landed on Economics just in time to graduate! After graduation, I spent 7 months living with my parents, job searching. I knew I wanted to work in a city and to be at a startup company, which was a very difficult task. While I almost always had a part-time job, I had no internship or “real business” experience. In college, I was very involved in the rowing club and I basically considered that my job. The search was long, but with a lot of patience, I finally found myself in the right place at the right time!
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
Until the day I die, I will always swear by the fool-proof system of trial and error. Simply not being afraid to fail, ask questions, or be different has led to a lot of lessons, and unlike the lessons learned in the classroom, failures stick with you. Also, just being yourself and setting your own expectations helps a ton. You know yourself the best, so when you live based on society’s/parent’s/colleague’s expectations of you, you’ll fail every time one way or another. That’s exactly the reason why I moved so far away from home to a city. I wanted to keep the new experiences flowing and keep failing!
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position?
I work with a product offering we have called SilverPay, which is a virtual credit card. It’s basically a one-time-use credit card payment sent over email. My job is to care for the product (operationally) as if it were my own child — love it, nurture it, help it grow. At least that’s how I see it. But more concretely, I help customers get set up with the payment method, then work with our supplier enablement team to enable our suppliers to accept the virtual card. Throughout my time at MineralTree it was crazy to discover the massive amounts of paper checks being printed every year, and moreover, how some people still prefer that over just getting an email! The value is even greater now that the world is almost entirely dependent on contactless interactions. Our SilverPay users and SilverPay acceptors are sitting pretty nowadays knowing that they don’t even have to leave their house to send and receive payments, helping keep this economy pumping while staying safe.
Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?
I would define my field as a startup, and in a startup environment you should never be afraid to ask questions and stay curious. You really do have the power to define your role and forge your own career path, so you need to find out which part of the company you enjoy best, learn it, and go after it.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. I’d drink it all day long if I could. There are about 1000 different ways to prepare coffee nowadays, but I’ve never been able to make a better brew than from my old school drip coffee maker at home.
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
It sounds cheesy, but it’s no secret that helping people in general always gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. In business, it’s easy to get into a rut and just think of the people you’re helping as one-dimensional “clients". However, when you realize that they are just people like you. looking for assistance, it’s really motivating knowing you’re the one person who can help them out. I also love adding in puns and jokes to my emails. One time when trying to explain how a virtual card works to one of our customers, I asked her to picture Samuel L Jackson telling her that you can “Get cashback on every purchase every day” and included a picture of him with a Quicksilver logo. She loved it and it made me smile as well!
Scoring big wins
As I mentioned, the name of the game for my role is to help customers optimize their payments as much as they can through our virtual credit card. When one of our Supplier enablement reps discovers that a huge supplier of our customers can accept virtual cards, it feels like a windmill dunk.
Being a part of a team
What is a company other than a group of people working together to provide value to other people? It’s very apparent at MineralTree that we aren’t just a bunch of people looking for a way to pay the bills. We want to build something great and I haven’t met a single coworker who believes they can do it on their own. We all know and love the fact that building something long lasting and worthwhile requires a diverse team with different strengths, weaknesses, cultures, personalities, etc.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
The Supplier Enablement team and I have a daily stand up meeting first thing in the morning to go over goals and just say good morning. From there, it can go a million different ways. I’m usually supporting virtual card customers via email and then working internally with teams and teammates to continuously make process improvements. I have my daily tasks and then always at least one project to work on when the daily tasks are finished.
Any productivity hacks?
Lately while working remote, I’ve found that a good afternoon workout actually boosts my productivity. It splits my day in half. Coffee fuels my mornings and a good blood pumping workout in the afternoon propels me to the end of the day.
What time do you head out of the office?
In general, I’ll leave when the job is done for the day, so it varies. On a normal day, I’ll plan my work so I can leave by 5. However, if it’s a day where I work out in the afternoon, I’ll go until about 6 to make up for the time. There’s always plenty of work to do, though, so it’s very important for me to set goals/tasks for the day and plan it like that.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I never log back in at night. I close out all my windows, quit all my applications, and shut off my laptop every day.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
Honestly, I could live without any apps! However, I’m definitely a texter and I can’t deny the convenience of airline apps.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
I’m playing with loose definitions of “accomplishment” and “professional” here, but I am very proud to say that I formed a social group that started out with our own team but soon expanded to other teams around the company. This social group clocks out at 5:30pm every other Thursday and takes Somerville by storm with our wit, prowess, and infectious enthusiasm. In other words, we go to a Thursday trivia night and take advantage of an amazing pizza and beer combo deal. But in all seriousness, it’s a great opportunity to get to know teammates/coworkers outside of work. My theory is when you become friends with your coworkers, you are more motivated to do great work because you aren’t only working for yourself, you’re working for your friends.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
Covering both the admiration and professional advice categories is definitely my Dad, Joe Lennon Sr. He changed careers while I was in college and now works in almost the opposite business as me, but within the same industry. Where I work with the Buyer to pay with a credit card, my Dad’s company works with Suppliers to accept credit cards, so we’ve learned a lot from each other. Also with the rise in social media and the public’s fascination with political figures and celebrities, one type of person who never gets the admiration he deserves is the dedicated family man. He’s not the CEO of his own company, he doesn’t start social movements, and he isn’t rolling in cash. But he loves his family, works harder than anybody I’ve ever met, has values and sticks to them, and tries to make a positive impact on people’s lives every day. He would be a fish out of water in Boston because he actually smiles and says hello to every stranger he sees! It’s not a glamorous lifestyle but it’s the one that gave me every opportunity in the world and taught me that it’s the small things that really make a difference. He’s exactly the type of person I want to be when I grow up. Although he can’t remember people’s names to save his life so I hope I’m a little sharper in that category.