I SupportHER™

Written by: Monica Kretschmer. Click to read more from Monica Kretschmer

Sep-Sat

Mike Giannoumis, Senior Vice President of Technology Operations at Paysafe Group (Paysafe) | @PlugIntoPlaysafe

Mike started his career in 1992 as a Network Administrator and has since progressed into more senior IT roles. He joined Paysafe in 2015, bringing with him over two decades’ experience in the tech sector, 15 years of which were spent in management roles. Mike has extensive experience in strategic planning, systems development, project management and the implementation of a broad range of business-enabling technological initiatives. He is an energetic “hands-on” leader with the outstanding ability to build highly talented and qualified teams exclusively focused on achieving compelling business results.

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Technology Operations at Paysafe Group (Paysafe), where he leads a global multidisciplinary team of over 160 IT professionals.

How does it feel to be recognized as a champion for women?

It is truly an honour to have been nominated for the Power Partner award and to be recognized as a champion for women. It is also humbling to be acknowledged as an advocate for women in the workplace, especially in the relatively male-dominated field of technology. As a father of two teenage girls, I intend to continue to give back and facilitate the path for women to succeed and climb the corporate ladder, through my advocacy and mentoring and by leading by example.

What role do you feel men can play to move the needle for equality, diversity, and inclusiveness?

Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human issue. Knowing that women face challenges with equality and aren’t always afforded the same opportunities as men have made me recognize the responsibilities men have to uphold as “Power Partners”.  We must start by acknowledging male privilege and becoming active listeners in order to better understand the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace. Men need to get involved, engage others in their organizations in conversations about gender equality, resist stereotypes, advocate for fair workplace policies and become dependable allies to women both inside and outside the workplace. It is vital that every woman is made to feel heard, respected, valued and empowered.

How do you support and empower women in your professional life? Personal Life?

I feel that empowering women can come in many different forms.  It can be as simple as giving credit where it is due, looking for opportunities to acknowledge success, offering equal access, as well as listening and showing respect to all. In life, not everyone is given the same opportunity to excel and succeed. Because of that, I will always commit to sharing my experience and my professional network, as well as use my position to help women around me attain their goals and receive equal opportunities.

In the workplace, I consider it an obligation as a leader to participate in recruitment, whether it be to speak with young women in schools and universities about considering a career in IT or to help connect women to others within my network who could support their career development. I also always encourage my female colleagues to attend training sessions and conferences. I want them to feel confident in advocating for themselves, but I also want them to know that the men in our department cheer on their success.

We know mentorship is critical to advancing personally and professionally. How do you feel about mentoring women?

Mentoring and offering professional advice are passions of mine — I genuinely enjoy seeing others succeed and grow. I remember being at the very beginning of my journey and looking for guidance. I am currently at a point in my career when others seek my mentorship and advice, and I’m more than happy to share my experiences (both good and bad), advise on career moves, or help in any other way I can.

I believe that mentoring women can have a profound impact on equality and opportunity for women in the workplace. By celebrating their achievements, acknowledging their ambitions and guiding them through their professional challenges, women are more likely to advance into leadership positions, especially in IT, where the ratio of women to men is quite low.

What advice would you give to business leaders navigating today’s issues with diversity in the workplace?

To navigate diversity issues, business leaders need to establish a committee or program for accountability within their workplace. Taking action is an important responsibility and it’s vital for leaders to always try and advance their workplace culture a step further. This could involve being a diversity and inclusion (D&I) champion, initiating relevant training sessions in your organization, or mentoring and connecting women within your professional network. Unsurprisingly, the evidence reveals that when men are actively engaged in supporting gender inclusion, the progress made within an organization is significantly greater than when they are not.

Diversity fosters growth. It maximizes the potential of employees and creates equal opportunities for those who may be overlooked. Business leaders should focus on breaking down barriers rather than raising them. Diversity also ensures that all colleagues feel free to be who they are and share their ideas in a safe environment.

What is your definition of a Woman of Inspiration? Who are the most inspiring women in your life?

In my experience, a woman of inspiration demonstrates strength, resilience and exceeds expectations. She is empowered both personally and professionally. She paves her own path, even when the odds are against her. A woman of inspiration is also confident, humble and open to collaboration. She carries a positive attitude and is a role model to those around her.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by strong women who inspire and motivate me. My wife’s constant support has been one of the pillars of my success. Her hard work and dedication to our family inspire me to be the best version of myself. My two teenage daughters have changed my perceptions, and they motivate me to get involved and contribute to the changes I want to see in the world. I am lucky to have worked with and learned from many exceptional women leaders and colleagues throughout my career.

The presence of influential women who deserve to be recognized and celebrated has been a constant reality across all aspects of my life. For that, I am grateful beyond words.