That used to be the tagline for my soon-to-be former employer, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association. Never mind that it could just as easily apply to condoms (which is probably why we don’t use it anymore). NACHA administers the ACH Network which, if you’ve ever been paid by direct deposit or paid your bills automatically every month, you’ve used extensively.
I came to NACHA pretty green, even though I had clocked three years at a boutique consulting firm in Washington, DC working on banking and financial policy issues. I was hired to run one of NACHA’s industry councils – The Internet Council, even though at that time (1997 – think the term “information superhighway”), I’d barely even accessed the Internet. But I was eager, driven and ready for serious challenges. In my interview with NACHA’s then-Executive Vice President, he asked me, “There’s this conference coming up in Hong Kong in three weeks. Would you have any interest in speaking there?” To this day I’m convinced that a big part of the reason I got the job was because he was signed up for that trip and didn’t feel like going. To Hong Kong I did go and delivered my first-ever public presentation. Talk about baptism by fire!
I went from running one Council to running the whole e-commerce department. I gained a wealth of knowledge on Internet payments, e-billing, data security, and governance issues. I developed skills in managing employees, projects and products, public speaking and, of course, writing. TONS of writing. In fact, I once penned (alongside my BFF and NACHA’s general counsel) a NACHA bestseller, the so-scintillating Understanding Internet-Initiated ACH Debits. Before I knew it, I was being tapped to present in front of the NACHA Board of Directors and given very high-profile projects to manage.
My personal life flourished as much as my professional one in these years. At NACHA, I met a soul-mate of a friend, and we managed to take many side-trip boondoggles from legitimate business trips – wine tasting in Napa, skiing in Park City, backpacking in the Grand Canyon, and lounging on Waikiki Beach to name a few. I also got married, had my first child, moved from Virginia to Colorado, had my second child, took a hiatus from work and then came back.
Through all of these changes in my life, NACHA was not only supportive, but bent over backwards to accommodate my ever-changing needs. Need three weeks off for a honeymoon? Great! Want to work longer hours four days a week in order to have one day at home after your daughter is born? No problem. Need the head of the conference department to provide flexibility in your schedule at the annual Payments conference so you can feed your infant daughter between sessions? Absolutely. Want to move to a part-time schedule? Yes. Want to telecommute because you’re moving to Colorado with your family? Sure! Need to quit after the birth of your son? We’ll miss you, but you’re always welcome back. Want to come back? Awesome – we already have a job in mind for you! You’re leaving to pursue a writing career? We’re bummed, but we’re also so happy for you.
You get the picture. In large part, I credit NACHA’s former CEO, Elliott McEntee, who created a corporate culture that valued talent and work-ethic over any other factor – age, experience, location, stage of life. Elliott is the very definition of the word Mensch, and under his tutelage and leadership, you could grow, thrive and truly enjoy your career. This attitude carried over in my relationships with each and every one of my bosses at NACHA, from the first to the last (you all know who you are!) and the vast majority of my NACHA colleagues.
NACHA refers to all of its direct members, Council members, regular event attendees, etc. as “the NACHA family.” However, to me the term “NACHA family” means the group of colleagues with whom I have shared my successes and challenges, both professional and personal, for more than ten years. I am deeply grateful to have worked in such an intellectually and emotionally rich environment during my “formative” years. Thank you for providing me with a “Safe, Secure, and Convenient” place to work.
P.S. If I have zero dollars to my name by the end of next year, I may be calling you guys for a few freelance writing gigs! 🙂Categories: Former Job(s)