BANKING TECH AWARDS USA 2023 FINALIST: ASHLEY USHER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FORTIS
Ashley Usher is the COO and former CIIO at Fortis, bringing over two decades of experience in the payments and financial services sector. Usher holds seat on the board of MAU (MAU Workforce Solutions), a company that provides solutions for success in staffing, recruiting, and technology, playing into her strengths in both strategic development and creative problem-solving. Even more, Usher is a two-time winner of the Global Payments Circle of Excellence Award for merger and acquisition transformation work and for internal business results. Most recently, Usher was included on CRN’s Women of the Channel list for 2023.
At Fortis, Usher has created the vision and seen through 10 integrations in the last two years, contributing to the company’s five-fold growth. She regularly heads major successes with partners, from implementing Fortis’s solution in record time to finding creative ways to process payments on short notice when a client’s system crashed. She also has a passion for leading and mentoring, guiding professionals who have gone on to succeed in significant industry leadership positions.
Ashley Usher is Chief Operating Officer at Fortis, a leader in embedded payments for software providers. Prior to holding the COO position, she was Fortis’ Chief Information and Integration Officer (CIIO). Usher has worked in the payments and financial services sector for two over decades.
She started her career at SAP and was immediately attracted to opportunities in the software and services space and later to payments because of the intricacies involved in the work. Throughout her career, Usher has gravitated toward execution-oriented roles because they combine her two professional passions: creatively overcoming challenges and leading teams on a collective mission. Usher is so successful in both roles at Fortis that she was promoted to COO, where she is now in charge of every customer-facing operation, including the platform, product and customer success teams. Usher is an inspirational leader who succeeds in a highly competitive industry, and she deserves recognition for that. But her achievements and influence go far beyond any single job description.
With product innovation and mentorship activities, Usher makes a positive impact on company success, her team’s career development and the industry itself. Her strategic acumen was rewarded with a seat on the board of MAU (MAU Workforce Solutions), a company that provides solutions for success in staffing, recruiting, technology and outsourcing to their clients, employees, and applicants. She plays an integral role in strategy development, and the experience helps her see potential solutions for Fortis from a different angle. Usher demonstrates creative problem-solving and inspiring leadership skills every day. But what truly sets Usher apart is her deep understanding of the product and platform, which enables her to facilitate growth beyond the strategy execution role and gives Fortis a significant marketplace advantage. For example, over the last year, Usher supported the acquisition of 10 businesses. Her leadership played a direct role in the company’s subsequent five-fold growth, with $20 billion in additional payment processing over a two-year period. Usher created the vision for each acquisition, developed a plan, assembled teams, and managed each organization’s successful integration with Fortis. Such a broad remit — from accountability to investors for the vision through project implementation — is unusual, but Usher’s unique capabilities and insight make her a natural fit.
Usher has expanded the Fortis solutions portfolio and enabled successful head-to-head competition against larger rivals like Stripe and Square through product innovation. For example, Usher helped to identify a marketplace opportunity for an inventory product designed for specialty healthcare providers. She led the launch of a product that allowed independent software vendors (ISVs) serving healthcare providers to integrate both payment acceptance and product inventory tracking capabilities. Working with an ISV partner, Usher created a custom integration with the Fortis platform enabling the ISV to seamlessly embed payment acceptance into the vendor software, opening new opportunities for monetization. Usher also led an initiative in partnership with an ISV to create a frictionless onboarding experience with the platform, helping the vendor achieve faster revenue activation while increasing the speed and accuracy of the onboarding process. Usher and her team’s commitment to achieving what was previously thought impossible for customers is unparalleled.
In one instance, Fortis earned a customer’s gratitude and loyalty by completing a platform integration project that normally takes six weeks (which is considered rapid by industry standards) in less than 10 days after a customer was given 10-day notice they could no longer use their previous platform. The tireless efforts of Usher and her team averted financial disaster for the business. Another incident that demonstrates how Usher and her team earn lifetime loyalty from Fortis customers was a scenario where an ISV’s merchant software went down on Black Friday. Usher and her team stepped in and processed approximately $250,000 in sales through a mobile platform while the vendor addressed the issue, converting a challenge into an opportunity. Usher also demonstrated her ability to step up and lead teams that accomplish tasks ahead of schedule when she led the integration of the Fortis platform with a major hospitality chain’s systems, achieving integration in one-tenth of the time required by a competitor. Achievements like these led to industry recognition, including Usher’s inclusion in the 2022 Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) Forty Under 40, which recognizes pacesetters in the payments technology industry.
Earlier in her career, Usher was a two-time winner of the Global Payments Circle of Excellence Award for merger and acquisition transformation work and for internal business results as a VP. But although she appreciates the individual recognition, Usher prefers to focus on helping team members grow their professional skills and make their own contributions to the industry. She devotes extensive time to mentoring women and other employees. Passionate about paying it forward and helping others learn and grow, Usher has mentored 10 professionals over the course of her career and is currently mentoring the eleventh.
She recently completed a year-long mentorship program with Ryan Ahern as part of the 2022 ETA Young Payments Professionals Scholar Program, which matches scholars with mentors from leading payments companies. People mentored by Usher have gone on to accomplish significant achievements in the industry and attain major leadership roles, including past mentees who are or have served as a chief product officer at a financial services company, a principal at a consulting firm, a VP of a private equity firm, a senior program manager at one of the world’s leading ERP systems and a senior director at a global technology transformation business. Usher is a game changer for Fortis, for the employees she leads and for the fintech industry. For all of these reasons, she deserves a Fintech Futures Banking Technology Award recognizing her outstanding contributions as a woman in the technology sector.
By Fintech Futures | https://informaconnect.com/banking-tech-awards-usa/ashley-usher-chief-operating-officer-fortis/