Kristen Morrow-Greven has been with Netflix since 2015, just as the streaming giant was beginning to make its entry into the global market. Her career has spanned many facets of payments and technology, from her start at the Federal Reserve Bank to her time at PayPal. We grabbed a few minutes with her to discuss industry upheaval, the value of debate, and the AI revolution.
In one sentence: What do you do?
Kristen Morrow-Greven: My team and I ensure that anyone who signs-up and subscribes to Netflix has a smooth and efficient experience with payments.
What are you currently working on?
Strategic planning for next year. As Netflix’s business grows, we’re starting 2024 planning early to ensure that we have ample time to debate and discuss priorities and road maps across the global cross-functional payments team.
In-office or WFH?
On my team, we are in-office, at home, on airplanes and trains. No rules.
What’s the innovation that’s most disrupting your world?
Faster payments. Disruptive global events, such as the pandemic, have thrust faster payments into the focal point of the global payments landscape, and made it even more critical in financial markets and economies as well.
What has been your proudest moment in the role?
It happened pretty recently. After starting my career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, several decades ago, I was very proud to be invited back to join a payments roundtable to advise the Federal Reserve Board, prior to the launch of [US instant payment service] FedNow.
...And what was a mistake that taught you something useful?
Looking back on the early stages of my career, I failed to assert myself when I held differing opinions from everyone else on the team. And this left me feeling really inauthentic in the workplace. As a leader now, I really value healthy debate, and hearing other teammates’ insights, even if they don’t agree with me or each other.
What’s the biggest question facing payments today?
“What regulation is going to come next in the consumer payment space and what do we need to prepare for it?”
What’s the most important quality for being a leader in payments?
Curiosity. I think it’s essential for leaders in the consumer payments space to remain curious, to continually monitor industry trends, to understand changing customer needs and preferences.
...And what’s the trait that’s least helpful?
Selfishness. A leader cannot prioritize personal gain over the needs and wellbeing of their team.
Who is your industry mentor and what’s the most useful thing they’ve taught you?
My industry mentor is Reed Hastings, Netflix’s Co-Founder and previous CEO. He taught me that as long as feedback is given with positive intent and provides an alternative solution, feedback can, and should, be given anytime, anywhere.
What’s a secret that only people who do your job know?
Many people simply don’t understand payments well. While some may perceive it as a straightforward and necessary part of conducting business, the reality is that a strong payments team can navigate the complexities of payments and transform them into a catalyst for growth for the company.
Make a fearless prediction: How will payments be different in ten years’ time?
In the future there’s going to be a greater emphasis on instant payments and real-time settlements, reducing the time it takes for consumers to see their payments reflected in their accounts.
If you weren’t working in payments, what would you be doing?
If I had spent as many hours on my tennis technique as I have on learning the intricacies of payments, I’m sure I’d be a tennis pro by now.
AI. Are you worried?
I’m excited about the opportunities that new technologies like AI can bring to the field of payments. AI is poised to revolutionize the payments industry by making transactions faster, more secure, and highly personalized. However, as with any technological advancement, there will also be challenges, such as data privacy and security concerns, that need to be addressed to ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI in payments.
J.P. MORGAN PAYMENTS
ILLUSTRATION: EWELINA DYMEK