Why Mentorship in Fraud Prevention and Payments is so Important

Member News
Merchant Risk Council
Oct 28, 2019
In this blog I would like to share with you the seven most important lessons I would teach my younger self:

Build your support system
Find mentors who can help you with the challenges you face on a professional and personal level. Have their phone numbers on speed dial. The challenges you are facing are not new, as there are so many people who face and have faced similar challenges, so leverage these relationships. Ask for help when you need it. Many times, we are afraid to reach out for help when we are drowning for fear of shame or embarrassment. Remember, people generally want to help others and have likely experienced the same type of problems. Currently, I have been leveraging my network to learn more about payment landscape.

Be a student of the game
Never stop learning. Each and every interaction you have is an opportunity to learn and teach at the same time. Remain open to listening and challenging your own beliefs. Subscribe yourself to newsletters and webinars of your interest. Pick up a new skill, specifically something outside of your comfort zone.

English is my second language. I love speaking but I avoided public speaking because I feared making obvious grammatical errors. This is when my coach suggested I take baby steps to get more comfortable speaking publicly. He encouraged me to write blogs and present webinars. I started hosting webinars and finally, after about a year I got an opportunity to speak at MRC Vegas in front of a thousand people. I am still scared of making mistakes, but I do not allow this fear to stop me from presenting anymore.

To maintain momentum, I write one blog per month. This is a mini-project which helps me improve my writing skills and encourages me to research more about the topic I want to write about. There is no better way of learning more about your industry. I am thankful my mentor encouraged me to create good habits and overcome my fear.

Be assertive
Do not be afraid to ask, believe in yourself and go after what you want. More often than not, you will get it. For a long time I wanted to learn from a leader at my company, but I was too afraid to ask until my mentor encouraged me. Finally, I reached out to her. I don't know if I would have had the courage to approach her without the help from my mentor. As it turns out, she was more than happy to help. She is a great resource for me, and I am so glad I took the chance. I realize now we create our own walls and sometimes the only one stopping us from going after what we want is ourselves and our self-doubt.

Respect your values
Figure out what your values are. Invest in a mentor or coach; it is worth the investment. Do not compromise on these values and surround yourself with people who share the same. I believe in loyalty and commitment. I have a close circle of colleagues, peers, and leaders who believe in the same. This community helps me stay true to who I am and what I believe in.

Be holistic
For years, I believed in compartmentalizing my personal and professional life. If one part of your life is not good, it will bleed into another part. When I make decisions related to my work life, I choose to consider the impact it has on the rest of my life, including health, finance, family, love, and friendship. I have two kids and a demanding job. This means there are times when I have to prioritize one over another.

Sometimes I miss my daughter's soccer games when I have an important deadline to meet at work. This means I leave early from work to spend more time with my kids when I know I have travel coming up or when the workload is lighter. You might not be able to focus on everything, so you need to make a conscious decision in that moment on what your focus is and not feel guilty about it.

Work on your strengths
Most of us are focused on our weaknesses that we forget our strengths. Be mindful of your weaknesses but focus on your strengths and remember your value regardless of your shortcomings. There are a lot of personality tests like Keirsey, StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, and Emergenetics to help you understand your strengths.

For a long time I thought I needed to be an extrovert even though I am a true introvert. I was trying to change my temperament, hoping it would change my personality. This is when I was introduced to a book named Quiet. After reading Quiet I accepted my personality and I realized it is more productive to work on your strengths.

Remember to pay it forward
Sign up as a mentor for others who might need your advice. Help others and work towards closing your karmic circle. Make your contribution in another person's success. Be a leader in your own unique way. All you need is an intent to help.

My mentors invested their time in my success, and I make sure I do the same. It's hard to find time but when someone reaches out to me for guidance and feedback, I make sure I invest my time in them, just as my mentors did with me.

After participating in the MRC Mentor Program, I have decided to create yearly goals for myself. The goal for me this year is to focus on building my support system. I am already working with another mentor this year to do so. I will be back next year to share my 2019 experience.

Parul SharmaParul Sharma is a Senior Director of Fraud and Identity at LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

To learn more about the MRC Mentor Program, click here.

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