To become a worldwide leader in payment processing, you need to see the world from a different perspective. Our employees come from all over the world, bringing their own ways of seeing the world to drive innovation to help banks, merchants and billers meet the shifting needs of consumers and business customers.
Here, we’ll get to know one of our team members whose unique perspective has enabled him to achieve success at the company: Leonardo Escobar, Senior Vice President, Head of Sales in LATAM.
ACI: An amazing opportunity
Leonardo has been at ACI for just over a decade. His background is in business administration, economics and risk management, and he joined the company when his previous employer was acquired by ACI.
Shortly after the acquisition, representatives from ACI visited his firm’s offices. Leonardo immediately had a positive feeling.
“I liked how they worked and how they thought,” he commented. He and his colleagues realized this was an excellent opportunity. “ACI’s strategy was much more solid,” Leonardo added.
Things have only gotten better as the years have passed.
“It has been a pretty amazing ride with ACI,” Leonardo remarked. “Every year has been better than the previous.”
ACI gave Leonardo his first opportunity of leading a global team in 2018.
“When ACI asked me to take on that unit and transform it, it was amazing,” he enthused. “It was the opportunity to be exposed to so many markets, to so many cultures, to so many teams working differently, with different mindsets, and trying to create a unified, coherent strategy.” Leonardo added that he learned in a year or two what he would have learned in five.
He was able to see firsthand how customers in various regions carried out business. One opportunity could be handled completely different depending on which office he visited. On a personal level, the experience allowed him to travel to countries he had never visited before.
In June 2021, Leonardo became senior vice president and head of sales for the Latin American region. He works closely with the Latin American leadership team who represent all business functions, from HR, marketing operations, solutions consulting, product management and regional leaders.
Leonardo’s approach to his work is to examine all possible angles.
“I always try to see different perspectives and hear out everyone – trying to come to the best decision together,” he noted. “I don’t mind if it’s my idea or not.”
His approach stems from the knowledge that there is never one correct solution.
“I always know that there must be more than one way of doing things,” Leonardo said. There may be three, even four possible ways to solve a puzzle. The key is to choose the best solution and implement it.”
He credits this way of thinking to his upbringing. Leonardo moved several times growing up. Born in Ecuador, he moved to multiple cities within the country before relocating to his current residence in Miami. Leonardo has also lived in Spain, England, Colombia and Chile.
“It makes me think in different ways, with different perspectives,” Leonardo acknowledged. “One of the things I learned is that there are so many ways of doing things. There is no one right way.”
Perspectives on innovation and corporate culture
For Leonardo and ACI, Latin America offers untapped opportunities.
“I think in Latin America there are so many things that we can do and can be done,” he commented. In his opinion, there is still quite a bit of development possible in the Latin American payment processing market.
“There is a path” to achieve the development Leonardo would like to see for this market, but he admitted that it will take time.
“It’s just giving the markets, the players, the industry time to evolve and to move on,” he remarked. Leonardo is excited to bring this type of development to the region because he has seen what is possible in other regions in the world.
In addition to his desire to innovate within the Latin American market, Leonardo feels a deep sense of responsibility for making ACI a great place to work for his team. He noted that he spends a great deal of time thinking about how to make ACI “a place where people feel engaged, where people feel a sense of belonging, where they feel like what they do matters.”
What it takes to work at ACI
When Leonardo hires new employees, he looks for the following qualities:
“Your attitude helps build a positive environment,” he said. “I try to find people that are easy to work with, who want to make a difference, who are passionate.”
“They express passion, or they’re very excited about what they could be doing,” he continued. “That is half of the game – you have somebody that wants to do something, that has the attitude to learn, that wants to help, that wants to collaborate. They want to work with others, they want to do something of significance. And then you give them the tools, and it flows naturally.”
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