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ACI Careers: What’s Kept Melissa McKendry at ACI for 25 Years

Melissa McKendry is frank about what originally attracted her to ACI twenty-five years ago.

“I ended up with ACI because I traveled and ran out of money. I needed a job and started working in London,” she says. “It was a job that gave me money and I had none at the time.”

But Melissa stayed for more than two decades, and her work at ACI has become more than a paycheck.

“They’ve given me the opportunity to develop my career and the flexibility of living in different countries while fulfilling my career needs. The technology and the business we’re in is constantly changing, so no project is the same. And the people at ACI are just really good. There are faults, but it’s the people that you work with day in and day out that keep you focused.”

Melissa is currently the head of professional services for ACI’s Pacific region. Her team — comprising of technical consultants, solutions architects, product owners and product masters — handles on-premise projects for banks and intermediaries, working on things like card and real-time payments, fraud management and retail banking payments.

She’s spent her career living around the world; in the UK, the Middle East, Italy and Australia, and now she’s back in her home country of New Zealand, working on major projects that help shift the foundational costs of running a bank and the systems that banks run.

Her team is moving massive institutions away from the old ways of operating banking systems, migrating them to the cloud or more cost-effective technologies.

“We’re not changing the wheel of the car, we’re actually taking out the engine and replacing it,” she says.

One project Melissa’s team is working on right now is a huge transformation with New Zealand–based Kiwibank. The project is significant for both parties. Kiwibank is breaking new ground in New Zealand by migrating to the newest tech, and it’s one of ACI’s three biggest projects. For Melissa, it’s also one of the most harmonious.

“Many customers are very demanding on their expectations of a company like ACI and a supplier, but Kiwibank treats us as one of their own even though we’re not Kiwibank. They remind us that this is a partnership they believe in and that they want to continue to grow and nurture. There’s a constant reminder there. I love that about it.”

Melissa doesn’t mince words about what it’s like to work on her team. She’s both positive and realistic. She likes the job, and she understands how demanding it can be.

“We do work you hard. Some people just say, ‘I want the 9-to-5,’ and that’s fine, but my department is a challenging environment, and people need to be up for that.”

For this reason, Melissa likes to hire for aptitude over training. Ticking all the technical boxes isn’t as important as having the right attitude. “What is on their CV is often very different to what they bring to the table,” she says.

Adaptability and capability are requirements.

“Given the nature of the services organization, having multi-disciplined or multi-skilled individuals is important. You’re never hired to do a job, ‘as it says on the tin.’ You’ve got to be flexible. It’s a work-hard culture, and you are rewarded for your contributions. It’s not just a paycheck, it’s also the career opportunity that you have.”

Visit our careers page to learn more about current opportunities with ACI Worldwide and careers in payments.

Head of Professional Services — Pacific