Veronica Katz


Chief Revenue Officer at Sezzle

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Fintech’s Wonder Woman

Editor’s Note: In honor of women’s history month and the phenomenal women leaders at Sezzle, Erin Foran, who coordinates Sezzle’s media and public relations efforts, sat down to interview Sezzle’s New Chief Revenue Officer, Veronica Katz — a veteran corporate executive. In this engaging cross-generational exchange, together, Erin and Veronica will tackle not only the ins and outs of Sezzle’s business and growth prospects, but women in business, work-life balance, and how to slay it in fintech.

First things first, I have to admit I haven’t actually met Veronica — at least not in person. Since she joined the company back in July, our interactions have all been virtual, me working from home in Chicago and Veronica in Florida. But even from the other side of the computer monitor, I feel like I have gotten to know Veronica quite well. She has become a mentor as a senior leader in the company and as a woman who has forged her path to success in a mostly male-dominated world of fintech.

I have yet to entirely convince myself that Veronica Katz is not some sort of invincible superhero; she averages less sleep a night than your typical college kid (coming from experience), manages a high-powered sales team that sits across the globe, and somehow manages to be a mom and a spouse.  

As a Gen-Z woman in a male-dominated business world, I’ve already found that what my mom always characterized as my least appealing qualities have become perhaps my most valuable assets – feistiness and stubbornness. I’m eager; eager to learn, eager to do, eager to succeed. I have always believed that women have an innate determination and will to achieve that is unparalleled. Often, unfortunately, our voices are muted, but it is with women in positions of power that we make ourselves heard; collectively women in power amplify our presence. 

When Veronica Katz was appointed Sezzle’s CRO, I initially didn’t think much of it. Sezzle is a progressive company, and there are already very senior women leaders, most notably our CFO, Karen Hartje and Chief Legal Officer, Candice Ciresi. But Veronica was going to be my boss’s boss. Or maybe my boss’s boss’s boss; either way, she was way up there on the food chain. 

But a few days later, Veronica gave me a call — a sort of ‘meet and greet’ that was supposed to last just a couple of minutes, but lasted over an hour. The first thing I noticed about Veronica is that she is a raconteur — a true storyteller; I found myself immediately captivated by her war stories in business. Yet somewhat surprisingly to me, not once did Veronica specifically call out the difficulties that she likely faced being a woman in a business world still primarily dominated by men. Our conversation ebbed and flowed around various topics, all with a slant towards career and womanhood. She laid out for me how she built up her career, brick by brick, eventually landing a top executive role at PayPal and now, at Sezzle, as a C-Level executive of a billion-dollar payments company – all while raising a family. I learned it was on this path that she clambered up the corporate ladder — teeming with the integrity and passion that cultivated herself into the leader she is today. 

Veronica’s success doesn’t lean on the inequality she may have faced in her career; rather it is built on the unrivaled grit of a woman with a plan.

Tell me a little bit about the mentors you’ve had in your career.

I’ve had strong female mentors, but in all fairness, I have had strong male mentors as well. The ones that meant the most to me over my career span were those that believed in me before I believed in myself. These people saw something in me before I saw it in myself. Sometimes, you don’t see what you have until later in your career. Yet on the flip side, sometimes I thought I knew more than I did at a young age, and the best mentors pointed that out. A good mentor, colleague, friend, will show you who you have the power to be when you may not feel it yet; but won’t be afraid to put you back in place when you fly too close to the sun.

How did you find good mentors?

As cliche as it sounds, a good mentor finds you. Forcing a mentorship is like forcing a friendship or a relationship — when it’s organic, it works best. Perhaps the best way I found mentors was when I thought I didn’t need one. I was in a role I thought I knew it all, and someone stepped in to prove that was far from the truth. I found the best mentors came when I least expected them, and it is these times that I learned the most. A good mentor does not need to be in the same role, heck, even the same industry; they guide you on all facets of your career. Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to take criticism. Those would be my golden rules when seeking mentorship. 

Why do you think it may be harder for women to find good mentors in their career?

To a degree, this is sometimes the case. Perhaps that is the case because for a long time, the world of business and tech has been dominated by men. It is admittedly easier to find mentorship in people with similar qualities, which can lead to this cycle of men mentoring men, bringing more men into the workforce. However, I think society is beginning to upend this – women and men alike are vying for positions that would never have had the same equal opportunity years ago. Women are following both parents’ footsteps rather than only seeing the father as the breadwinner. I was very fortunate to have business role models in both my mother and father. Because of this, and carrying this approach into my own personal life, I don’t think my daughter even thinks about men vs. women in mentorship — she just looks for good mentors. By no means are we there yet, but I think combatting the norms of traditional like-gendered mentorship is one step in the right direction for women.

How did you balance traditional gender norms like having a family while working?

The number one question I get asked is, ‘how do you balance it all?’ It’s a flattering question for sure, and some days I don’t think I manage it all that well, (laughing) but what I think is more interesting is why my husband never seems to be asked this question! I would say what the truth is, is that I am lucky to be in an equal partnership where we work together to balance it all. 

Most women have experienced some types of traditional gender norms in their careers, and earlier in my career, I certainly had to contend with the combined pressures of being a wife and a mom who was raising a family. That was then, but this is not, and things have changed over time. We aren’t quite there yet, but I have seen quite a bit of change from when I was a young girl growing up to where I am today. 

In some families, one partner may want to stay home while the other partner, regardless of gender, will want to work. And many people will want their career to give them the power and ability to do both, knowing this comes with ramifications no matter what.

Talk to me about being a mom, raising children, and having a career.

At first, I’ll admit raising a child while you are trying to climb the corporate ladder isn’t exactly straightforward. I am incredibly fortunate that my husband has been such a great partner. Yet we both have demanding jobs, and as a mother, I think it was harder for me not to feel guilty — women – we often put pressure on ourselves to be home more often. However, I feel this guilt is self-imposed as my husband felt less guilty when he had to travel than when I did – it’s an issue of the systemic self-inflicted guilt that we tend to think as women and mothers. Of course, my husband loves our daughter just as much as I do, and he wants to see her just as much as do I. Yet, he does not feel the level of guilt that I did being away — I chalk that up to my modern career-minded, ‘you-go-girl!’ attitude coming into direct conflict with older social mores. 

Do you think things are changing fast enough for women who want executive careers?

I think this is changing; young women feel more equality and empowerment, both in their careers and how their careers affect home life. More and more men are stepping up to the plate and choosing to share in the work/home balance with their partners. I should mention this is not limited to children by any means, but any nurturing role in one’s life. These roles should be a choice – what you choose to do with your future family or partner, and I think we must continue to push for that choice to be a right rather than a privilege.

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