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Women on Top in Tech – Lisa Kuhn Phillips, VP at Allied Payment Network & Founder at inaVision, LLC



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is my interview with Lisa Kuhn Phillips, fintech professional and seasoned financial services leader. A ‘Why Not’er + Silo Buster + Pattern Finder ( in math, data, people, behaviors) + 21st c company Culture Transformer. Her career also includes 25+ years in fiscal, strategic and organizational change responsibility. She is Vice President at Allied Payment Network and Founder at inaVision, LLC.


What makes you do what you do?

Insatiable need to learn and lead progress – through a vision, a better solution and communication with people who believe the same. Math came easy for me, empathy probably too much so, yet it is a powerful combination in the business world today. I’ve always felt much of the financial industry didn’t serve those who need it most. So I was typically the one in meetings questioning status quo, and speaking for the “end user”.  Math, data, patterns and human behaviors – all tell a story to me. I can see behaviors from the data. My adrenaline rush was and is influencing behavior and business change and watching it play out (which is never quick enough in our industry).

How did you rise in the industry you are in?

My industry is Financial Services – whether it is in financial institutions or a financial tech startup. I started in the late 80’s when the culture du jour was fairly hierarchal, yet I had the opportunity to be mentored (and more importantly, sponsored) by the CEO of our financial institution. He was the first leader and businessman I met who believed in progressive work, and supporting women in real leadership roles.

I started in accounting, learned the ins and out of service/tactical support work, then on to front end work, leading a lending/management team that was as diverse as they come. I innately knew how to listen, learn and guide others. From there, I was moved to different roles or responsibilities – training, compliance, development, human resources, special projects (community/government charter work), operations (everything under the sun), information technology, finance, marketing, e-services and others… giving me a well-rounded knowledge of operating a business and influencing others.

The strategic intent was to build a team-driven, tech-enabled company culture and agile operation in constant learning mode. This evolution didn’t happen in the last 5 years. It started methodically in the late 90’s, then ramped up in 2004 -2009 as we eliminated a legacy system, focused on information technology as a strategic partner, and utilized ERM as the means of prioritizing work needs and talent allocation. My role was to eliminate unnecessary work (silos) and take a full hands on approach, learning what worked, what didn’t, and as equally important, who did and who didn’t.

I was instrumental in creating a working 21st century business model (I still have the sketched out version from early 2009), complete with plan, actionable items, timelines and key performance measures that were so different it took a year to embed it throughout our company. It was a labor of love, complete with 60-70 hour workweeks and LBWA (leading and listening by walking around).

So when people say smarter, not harder work, I say…no, the smarter work comes through the harder work of getting commitment and buy-in to an idea before it’s time. It also comes from having to make the difficult decisions and having the courage to carry through on them.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?

I did not really want to stay “corporate” and move/relocate for an opportunity in my comfort zone. I’d been there, done that – and to recreate in a new place sounded like Groundhog Day to me. Do I try to create again, while disrupting my children and moving them away from their friends and stability? I tried another corporate role – the ingrained culture was definitely not a good fit for my taste.

So I made the conscious decision to stay local for my children and find the right opportunity that made me ‘restart’ and challenge myself. I found it – the first start up allowed me to understand a very stable and growing industry (of all things, death care/airline logistics) and eventually landed into a financial technology startup. Both great learning, unlearning and elearning experiences. Remote work, new skills, involved nationally and internationally, opened my eyes to how interconnected the world truly is.

My take: The US financial services industry is slowly changing, yet not with the sense of urgency needed. Financial Technology gives me that sense of urgency and relevancy. Continual change. Sprints instead of 5 year plan marathons. Smaller teams, with forward vision.

So a few years into my role, some new lessons learned. #1: wisdom is critical, sometimes more important than knowledge alone. It gives you is a sense of calm, instead of worry and restlessness. Lesson #2 in our globally connected world: Networking with others is just as valuable as working on the business.  Lesson #3 is most personal to me:  Change of any kind means your living, not existing.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?

Financial Services – not really that many. In my earlier years, James G Mills. He was a visionary CEO who assembled a group of people, very eager to prove their talents, and build a progressive financial cooperative. He taught me how to grow a thicker skin, accept challenges, and view everything from a strategic, long-term perspective. He knew what was most important back before we used buzzwords or acronyms to describe it – the Customer Experience – always purpose first, then reasonable profit. Other than Jim, no one else mentored me in person – the rest came through reading publications, books, and learning on the job what worked and what didn’t.

Through my own study, I’ve had ‘role models’ rather than mentors. Warren Buffett’s annual reports. I trusted his view, humility and overview on business in the 20th c.  I followed Altimeter Group early on and like the work of Charlene Li and Brian Solis. Their Social Business Transformation was a great resource. Authors such as John Maxwell, Jim Collins (Good to Great – so fundamental), portions of Clay Christensen. More companies as business models, rather than their leaders.

Then in 2010-11 I started my immersion in mobile/digital Gen C world and lived/worked basically by iPhone, rather than desktop. Connected in the fintech space and found this great, remarkable wealth of individuals, who were (and some still are) my mentors that I observe and learn from daily (many without their knowledge).

Brad Leimer. Chris Skinner. Brett King & Bank 2.0. Sallie Krawcheck, Kelli Schultz, Ghela Boskovich, Duena Blomstrom…From a market/marketing perspective – Bryan Clagett, Jim Marous, and Alex Jimenez. From a company leadership perspective (from afar) Tom Shen. and countless others I admire.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?

With James Mills, I was brought in full time after I graduated from college and I knew he would teach me – he mentored me and committed as a sponsor for me. With the others, I’ve asked a few. Other times, I’d just study their work, their communication style and decisions. Understand their perspective, and how it may coincide or differ from mine.

I recommend you reach out to someone you admire, let them know what you need to learn and see if they will assist. The worst they can say is “no, thank you”. Ok, onto the next one. I was on the board for “Mentoring Women’s Network” for awhile. I believe we focus too much on mentoring. Real commitment is in “sponsoring” someone.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

Fairly easy to spot – Talented, curious people who ask questions, put team before self, intentionally communicate and think in terms of responsibility, not rules or obligations. I look for those people. It’s incredibly easy to keep the invested ones and grow when we understand the vision and want to influence it and stay engaged. Culture matters –Talented, curious people must have rewarding work, meaningful recognition and a supportive tribe. You have to create and fuel a work environment that we’re all in it together. We learn from successes and fails, and never stop improving. That smarter, harder work combination applies here, too.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

CONSCIOUS Inclusion. I’m probably more vocal than most are accustomed to in the US. I’ll champion it until the day I stop breathing.

It is the only way we will grow – as a company, as a team, as a country, as a world. Statistics prove that diverse companies have better results. It’s a no-brainer. So it is maddening to me that diversity is not embraced. My concern is my daughter won’t experience gender equality and diversity in her lifetime.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

In financial services, leaders who have a good perspective on those who have less financial wherewithal than most. They know what It feels like to be hungry (they don’t get fat at the helm), remain humble (they have their ego in check) and be viewed with indifference at times or the forever underdog (they challenge the status quo).

Leaders who have passion and compassion; discipline and daring; with drive and self-regulation – they can operate in a world disrupted and adapt on the fly.

Advice for others?

My advice to other women as they establish their careers and walk their path… Courage is a trait we ladies all have. Culture may teach you something different. Be strong, resilient, competent and confident. It becomes you.

And by all means, you are not a “girl” who codes, a girl Friday or a girl living in a man’s world.

You’re a lady. Rise up.

To learn more about Allied Payment Network, please see

I am a huge fan and cheerleader of Women Leaders — If you know of an AMAZING Woman Founder, CEO, Leader in Tech or you are one yourself — Write me here.
AMPLIFY Conscious Business Leadership with me.


“When Adam Draper does Crypto Standup, Singapore listens”



I live and work in Singapore and Santa Monica. Yes, I am blessed. However, my life has been by design, I think of what I want and so I make my life choices and make them happen in my life. Hence the bi-continent living and that comes with bi-continent and now global community living, being and ecosystems building. So I am now never surprised when one part of my world meets another.

I went to Wavemaker Partners venture capital event this evening, keen to meet Adam Draper, who is one of the many great presenters at Crypto Invest Summit, April 30- May 2 in Los Angeles.

Since I actively support leaders who are building scalable, sustainable businesses and movements for the betterment of many; of course I am learning about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. I had been keen to report on the Crypto Invest Summit as I would be back in May to LA for my PhD programme. I was in communications with the organizers. However, I am being awarded an award at the Women Economic Forum in Delhi that same week and could not be physically present.

Still I wanted to report on the event, somehow.

I wanted to listen to the speakers and support some of the speakers who are already friends and experts I rely on for greater insights on cryptocurrency. I like learning and sharing with the greater audience, I have in Asia what I am learning from the US and vice versa. So I feel I had my chance tonight to do a bit of that.

I could not help but smile as Adam Draper shed light into his world of investing in more than 85 crypto related products because he was such a breath of fresh air to the last few Blockchain and Financial conferences I have been reporting on; especially here in Asia.

He just says it like it is.

He kept stopping the audience when they said Blockchain and he said, “You know you really mean cryptocurrency.”  He hit the nail on the head because I have seen so clearly how this phrase had been said in Singapore time and again – “I am not into cryptocurrency but I believe in Blockchain.”

When he said how there was an incongruity as he sat across bankers who personally invested in cryptocurrency and when faced with an inbound of requests from their clients on the same investment; are tied by regulations and are unable to respond.

Here’s some of his best lines. If you don’t laugh or “ah-ha” the way I did, you probably just had to be there. The truth is funny because it calls out for something we all see but sometimes just do not want to admit.

There is a growing understanding of the underlying thematics that the cryptocurrency world has been experiencing as the interface between centralize; de-centralize and personal autonomy becomes more and more apparent and lines get drawn.

Adam Says:

1) The newest phenomenon is that some of the ICO founders are now just so rich from their ICOs that they really don’t need to work on the project they asked for money for.

2) For the crypto-world, money doesn’t matter anymore!
They need talent

It’s so founder friendly now.

3) What Bitcoin made us ask is “What is money?”

The next question is “What is government and governance?”

He highlighted if an entrepreneur is looking for a problem to solve., then the entrepreneur is always looking for horrible industries with poor services and high costs. So yes – Governments are those horrible industries and they need to be disrupted.

4)  Any company who comes to an investor and leads with how much ICO has raised; is a red flag. Leave immediately and go read a Harry Potter book instead.
If they are leading with value and not the problem they are solving. Beware. (read more here

5) If you are going to invest in where the brains are. It’s in crypto.

6) Philosophically, Coinbase is against ethos of what Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency movement is trying to do. However to do such a move from fiat to digital currency, there would need a way to do that. So Coinbase acts like a browser does for internet. One day there will be no need to cash in or out as everyone is already there on digital. Cryptocurrency is the exchange of value. His advice and we know his bias as he is invested in  Coinhako; is to hold onto an exchange for 3-5 years since onboarding of all users to the new digital currency will take some time.

Adam met with many banks and government bodies on his trip to Singapore – I hope they got his truths.

I ended the night by thanking Adam for making me laugh. He reminded me of how much I miss LA.

Want more of this?

If you are in LA on April 30 – May 2.



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Callum Connects

Adrian Reid, Founder of Enlightened Stock Trading



Adrian Reid escaped the rat race and became a knowledgeable trader. He now shares his trading knowledge and empowers others to take control of their stocks.

What’s your story?
After working 12-16 hour days in the corporate world for many years I had a moment of realisation on the 1 hour bus ride to work. It was here at this moment in time, I realised that I felt trapped, desperate and isolated. Trapped in a job I hated, and a life I had not designed. I had long been interested in investing, but I made the decision at that point to become the best trader I could possibly be and escape the rat race.
My dream was to be free; free of the 9 to 5, the commute, the stress and the exhaustion. I threw myself into my stock trading research and study and emerged 3 months later with the trading rules that would ultimately buy me my freedom. I am now retired from the corporate world, I trade full time and share my knowledge with other aspiring traders through my online education program which puts them in control and empowers them to take control and accountability for their trading results.

What excites you most about your industry?
So many people are trapped in jobs they don’t like or are feeling immense financial pressure in their life. Trading education is typically done extremely badly today because of the conflicts of interest in the industry. Fund managers want to hold onto your money forever; brokers want you to trade more frequently; forex brokers want you to use more leverage. Why? Because that is how they make their money.
By teaching traders how to develop and test their own stock trading systems I am able to empower them to find trading rules which fit their own personality, objectives and lifestyle. This is the only way for new traders to be successful. This process transforms people’s financial future, their relationship with money and wealth and gives them hope. I love that!

What’s your connection to Asia?
I recently spent 3 years living in Singapore which I absolutely loved. This put me in a good position to observe the other Asian markets. As a stock trader I am interested in many markets and economies around the world, however the Asian markets have some of the best potential for trading profits. I have traded stocks in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo and I have developed trading systems that work in many other Asian markets as well.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favourite city is Singapore. After living in Singapore for 3 years my family fell in love with the city. Life is great in Singapore for the whole family and the pro-business and investing policies of the government make it a wonderful place to build your financial future as well.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
On a personal front: Find something you love, throw all your energy and passion into it.
On the wealth front: Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Take control of your finances and always accept 100% responsibility for your investment decisions.

Who inspires you?
My wife Stephanie inspires me. Her commitment to everything she does, her compassion, her insights into people and her ability to uplift those around her, make me want to be a better person.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
No matter what we think we know, there will always be a different perspective that can change our opinion. In my own trading, I continually find that the truths I cling to are not absolute and they can be misleading if held onto dogmatically. Striking a balance between taking a stance and knowing when to change that stance based on new information is critical in all areas of life.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken more action earlier on. My fear of mistakes (which still limits me on occasions, like most people) has always proven to be baseless. Playing small to avoid the embarrassment or pain of mistakes is very limiting and I would have taken more action earlier, if I had my time again.

How do you unwind?
To unwind I like to read, meditate, run and ride my mountain bike in the forest.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I just love the small island resort at Batu Batu. It is beautiful, isolated, quiet and surrounded by clean water, full of sealife. After a week at the resort I felt like a different person.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. This book teaches the art of clear and structured communication. My time working as a business strategy consultant gave me a great appreciation for the importance of communication in business. Clear and effective communication can solve a myriad of challenges in your business and professional life, and as a strong communicator your employment prospects, business relationships, team performance and family life are all dramatically improved.

Shameless plug for your business:
Enlightened Stock Trading ( is the only stock market trading education business that empowers you, as an individual trader. It shows you how to design and test your own unique stock trading system that fits YOUR Personality, Objectives and Lifestyle. We have no conflicts of interest and we are focused on teaching you how to trade stocks profitably in a way that fits your life.
After working through the Enlightened Stock Trader Certification Program you will find yourself confident and empowered with your own battle tested trading system and trading plan to guide you through the markets.

How can people connect with you?
Email me directly at [email protected] or through my Facebook Page (

Twitter handle?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here:

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