Spotlight Series: A Conversation with Harper Evans

Spotlight Series
January 18, 2024

In the PayNearMe Spotlight Series, we shine a light on the people that make our company thrive. In this month’s interview, we sat down with Harper Evans, QA Manager, to chat about her role in the company, why she loves working at PayNearMe and her life outside of work.

Q: Can you tell us about your career journey and what led you to PayNearMe? 

Harper Evans: I started my career as a front-end developer. I have always been excited about technology. In fact, I worked at a computer store before I learned to code. 

Prior to joining PayNearMe, I worked at six different startups, one of which was a company that was focused on making the internet more accessible for people with disabilities, and I really enjoyed that work. Eventually I landed at PayNearMe because of a word-of-mouth referral from a friend. 

Q: Have you always wanted to pursue a career in QA/tech?

HE: I definitely knew I always wanted to work in tech. When I first began to code, I learned that you have to test your work, and I realized that was something I could make an entire career out of. So I started studying how to be great at quality assurance (QA), and the rest is history! 

Q: How has PayNearMe helped you in your career development?

HE: PayNearMe really invests in its employees’ personal growth and development. I’ve been able to take a lot of classes that have helped me in specific areas of coding and development. 

More importantly, though, at PayNearMe, we are not afraid to embrace new technology and that challenges everyone on the team to learn and develop new skill sets. 

Q: Do you have any advice to share with those who are just getting into the fintech industry who might want to join a company like PayNearMe? 

HE: The most important thing is to be flexible. Specifically when it comes to fintech, it’s important to be naturally curious about the ecommerce and bill pay worlds. People are living in the gig economy and if you’re paying attention to these trends, in order to be successful, you have to learn to match the needs of your clients with the needs of their end customers. The future of fintech is making it easier for people to pay their bills and providing them with more payment options.   

Q: What are some of your favorite things about working at PayNearMe?

HE: I really appreciate the flexibility of working at PayNearMe. I’ve been remote for quite some time which is standard in tech, but at PayNearMe, there is an understanding that if you need time off to pick up your child or deal with a sick family member, it’s understood, and your team rallies around you as a support system. 

Q: PayNearMe’s Core Values are Together, Do the Right Thing, Results-Driven, Transparent, Flexible and Respectful. Which one most resonates with you and why?

HE: Transparency. What that means to me day-to-day is that my team and I are all open with each other. We remain respectful, but we have an open dialogue and we feel safe to communicate bad news. As the QA team, sometimes we have to deliver bad news, but when you are transparent, while still being respectful, you build a strong rapport within the team and cross-functionally. 

Q: Let’s shift the focus to your role. What does a day in the life of a QA Manager look like?

HE: My ultimate goal is to make it easy for my team to do their job. I think most people can relate to this, but one of the challenges of being a senior-level developer is you get pulled into so many meetings! This can take time away from being productive, so my job is to be the shield for my team. I help disseminate information, project plan and focus on the big picture so my team can concentrate on doing their best work. 

Q: Let’s talk about remote work. How are you able to stay connected with your team virtually?

HE: We have a daily standup that is really important for coworking efforts. This meeting allows us to share what we’re working on individually and bounce ideas off each other. This really helps everyone stay connected. 

My relationship with each one of my team members grows because of 1:1 meetings. This time allows us to build rapport and a working relationship that fosters open communication and sense of support and safety. 

Q: What are three things you have to have on your desk each day for a productive workday?

HE: I have this very cute pink clock on my desk that is set to the Pacific time zone. I live on the East Coast, but most of my employees are on the West Coast, so in order to be respectful of their time—and to avoid having to do time-zone math on the fly—this clock helps me so much when scheduling!

I also am a big fan of color-coded sticky notes and I have a large collection of gel pens. I am one of those people that has to write things down, and the color-coded sticky note system really helps me stay organized and sets me up for success.

Q: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself while working at PayNearMe?

HE: I like being appreciated and praised. At PayNearMe, I am adequately compensated and praised. I’ve learned that people who feel appreciated, have adequate compensation and time off always go above and beyond! 

Q: So what about you—what kinds of activities or hobbies are you interested in outside of work?

HE: I’m a big gamer. I spend most of my free time playing video games. I really enjoy first-person shooter games. I also enjoy going to arts festivals. I’m involved with different art organizations in my community. 

Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

HE: I want to be my boss, Tony Robinson! I am so impressed with him every single day. He has it together; he’s organized, always polite and respectful. I have a ton of respect for him.

Q: Any fun facts you’d like to share with us?

HE: I have been at PayNearMe for almost 2.5 years, and you guys are stuck with me! I see myself working at PayNearMe for another decade. I could easily see myself being a “lifer!” 

Q: Do you participate in any volunteer work or have any organizations you’d like to shine a light on?

HE: I am the co-founder of a cat rescue called Back Street Kittens. We focus on socializing feral kittens and finding them loving and safe homes.   

This has been a passion project for me, and it’s another one of the things that I love about working at PayNearMe. The flexibility allows me to give back to my community in this way because if I have a rescue kitten that needs to be bottle-fed, I can take a 20 minute break to feed a sweet kitten!

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