Spotlight Series: A Conversation with Stephanie Keam
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 Stephanie Keam, Product Marketing 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?
Stephanie Keam: I started my career in public relations, where I focused on projects for several clients. During the pandemic, my partner and I developed a couple of mobile apps, so that sparked my interest in going into tech and into a broader marketing role. I also really loved talking to customers in an investigative way that identified what they liked and needed from their products.
When I found the Associate Product Marketing Manager role at PayNearMe, it was a great combination of all of the things I love—talking to customers, working with a strong product in tech and leveraging my strategic mindset. Since then, I’ve been promoted to Product Marketing Manager.
Q: Have you always wanted to pursue a career in Product Marketing/Tech?
SK: No, I actually majored in broadcast journalism, but later decided I wanted a more behind-the-scenes role, which is what led me to public relations. My very first marketing job was a copywriter at a start-up, and I absolutely loved it. From there, I wanted to find a more strategic role with a tech company that I felt had a strong product that I understood and could actually use.
Q: How has PayNearMe helped you in your career development?
SK: There is a very strong sense of community at PayNearMe, along with a lot of strong women in leadership positions, and I feel like I have access to them for support. Because of those two things, I feel like I’m empowered to try things outside of my comfort zone. I’m a big fan of this type of environment because I believe that when you try things that are a little scary, you grow the most.
When I started my role as Associate Product Marketing Manager, it was a new role within the company, and I’ve had the opportunity to build out the function and help set the foundation for what product marketing will be at PayNearMe. I’ve been empowered and given the autonomy to build out new processes that make my job easier and help us achieve our goals with less friction, so it’s been an incredible journey that’s allowed me to stretch in ways I never thought I would!
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?
SK: At some point, fintech was probably brand new to everyone, so be okay with not understanding everything from the start, and give yourself permission to ask questions and learn things in a way that makes sense for you. When I started, there would be times when concepts or products were explained to me and I didn’t initially understand, so I had to get to the point where I felt comfortable going back and asking my colleagues to explain things again—sometimes in a different way that made it click for me.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about working at PayNearMe?
SK: I get really excited about big ideas, and PayNearMe has so many team members who share that same passion, so it’s really great to work with motivated and passionate people.
There’s also an incredible amount of diversity in personality and thought at PayNearMe. Given that we’re a geographically dispersed company, we have team members from across the country with so many different interests and backgrounds, and we learn so much from each other.
Q: You have a pretty demanding role. What do you do to maintain work/life balance?
SK: I started meditating using the Calm App to help me relax. Our People Team provides great resources such as bringing in guest speakers to teach us skills like breathing exercises and encourages team members to take breaks so we don’t burn out.
Q: Let’s shift the focus to your role. What does a day in the life of a Product Marketer look like?
SK: Every day is different. Some days I spend a lot of time doing research on new verticals, specific buyers or talking to customers. Other days I spend time doing project planning which is essentially aligning different departments toward a common goal of something such as a product launch. At times I feel like an orchestra conductor because I’m helping different departments and functions throughout the company align on not only a common goal, but a specific timeline, when everyone has different priorities.
Q: Let’s talk about remote work. How are you able to stay connected with your team virtually?
SK: As a company and within my team, we make time to decompress and chat on a personal level. We’re a really close knit team, and we have several tools that help streamline our ability to communicate and collaborate on projects.
Q: How have you grown professionally and personally since you joined PayNearMe?
SK: I’ve found my voice and learned to be more assertive when it comes to offering my opinions and recommendations. A big part of that has been learning how to trust myself and leaning into the fact that although I may be newer to the team or the youngest person in the proverbial room, I have a unique skillset and I bring value to the organization.
Q: So what about you—what kinds of activities or hobbies are you interested in outside of work?
SK: I love cooking! I enjoy finding new recipes and restaurants and figuring out how to make those dishes my own. I’ll follow the recipe the first time, but the next time, I’ll get creative and riff on it to make it my own, which basically means add more garlic!
I pretty much enjoy doing anything creative that involves working with my hands. My partner and I have recently been taking on home renovation projects, so we’re basically living out our Chip and Joanna Gaines dreams!
Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
SK: Something that’s been peaking my interest lately is pottery making. It seems so peaceful!
Q: Do you have any fun facts you’d like to share with us?
SK: I make a really good chimichurri sauce!
Q: Do you participate in any volunteer work or have any organizations you’d like to shine a light on?
SK: I am really passionate about donating to Doctors Without Borders. The organization provides medical services and supplies to countries around the world, and my donations go specifically to assist people in Cambodia.