Beth Dubyak is the President of Vincent Payment Solutions, a UPMC Enterprises portfolio company that enables organizations to issue anonymous reloadable stored-value debit cards. The company, which UPMC and University of Pittsburgh launched as a joint venture in 2017, offers a flexible methodology to execute payments to individuals outside of the traditional accounts payable vendor structure.
Dubyak’s career began at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh in treasury management – a position that started her on a journey to Philadelphia, Florida, and then back to Pittsburgh. Along the way, Dubyak founded her own treasury service consultancy company that she ran for 19 years before coming to UPMC.
We sat down with Dubyak to learn more about her path to Vincent and the hurdles that she’s had to jump to make launching a startup a success.
Before Enterprises, you worked primarily for banks and within the treasury space – what brought you to UPMC?
When I launched my own consultancy business, UPMC was a client of mine. I assisted UPMC on several projects and worked with many of their vendors. Throughout my work, I became very close with Linda Zang, Assistant Treasurer of UPMC. I was lucky to work on a project that Linda and her team were building from the ground up. It was a payment solution for UPMC and Pitt called WePay, which over the course of 10 years processed more than $40 million in payments to over 600,000 research participants.
In May 2016, the WePay project was proposed to be a portfolio company at UPMC Enterprises. I was chosen as an Executive in Residence in charge of the project. A year later in August 2017, Vincent Payment Solutions was launched as the next generation of WePay software, and I became the President.
You started in the corporate treasury environment, moved to consultancy, and now you’re in the startup realm. What do you see here that you haven’t seen elsewhere?
The pursuit of perfection. In many ways it’s great; our developers and programmers are creating things that have never been produced before that are nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, sometimes this pursuit can be never ending. What I’ve learned from my past experiences is that having something – no matter if it’s perfect or not – is better than nothing.
I have a saying I like to use with my team: “Rags-Goodwill-Macy’s-Prada.” The idea is that for a person wearing rags in the freezing cold, the chance to put on a sweater from Goodwill is a gift. Our customers are coming from wearing rags and we’re giving them Goodwill sweaters. But we’re going to outfit them in pea coats from Macy’s, and eventually they’ll be wearing Prada.
Looking back, what is one key learning that you always come back to?
Every product fits a need. Know the products. Know the need. When I worked in the treasury and corporate world, I supported thousands of services. I needed to understand what each service did so that I could sell-sell-sell. When I moved into consultancy, I was trying to find services to solve my clients’ problems. What I found was that I was overwhelmed with options. Fortunately, understanding my clients’ needs – and knowing the services available – I was able to select the best one. Now, at Vincent, I’m looking at our potential customers’ problems and seeing where we can fit to be their best option.
A fun way to think about this is that a restaurant might offer 7,000 sauces for a pretzel, but all you need is beer cheese. Knowing to look for the beer cheese right away, and not toward the 6,999 other sauces saves you time and energy. And you won’t get hangry!
You’re a self-defined go-getter. Is there an opportunity you jumped at that others may have overlooked you for? How’d you make it happen?
When I was at Mellon Bank we acquired a bank in Philadelphia, and Mellon needed people to go there and work on the integration. Not many people were interested in picking up and moving and no one was asking me. But, seeing the opportunity to grow quickly in a new city, I raised my hand and told them I wanted it. And, I got it. From that moment forward, I made my expectations known. People won’t know that you want something unless you tell them – so speak up.
Having worked now in a startup environment for two years, do you miss anything from the more formal work environments of the finance industry?
Nothing! For the first time, I’m in a role and environment where I have to steer and not row. And, to make things better, I’ve got the best rowers in the world and a map to success. Away we go!
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