Payment Expert’s ID Check: Payments Professionals offers insight from industry leaders and experts on how they got their start in the financial industry, from their early years in education, to how they have been able to climb the corporate ladder. 

This week, Parker Crockford, Chief Revenue Officer at InsurTech Qover, explores how his learnings in religion had a profound effect on his journey to the payments industry, as well as the fundamental importance of adaptability when it pertains to emerging technologies disrupting the industry. 

Where did you go to university and what did you study? What impact did this have on your current journey?

Parker Crockford, Chief Revenue Officer of Qover

I attended the University of Pittsburgh in the US, where I pursued a degree in Religious Studies and Classics. While these fields may seem unrelated to my current professional endeavours at first glance, they have enriched my perspective and ability to engage in complex discussions. 

Whether it’s during informal dinners or networking events, I often find myself in thought-provoking and interesting conversations beyond my day-to-day job. 

Were you part of any sports clubs or societies at university and has this influenced your educational and professional development?

I spent many years wrestling, immersing myself in the discipline and challenges this sport offered. This experience not only shaped my character but also instilled in me invaluable qualities that have greatly influenced both my educational journey and professional trajectory.

The demanding nature of the sport cultivated a strong work ethic within me, pushing me to continuously strive for improvement and overcome obstacles with resilience. These skills have undoubtedly shaped my professional journey over the past 15 years. 

In highly dynamic and competitive industries, such as the ones I’ve been fortunate to work in, tenacity, discipline, and adaptability have been invaluable assets.

Did you have any jobs outside of the industry before making your start in it and was this experience a motivation to get into the industry you aspired to be in? 

Prior to entering the payment and insurance industry, I gained valuable experience in the mobile gaming industry and with an Android app development agency. This exposure provided me with a unique point, offering insights into the growing field of mobile payments and its transformative impact on our society and behaviours.

What was the first job you had in the industry and are there any lessons from this you still draw on?

My journey in the industry began with a role at a pioneering mobile payment company during a period of evolution. Joining at a time when payment facilitator licences were emerging as standard practice in the market, I was thrown into a fast-paced environment where adaptability and quick learning were paramount.

Navigating the intricacies of the payment ecosystem proved to be a trial by fire, requiring me to rapidly grasp the nuances of emerging technologies, regulatory frameworks, and shifting market dynamics. 

This experience provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the evolving landscape and equipped me with invaluable insights that continue to shape my approach to the industry.

Who was your biggest role model outside of the payments industry who continues to inspire you in your current career?

Outside of the payments industry, my biggest role model is Zvi Feine from the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee), with whom I had the privilege of working during my tenure at an international non-profit organisation. Zvi’s leadership style and personal philosophy have left a mark on my approach to both professional and personal life, serving as a constant source of inspiration and guidance.

One of the most impactful lessons I learned from Zvi is the importance of empathy and active listening in fostering meaningful connections and collaboration. He imparted invaluable wisdom regarding the balance between career aspirations and personal well-being. His insistence on making time for family and prioritising relationships outside of work resonated deeply with me. 

Zvi’s reminder to always answer the phone when family calls, regardless of how busy one may be, underscores the importance of maintaining perspective on what truly matters in life.

When was your first big break in the payments industry? Why was this such a significant moment for you?

My biggest breakthrough in the payments industry came with the opportunity to join Onfido, where I spearheaded the transformation of remote Know Your Customer (KYC) processes across Europe and the US. There, I recognised the profound impact that mobile payments were having on businesses and individuals alike. 

As companies increasingly embraced digital transactions, the need for seamless and secure remote onboarding became paramount. My role in driving the transformation of remote KYC processes allowed me to witness first-hand the power of technology to transform traditional practices and reshape industry standards.

Was there a moment you faced in the industry that really challenged you? How did you overcome this? 

The biggest challenge I have encountered in the payments industry so far was navigating the intersection of new technology and regulatory frameworks, particularly in the context of remote onboarding processes. 

It stemmed from the need to reconcile emerging technological advancements with the spirit and intent of existing regulations, a task that required proactive engagement and strategic dialogue with regulatory authorities. 

Understanding how innovative technologies could be leveraged to facilitate remote onboarding while remaining compliant with regulatory requirements posed a complex puzzle. To address this challenge, I adopted a multi-faceted approach that centred on collaboration, education, and open communication. I engaged directly with regulators to facilitate a mutual understanding of the capabilities and implications of new technology. 

Lastly, what is some advice you would give to an aspiring person looking to get a start in your respective industry?

Anyone aspiring to enter the payments industry, my advice is to stay curious about emerging technologies and market trends, while demonstrating dedication and a strong work ethic. Build relationships and network with industry professionals to gain insights and opportunities. Embrace innovation and adaptability. 

Hard work does pay off in the future, and there is a big difference between those who say they will do something and others who let their actions speak for themselves.