Interviews, Lifestyle, News

International Women’s Day 2022 – Spotlight on Leonie Belz

Leonie Belz – Payments Product Manager


Q: Tell me about your past experience and what has shaped your career to date?

I’m originally from Germany. While I was in my first year of doing my Bachelor’s in Business Psychology, I got the opportunity to start working at a management consultancy alongside university. And that really got me hooked – I loved having to think logically to identify issues, and come up with strategic solutions. After I finished university, I started working as a Management Consultant full time.

During the London 2012 Olympic Games, my mum and I came to London and I absolutely loved it – so years later, something kept on drawing me back to the UK. As I wanted to complete a Master’s degree, I decided to pack my bags, leave Germany and move to Brighton, UK, for a masters in Project Management. I was only meant to stay for a year, but after completing my degree I wasn’t quite ready to go back yet. I was offered a job at a boutique management consultancy with a focus on payments, which I decided to join. For several exciting years, I worked on projects for a range of clients – amongst them banks, fintechs, critical infrastructure providers and industry bodies.  

Even just a few years ago, I don’t think there’s anyone who would have said when they are young, ‘You know what I really want to do, I really want to work in payments’. So a lot of the time you come into this industry by a series of circumstances. But today, with all the neo insurers and neo banks, the industry is becoming more and more attractive to get into. For me, finding that area that really interests you is really fundamental; and I can honestly say today that I’m hugely passionate about payments – to me, all the ongoing innovation is exciting, fast paced, and creative.

So after nearly a decade in management consulting, I joined Vitesse in early 2021. I think the main thing I’ve been able to take away from consulting is having an analytical and strategic approach to everything I touch, which has been really helpful in my role at Vitesse.

Q: What is your role at Vitesse? What does a typical day look like? 

I look after our Payments Products, so all the different payout methods that we offer to our customers. This ranges from our global network of domestic, in-country accounts, to our SWIFT routes, as well as our new innovative payment methods such as our pay to card proposition and eChecks.

On one hand, I make sure that all of our payment solutions are running smoothly on a day-to-day and are meeting the needs of our customers. For this, I’m working closely with a number of teams such as operations, RM/sales and Dev, as well as our customers to deliver a seamless experience.

On the other hand, I am constantly working to extend our suite of products. That can be about adding in new currencies/countries we can pay to, developing brand new products, or enhancing our proposition for existing products. We have a very long list of things we want to do, so managing our roadmap and prioritising what we’re going to tackle next is key.

Key to Vitesse, and my role particularly, is ensuring our proposition is fit for purpose – not just today, but also tomorrow. For that, I’m constantly looking at new emerging payment types and market trends/innovations, so we can try and anticipate what our customers might be looking for in the future. That involves a lot of research on market developments, keeping a finger on the pulse with how technology is advancing across Europe, APAC and the US, and understanding how these innovations can enhance our offering. We can then try to proactively add these new products into our suite of payment solutions.

Attending events, now that they are opening back up again to the market, also helps me to get a good sense of direction as to what area the industry is moving into – for example, currently a big focus in insurance is on a more instant, seamless claimants experience, largely driven by neo-insurers. This intel confirms that our pay to card solution, where we can settle to a claimant’s card within 30 minutes, is delivering what our clients, and more important their customers, need and want.

So overall my working day is wonderfully varied and each day feels like a different one!


Q: What do you enjoy most about your role at Vitesse?

I joined Vitesse during the pandemic so I had to go through onboarding digitally, which was a pretty new process for me. But despite that everyone made such an effort to get to know me, even though we were all looking at each other through a screen. It was nice coming back to the office and meeting everyone in person for the first time.

I feel like I’ve become part of Vitesse at a very exciting time in the company’s journey – we’re on a huge growth trajectory, but still small enough that everything is personable and you can see how each individual is having an impact.

Being part of building a company to scale gives me the opportunity to do lots of different things; one day it could be sitting down with our dev team to work on the intricacies of what the payment rule requirements looks like for a new payout route, the next day I might be writing a wider strategy piece or supporting customer queries. It’s the variety I really like and the team around me is just amazing.

Dynamic is such a powerful word; and Vitesse gives me that opportunity to be exactly that. I have the flexibility and empowerment to come into the office when I need to and when suits my life, and to have a team that not just supports but encourages that is refreshing. It’s all about what you can bring to the team and if you’re good at what you do, you get the recognition.

Q: What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received?

One of the most significant mentors in my life, the CEO at my previous company, always encouraged us to think about the story you’re telling to people. By that I mean: be clear on who you’re talking to, their context, and the outcome you’re looking to get out of the conversation. This allows you to devise the key compelling messages you need in order take people on a journey with you. This approach is something I now feed into every single email, meeting or piece of work I do.

Secondly, and really important for International Women’s Day is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I think that’s something women need to do more; the worst answer you can get is a no so why not try? My experience has been that people respect you for asking and it’s ok if someone says no.

Q: What would you say your biggest achievement is? 

Back in my consulting days, one of the topical areas I worked in quite heavily was real-time payments, and supporting some of our customers on bids to build critical national infrastructures for RTP. I managed quite a few large contract global projects, with people involved across time zones from all the way on the US west coast to the Middle East. Seeing all of that come together at the end of a lot of months of hard work was very satisfying and rewarding.

Personally, I am proud of the life and career I’ve built for myself in the UK – I moved here on my own in my early 20s, not knowing anyone or having any family. And a few years later, I’m just really pleased with where my life is at the moment. I’m super grateful for the opportunity to keep growing with the company and all colleagues at Vitesse.

Q: What do you like doing in your spare time?

I have a little puppy which I like to take on walks and because she’s young, she needs a lot of training, which I really enjoy doing. And when I was younger, I used to represent Germany as an international dressage rider, so horses are still a very big passion of mine.

Also, I like reading…I read a lot. Currently I’m reading the Wheel of Time series; it’s 14 books at around 500-600 pages each, they are definitely keeping me busy!  


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