Stephanie Foster is one of those amazing women who makes you just want to know more about her and her rise to the top of becoming one of the most inspirational leaders in the financial services industry. While I’ve never had the privilege to meet Stephanie personally, I became acquainted with her during the pandemic and following her on LinkedIn. I knew I had to know more about this intriguing woman and share her story. We are so grateful to her for allowing us to share a bit more about her, her achievements, and what motivates her to continue onward and upward.
– Maree Moscati, CEO CTPRP
Chief Administrative Officer
XY Planning Network
Tell us something about yourself that most people aren’t aware of.
Stephanie: I would say that most people aren’t aware that I was actually in a beauty pageant, going up for Miss Florida. I had just graduated from college and had a job secured, but there was some lag time before I started my position. Since I had such an interest in pageantry and fashion, my friends were saying I should enter this pageant, even though I had no experience. I did, and it was one of the most fun experiences of my life. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think that it is good to be brave once in a while. I was able to use my business skills when networking at the pageant, and if I had to go back, I would definitely do it again.
Share how your career path positioned you to be where you are today.
Stephanie: I have had my eye on the C-Suite for as long as I can remember. From an early age, my mother always encouraged me to not only participate in extra-curricular activities but also to run for officer roles. My first leadership role in middle school was as President of the English Club at Institution du Sacré-Coeur in Haiti.
My parents immigrated to the US, and after graduating high school, I landed my dream internship with a Fortune 500 company, traveling all over the Caribbean, working in marketing, events, and operations for four summers. This internship converted into a full-time opportunity upon graduating college, leading me on the path to the C-Suite. I was lucky in that I spent many years with one firm and was able to work my way up in that company. I went from managing events and grassroots strategy and execution for the US Market, to leading the expansion of our second money transfer brand throughout the Caribbean, to rolling out new products and services in the French islands under the Payment Services Directive (PSD). I eventually pursued leadership roles in Go-To-Market and Product Management in SaaS in an effort to round out my resumé.
In the recent months, I made a move to the wealth management / financial planning side of the finance industry into XY Planning Network, which was a shift for me in both the job role and the physical location. Since XY is headquartered in Montana, my family and I moved out to Bozeman from Atlanta. We are loving the different pace of life and just having the space to really experience the nature that’s right outside our door. The fact there are 12 breweries in a town of less than 50,000 in population played no role in convincing my husband of this relocation (smile).
I would say that one of the decisions I made that most influenced my career is that I invest in networking and professional development. In my personal budget, I have a savings bucket that is earmarked so that I can continue to intentionally sharpen my professional skills through continued education, certifications, and conferences. Throughout the years, I think that intentional networking, strategic development of skills has been really key to my ability to continue taking on leadership positions.
Talk to us about the role of mentorship in your career.
Stephanie: I would have to say that one of the most impactful things I’ve done is to build a personal advisory board of mentors who have helped me throughout my career, as well as hiring an executive coach. I think this blend of more informal and personal mentorship combined with a business relationship has been critical. The executive coach I hired specializes in working with Black women and our unique challenges in the business sector, and having other women on my personal advisory board has also helped me navigate various challenges throughout my career. I’ve been in this business for almost 20 years, and if I had advice to give to my younger self, it would be to hire an executive coach much earlier on. I sometimes think, “Imagine where I would be if I had started this 10 years ago!” But I’m so glad I did that, and I’m so grateful for the mentorship I’ve received throughout my career.
Bonus Question: You mentioned a love for fashion. What's a quick fashion tip?
Stephanie: I have to say my go-tos right now are the following: a colorful MAC lipstick (I like red and purple), statement jewelry, and stylish but comfortable shoes. That’s all you need to elevate an outfit.
Stephanie Foster serves as the Chief Administrative Officer at XY Planning Network. In her role, she oversees the firm’s business operations including finance, legal, internal technology, data analytics, and facilities. She has been in Fintech for the last 20 years and has climbed the corporate ladder at a number of Fortune 500 companies and private equity owned firms. Stephanie was named one of the Electronic Transaction Association’s (ETA) Forty Under 40 for 2019, an annual award that celebrates gamechangers in the payments technology industry. In 2018, she was selected from a list of 500 international nominees to participate in Money 20/20’s inaugural Rise Up program, an exclusive cohort of 35 women leaders in the financial services ecosystem.
As part of her commitment to strengthening diversity and inclusion in her industry, Stephanie helped found Women Driving Innovation with the mission to connect, inspire and showcase the next generation of female thought leaders in the technology industry. She has served as a member of the Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions’ (Wnet) Advisory Board for several years. Stephanie is trilingual (Creole, English, French). She received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Barry University and an Executive Master of Business Administration in international business from Florida Atlantic University.