Our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini-interview below!

A bit about Simone

An Italian born in England, I would define myself as a Payments’ geek, passionate about product management and growing product teams. I love challenges and changing the status quo. Currently, I am leading the Global Product team for the Mastercard Gateway, previously in Bancoposta, PayPal and Banca Popolare di Milano.

How did you start out in your career?

Back in 2002, I was dreaming of working in the marketing team of a Consumer Product multinational, but I found myself entering almost by chance in the Cards product team in a Bank….and never left the Digital Payments/Tech industry and the Product Management side of the business.

What are the signs of success in your field?

In the digital payments industry, it is of course all about the number of transactions, acceptance points and digital payment options that replace cash payments.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

I love that there is never a dull moment, you continue to innovate and learn, especially when you have a Global remit as I currently have, as each Region or Country has a completely different set of needs/trends/regulations. I think the worst things aren’t specifically linked to my job, as failures are always a great way to learn. The worst is usually coming from the wrong culture in the office, micromanagement, lack of respect, lack of diversity; the Payments industry has still a long way to go before we reach a good level of diversity and equality.

What can you advise someone just starting out in your industry to be successful?

Be passionate, learn, talk, ask questions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes….if you find yourself in an environment where these things aren’t welcome, move away.

How do you switch off?

I’ll be honest, it’s quite difficult because I really love tech and payments; my wife is in the same industry as well, I enjoy staying on top of new trends and also playing with AI image generation or creating my own GPTs……but it’s not always about tech, I love my family and daughters, spending time with them and, as most Italians, I love food, so cooking, eating with friends or going out to find amazing restaurants is what I call a perfect day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Talk more, don’t be afraid to engage with people, ask questions and make yourself seen. It’s not easy when you’re an introvert, but as a Product Manager you should be passionate about asking questions.

What is next for you?

I am too much in love with Product Management and Tech to see myself in other areas, so probably I will continue in this journey and maybe, at some point, jump into a smaller reality to lead product at a C-level.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

Probably I would evaluate a Coaching side-hustle, as it seems people like me as a mentor and I am able to connect empathetically with them and understand how to help them in their professional growth.

What are your top 5 predictions in your industry for the next 5 years?

This is almost impossible with the rate of change we are seeing in the industry right now…ten years ago I could work on a 5-year strategic plan with an 80% degree of certainty, right now it’s almost impossible to see anything beyond a year. So, from my perspective, I need to work to make sure my products/platforms and strategies are as open and flexible as possible and able to adapt to new tech disruptions or new services. Surely I will see AI becoming more and more important in reducing the waste of time and resources on repetitive/low value activities like documentation, search, generation of content, analysis. From a Product Management perspective, it’s really exciting as it will unlock time for more strategic and innovative activities.

Watch Simone’s panel on Inclusive Design: Building Digital Products for Everyone here.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our panel!