Pizza, Puzzles and Payment Processing: Bring Your Child to Work Day 2019

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On April 18th, Payscout held its annual Bring Your Child to Work Day across the Los Angeles and New Jersey offices. Throughout the day, the children learned about what we do at Payscout, and got a first-hand experience of our award-winning culture!

The kids started off the day meeting new friends and reuniting with old friends, both in-person and across the country via live feed. After many intense rounds of Bingo and with tummies full of pizza, they learned about payment processing, and what better way to do so than with cookies! Using their Payscout dollars and Payscout cards, the kids learned about the Payscout mission by supporting the entrepreneurial dream one cookie box transaction at a time.

See below for some of our favorite moments from the day!

We would like to send a big thank you to all the kids, parents, and everyone who helped make this such a fun-filled day.

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Payscout Reflects on Second Year as a Champion

Payscout is reflecting on its second full year as a Champion with the Jefferson Awards Foundation.  Two years ago today, Payscout partnered with JAF, the nation’s most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to powering and celebrating service.

Over the past year, Payscout has continued its involvement with Students in Action, participating in the Fall and Winter Training in Los Angeles, as well as the annual Competition in both New Jersey and Los Angeles.  The Payscout team has volunteered their time with Van Nuys Middle School and were proud to see the students earn a gold-level banner award for their accomplishments.

Payscout activated the Lead 360 project and donated more than 200 Emma’s Art Kits to the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.  

Payscout is proud to have generated the world’s first donation made in virtual reality to the Jefferson Awards Foundation.    

In May, Payscout, the Greater LA JAF team, and several SIA students and families attended opening day for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, thanks to tickets provided by Christine Simmons, President & COO of the Sparks. Ms. Simmons announced the donation while addressing the SIA students at the Winter Training at UCLA.

The Students in Action teams from schools in the San Fernando Valley area were honored by their council members at the Los Angeles City Council spring meeting, which was a tremendous educational opportunity for the students.

In recognition of her work with Payscout Gives and JAF, Payscout nominated Erica Boatman-Dixon as employee volunteer of the year, giving her the opportunity to travel to Washington DC in June to the JAF National Ceremony. There she had the opportunity to interact with recognized volunteers from around the country and meet with congressional representatives from California.

It is clear that 2018-2019 will be another enriching and exciting year for Payscout as a JAF Champion.  Changes are on the horizon with JAF and Payscout’s involvement, so continue reading this blog for more announcements about our partnership.

For more information on Payscout activities conducted during the first year as a Champion, click here.

You can also watch this brief video which highlights Payscout and other organizations involvement with the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

These efforts continue to serve as an example of our Belief, that every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place!

Payscout’s Erica Boatman-Dixon Recognized by the Jefferson Awards Foundation

Erica from Payscout at JAF

In support of our Belief that every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place, Payscout serves as a Champion with the Jefferson Award Foundation (JAF), the nation’s most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to inspiring and celebrating public service.  

Each Champion organization is given the opportunity to select one employee as its outstanding employee volunteer of the year.  

This year, Erica Boatman-Dixon was selected for her volunteer efforts, which include organizing activities for Students in Action at Van Nuys Middle School and working on Lead 360 activations and overall support of the Greater Los Angeles JAF team. As a reward for being selected as the employee volunteer of the year, Erica had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, to attend the annual JAF National Ceremony, the gathering of national leaders, grassroots heroes, and Students in Action Teams to celebrate the best of public service in America.  The National Ceremony activities took place from June 27 through June 29 and provided an opportunity to connect with other JAF Champion award recipients, community and celebrity award recipients, Students In Action teams and media partner award recipients.  

Recipients were given the opportunity to take a tour of many of the historical monuments in the National Mall on Wednesday evening to get to know one another.  On Thursday morning a Welcome Breakfast was held giving each award recipient the opportunity to address attendees and share their story. “There were numerous stories of triumph over tragedy and how loss compelled people to give back to the community,” said Erica. “We need a Welcome Breakfast like this every day,” she added.  

During the afternoon recipients had a chance to visit their Senator or Representative.  The California contingent visiting the offices of Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein included:  the Greater Los Angeles SIA competition winning student team from Sage Oak and the students from the Convent & Stuart Hall Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, JAF Greater Los Angeles Executive Director Myla Rahman, San Francisco Program Manager Kim Bonney, and two award recipients from San Francisco, recognized for their efforts for assisting homeless women sleeping in their vehicles in Monterey and providing gifts for less fortunate children during the holiday season.  Though Ms. Harris and Ms. Feinstein were unable to attend the meetings, the opportunity to share information about community outreach efforts with representatives from each Senator’s office was exciting for all involved.

The day culminated with the evening Gala, a ceremony honoring the best of the best.  This year’s honorees were: Abbie Nelson & Pia Phillips (recognized for outstanding public service by individuals 25 years or younger – for their creation of PAB’s Packs – custom designed backpacks filled with comfort items to teenagers with a chronic diagnosis or repeat hospital visits); Elaine Wynn (recognized for outstanding public service by a private citizen); Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Chris Long (recognized for outstanding public service in professional sports – Chris donated his entire 2017 base salary, worth $1 million, to benefit educational charities).  In addition, five individuals were presented with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for their contributions,

Each Students In Action team that earned the trip to Washington, DC was also eligible for national recognition for their overall achievements.  Though this was their first time participating in Students In Action, Sage Oak earned a bronze level banner for their efforts. An outstanding achievement for the small, but talented group of middle school students of whom we are extremely proud.  Way to go, Sage Oak! Jefferson Awards Foundation CEO Hillary Schaefer closed the National Awards with the following, “ … everyone around you is a powerful reminder of the best spirit of America. Each of us in this room knows that people can realize their true power through service to others.  It is incumbent on all of us to multiply service and multiply the good that it does. We are proud of being at the center of that for 46 years.”

For more information on the Jefferson Awards Foundation and how you can get involved, visit jeffersonawards.org.  

Congratulations to Erica, the students from Sage Oak, and all award recipients.  Payscout will continue to #CelebrateGood with the Jefferson Awards Foundation and other organizations that make the world a better place.  Follow our blog for more Payscout Gives employee engagement and activities.

Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders

On May 21, Payscout People Operations Generalist Ebony McKnight PHR, SHRM-CP spoke at the Partnership UCLA Bruin Development Academy to students on, “How to Differentiate Yourself as a Candidate.” She was joined in the presentation by Payscout COO (and UCLA alum) Juan Sotelo.

The two spoke to UCLA students in the Banking & Finance session of the Bruin Development Academy, a course that covered strategies for success and skills mastery providing students the practical skillset to obtain a job in the banking and finance industries.

This was not the first time Ms. McKnight has shared insights on how to optimize one’s candidacy and land a dream job. The Human Resources subject-matter-expert regularly publishes inspirational posts on her LinkedIn account that are intended to help others find their personal passion, turn that passion into a profession, and lead the life they have always wanted.

This example of thought-leadership not only benefits the students who heard her story, it also aligns with Payscout’s Belief that every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.

Yet another member of the Payscout team is leading by example and demonstrating what it means to give back. Way to go, Ebony!

Payscout #38 Among Largest Minority-Owned Businesses in LA

Payscout has been ranked #38 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2017 list of Largest Minority-Owned Companies in LA.  The Los Angeles Business Journal published their 2017 list of the 100 Largest Minority-Owned Businesses in LA this week. “Largest” is determined by revenue (2016), but the list also denotes the growth percentage of each company.  Remarkably, among the 100 largest minority-owned companies in LA for 2017, Payscout posted the fourth highest growth rate from 2015-2016. That incredible pace of growth is central to the Vision of Payscout, which is to become the thought-leading and fastest-growing global payment processing provider in the world. Companies must be at least 50% minority owned in order to qualify for consideration on the LABJ’s list. Payscout, which is co-owned by Cleveland Brown and Manpreet Singh, is 100% minority owned.

Payscout COO Addresses Bruin Entrepreneurs at UCLA

On Tuesday, May 23, Payscout Chief Operating Officer Juan Sotelo returned to his Alma Mater at UCLA to address the Bruin Entrepreneurs, a student-driven group of future leaders, on the merits of top company cultures.  Sotelo spent over two hours speaking with the budding entrepreneurs about their various business interests/ventures and the importance of strong corporate culture.  Many of the students cited culture as an important criterium for success, and Sotelo provided a framework on how to define and build culture.  Sotelo drew on his extensive experience at Payscout, which has been recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations, and directly impacts company success.  Payscout recently ranked #17 among medium-sized businesses on Entrepreneur’s list of Top Company Cultures for 2017.  “Juan’s advice and experience was very inspiring,” said Justin Liu, Bruin Entrepreneurs Board Member and UCLA Class of 2020. “We feel fortunate to have had the chance to learn from him.”  Sotelo’s volunteerism with UCLA is only one of many recent instances of Payscout executives leading by example and dedicating their valuable time in alignment with Payscout’s Belief that, “every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place. “

Payscout Founder Volunteers on Turban Day

Cultural empathy is a key component of Payscout’s ability to guide entrepreneurs through the process of taking their business cross-border. Cultural empathy is the ability to accept and understand another cultural point of view, and on April 13, Payscout Co-Founder and President Manpreet Singh volunteered his time to support Turban Day, an event designed to engender cultural empathy.  Turban Day was created by Chanpreet Singh, the founder of Sikhs of New York, in an effort to raise awareness and educate people about Sikhism, the world’s 5th largest religion.  The signature feature of the event involves hundreds of volunteers gathering to tie Turbans on people’s heads.  The timing of the event corresponds with the Sikh holiday of Vaisakhi. The first Turban Day took place at Baruch College five years ago. The event has been gaining momentum ever since.  For the event founder, the idea to educate people about Sikhism came from his personal experiences.  “I’ve been called names like terrorist, ISIS. I’ve heard things like ‘Go back to your country,’” Chanpreet Singh said.  He believes it’s up to Sikhs to educate others about their religion, and at Payscout, our Always Learning cultural attribute suggests education is critical to cultural empathy.  It’s easy for a company like Payscout to talk about cultural empathy and applying the principles of the Always Learning attribute to world religions, but without leadership by example, the promotion of these attributes would ring hollow.  The volunteerism of Payscout President and Co-Founder Manpreet Singh, and his support of Turban Day in particular, suggests these attributes are core to the culture Manpreet is helping to create at Payscout.  To learn more about Turban Day and the Sikhs of New York, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sikhturbanday/

The Key to Great Culture? Lead by Example.

Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown spent the morning of February 15 at his alma mater, UCLA, delivering a guest lecture to 75 bright minds in Professor Hopenhayn’s Economics of Entrepreneurship class at the Anderson School of Business.  Coincidentally, the guest lecture he delivered was both about – and itself a reflection of – Payscout’s Culture.  Mr. Brown spoke to the students about achieving their entrepreneurial dreams through a commitment to creating culture through the foundation of a Vision, Mission Statement, Cultural Attributes, and Belief.  “It’s great for these students to learn a logical progression on implementing culture as fundamental to entrepreneurship,” said Hugo Hopenhayn, Professor of Economics at UCLA and a fellow of the Econometric Society. “It is imperative that our students are taught the real world challenges and to have someone that has been in their shoes to lead by example.”  Setting that example, and making the time to volunteer as a guest lecturer at his Alma Mater, is just one of the ways Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown exemplifies Payscout’s Belief, “every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better a place.”  “The Culture is our foundation,” said Brown, “our Vision, Mission, Cultural Attributes, and Belief help guide the decision-making process for our team and make Payscout a great place to work.”  Those benefits of great culture are starting to pay off.  Payscout was recently featured on Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures.  The Top Company Cultures list placed Payscout at #17 among medium-sized businesses.  “Having great culture is the thing we’re most proud of at Payscout,” said Brown. “It’s an honor for me to come to UCLA, live up to our Belief statement, and use this opportunity to speak to the business leaders of tomorrow about the keys to creating great culture.”

How to Build Strong Corporate Culture

Hint: It starts with a little something called VMCB.

At Payscout, our mission is “to support the entrepreneurial dream one transaction at a time.”

We love entrepreneurs because we are entrepreneurs. We know that one of the biggest challenges for a business leader is creating a strong corporate culture that serves as a foundation for the business to grow and scale.

But, how does an entrepreneur go about creating culture? Most are adept at their particular area of business – providing their unique product or service in a way that builds customer loyalty – but many entrepreneurs are not experts in corporate culture.

What if there was a framework or template that entrepreneurs could use to lay the foundation for a strong corporate culture? A corporate culture blueprint that would serve as a decision-making guideline for the company and  also facilitate global scalability.
Well, that framework does exist, and it fits into four simple letters: VMCB.

While delivering a guest lecture at UCLA, Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown discussed this framework when he said: “These are the fundamentals of creating culture. Every entrepreneur should identify a Vision, Mission Statement, Cultural Attributes, and Belief.”

It starts with Vision.

Business leaders are aspirational, but establishing a clearly-defined Vision Statement helps to articulate those aspirations and set a goal for what the leader has set out to achieve. At Payscout, our Vision is “to become the thought leading and fastest growing global payment processing provider in the world.”

The Vision statement sets a course for the company and helps guide employee decision-making. Following on the language in the Vision, every decision can be viewed through this lens. At Payscout, we ask ourselves, “Is this thought leading?” and “Will this help us become the fastest growing?” The Vision not only helps articulate a company’s goals, it helps guide the decision-making that will serve to achieve the goal.

Achieved through our Mission Statement

We opened this blog post with our Mission Statement: “to support the entrepreneurial dream one transaction at a time.” The key terms in the Mission are “support,” “entrepreneurial,” and “one transaction at a time,” which means every potential customer interaction – each individual touchpoint – is an opportunity for the Payscout team to support an entrepreneur in his/her efforts to achieve success.

Supported by our Cultural Attributes

Like the Vision and Mission Statement, every company’s Cultural Attributes will be unique, crafted specifically for their business and their singular approach. Payscout’s eight cultural attributes are: Integrity/Trust, Reliability, Innovation, Feedback Welcomed, Best Idea Wins, Fun, Customer Happiness, and Always Learning. 

As a global payment processing provider, our customers trust us with their money and rely on receiving services in exchange. It is essential to earn that trust by acting with integrity in every touch point with the customer. Transactions must be handled in an efficient and expedient manner, creating the need for both reliability and innovation as other parts of our company culture.

Creating a collaborative work environment can bring out the best in employees, which is why feedback is welcomedfrom every Payscout employee and the best ideas win. Encouraging new ideas, and evaluating them based on merit, helps to foster a spirit of entrepreneurialism among our people; which is exactly how we want them to approach supporting the business:   as if it is their own.

fun working environment creates a healthy atmosphere that encourages staff to excel. By celebrating what brings your company’s vision forward, employee morale can be boosted. Success is there to be enjoyed.

Customer happiness is vital to the health of a small business. In order for a customer to be satisfied with services received, they must have a clear understanding of what services the company provides. For that reason, education is essential, and an entrepreneur must be always learning. It is easy to rest on one’s laurels once a certain level of success is achieved, but in order for a business to truly grow beyond that point, the entrepreneur must grow with it.

Inspired by our Belief

Payscout’s Vision, Mission Statement, and Cultural Attributes are all rooted in the Belief, “every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.”

Taken together, the Vision, Mission Statement, Cultural Attributes, and Belief (VMCB) are the foundation of the Payscout culture. By establishing their own VMCB, entrepreneurs can create a foundation for a strong corporate culture that will pay significant dividends in the long run.

What’s the payoff of creating strong corporate culture?

Here are two examples: In a recent employee climate survey at Payscout, 97.3% of employees agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I would recommend this as a good place to work to my friends and family.” There is perhaps, no better measure of employee satisfaction, but that’s just one measure of great culture. Payscout was recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing privately-held companies by Inc. Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The company ranked #2,416 in 2014, #434 in 2015, and #383 in 2016 on the Inc. 500/5000 list. That is a direct benefit of the strong corporate culture that was established at Payscout – and establishing the VMCB and utilizing it for decision making is the secret.

So, now that you have the secret to creating strong corporate culture, get out there and achieve your entrepreneurial dream.