Payscout COO Is Recognized with Prestigious Board Position

Juan Sotelo

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Jefferson Awards Foundation recently honored Payscout Chief Operating Officer Juan Sotelo with an appointment as chair of their advisory board. Since joining the board in 2016, Sotelo’s commitment to altruism and innovative business acumen consistently stood out to both local and national leadership of the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

The honor would likely come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Sotelo’s career and accomplishments. His resume includes working as a mathematics teacher, serving as the sales and operations manager for tech giant Oracle, and running his own consulting services firm, JD & Associates.

In 2013, he joined Payscout as Vice President of Business Development. During his two-year tenure, Sotelo shone as a committed and creative thought leader, contributing to Payscout’s success in emerging markets like mobile payment processing. He further advanced Payscout’s success and growth by spearheading growth initiatives, internal process development, and strategic brand advancements.

In 2015, Sotelo was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Sotelo immediately excelled in the overseeing of customer support, operations, brand development, and marketing for Payscout staples like utility payment processing.

Sotelo also helmed Payscout’s expansion into revolutionary new payment processing spaces with the establishment of their virtual reality (VR) payment application. This application can be used to aid non profit payment processing and encourage donations.

When not busy changing the face of the payment industry, Sotelo also works as the Managing Partner and President of the production company Film Antics, which has released over 20 films, including a feature film, under his leadership.

While his career and financial ingenuity are quite impressive, there was another characteristic beyond those skills and accomplishments which stood out to the people at the Jefferson Awards Foundation. Sotelo’s engagement in humanitarian work, particularly with youth, contributed to the chairmanship.

Plaudits from an organization as respected, significant, and influential as the Jefferson Awards Foundation is no easy feat. The foundation was established in 1972 by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and longtime public servant Sam Beard as the American equivalent of a Nobel Prize for public and community service. Since then, its awards recognizing those who’ve made strides in volunteerism and public service have been given to several Presidents and Vice Presidents of the U.S., Supreme Court Justices, generals, Senators, and the top business leaders, humanitarians, artists, performers, journalists, and athletes in the country.

Learn more about Payscout’s innovations and user-friendly platforms, at www.payscout.com

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.

Payscout, UCLA, and the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks: Turning Inspired Connections Into Meaningful Actions

Here at Payscout, we are all about inspiring people through the power of meaningful connections and transactions. In business and in life, we’ve learned that helping others fulfill their potential makes for the most rewarding and most successful partnerships.

That’s why we are so proud of our role in catalyzing a meaningful partnership between  the Jefferson Awards Foundation, the nation’s most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to empowering and celebrating public service, with UCLA and formidable women’s basketball team, the L.A. Sparks. The goal? To uplift and support youth leadership in promoting social good and powering public service.

Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown and COO Juan Sotelo, both UCLA alums, recently helped forge a powerful partnership between the Jefferson Awards Foundation and UCLA, to expand youth leadership and service among middle and high school students throughout Southern California.

That partnership caught the eye of UCLA alum Christine Simmons, President and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks and current President of the Board of Directors of the UCLA Alumni Association, who delivered a motivational speech to students participating in a JAF Students in Action program this past February. Her message: “Never settle, don’t let anyone outwork you, and be extraordinary!”

At the end of her talk, Simmons surprised the students with a donation of 189 tickets for the May 27 home opener of the LA Sparks vs. Phoenix Mercury for all students, advisors and volunteers participating in the JAF Training. At $15 per ticket, that totals an in-kind donation of $2,835.

As you can tell from the picture above, the students had an amazing time and left feeling inspired, energized and eager to see where their service would take them next.

As the first Los Angeles Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion, Payscout is so incredibly proud of the service these young students have committed to, and of the way UCLA and the L.A. Sparks joined together to promote leadership, partnership and service among tomorrow’s leaders. Those are three ideals Payscout lives by each and every day, and we are thrilled to have played a small part in catalyzing this meaningful connection.

Jefferson Awards Foundation SIA Training at UCLA

Payscout partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) and UCLA to provide leadership training to nearly 140 future leaders from middle and high-school students across the greater Los Angeles area.

As part of the Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) Students In Action (SIA) Fall Training program, more than 140 students from middle and high-schools across the greater LA region gathered at UCLA to learn leadership skills and training from local business leaders and entrepreneurs.  This was the first time that the training took place at UCLA.

Payscout Chief Operating Officer (and UCLA alumnus) Juan Sotelo and JAF SIA Regional Program Manager Jackeline Muñoz helped forge the partnership between JAF and UCLA.  In addition to serving as the host site (for all SIA Training sessions for the 2017-2018 school year), several UCLA Sharpe Fellows trained with JAF Globechanger National Director Elizabeth Kennedy, to provide support for the students.

2017 marks the third year of the SIA program in Los Angeles.  Track 2 training was also offered for students who had previously participated in SIA.  The programming for Track 2 featured speakers on Media & Press (George Smith – Payscout); Proposal Writing (Olivia Jamgotchian – Capital Group); My Big Idea (Juan Sotelo – Payscout); and Fundraising (Cynthia Scott – UCLA).   Several employees from the Payscout office volunteered their time, as well, assisting with registration, tech setup, breakfast/lunch coordination, photography and videography.  Students were also treated to a visit by UCLA Mascot, Joe Bruin and an opportunity to enjoy different aspects of the Alumni Center.  The day was an overwhelming success.

Payscout is a proud Champion of the Jefferson Awards Foundation and a supporter of the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Campaign.  Participation in these programs supports our Belief, that every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.

Topics: Community Service, Jefferson Awards, JAF, UCLA, UCLA Alumni, Payscout

A Year of Service

On August 23, 2017, Payscout and the Jefferson Awards Foundation celebrate the one-year anniversary of a partnership dedicated to powering and celebrating public service.

Exactly one year ago today, Payscout partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, the nation’s most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to powering and celebrating public service, as part of their Champions program.

Champions are companies who partner with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to engage in meaningful community service and celebrate employees and others in their communities with Jefferson Awards.

The partnership has been a natural fit for Payscout, whose Vision, Mission, and Cultural Attributes are inspired by the Belief that “every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.”

When determining how best to implement programs and activities to support that Belief, Payscout turned to the Jefferson Awards Foundation to engage in their esteemed year-long community outreach initiatives that focus on supporting education and social entrepreneurship.

As the first Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion in Los Angeles, Payscout launched a mentoring project with Van Nuys Middle School as part of the Foundation’s Students in Action program.  JAF launched the Students In Action program in 2006 with a goal of developing today’s students into tomorrow’s community leaders.  The three pillars of the program are Leadership, Engagement, and Impact.

Several members of the Payscout Family volunteered time to mentor the Van Nuys Middle School students and support their social entrepreneurship endeavor, Operation: Blankets of Love, a student-led initiative to collect blankets for animals in a local shelter.  The goal of the service project was to drive an increase in adoption rates among the pets.  The Payscout team provided guidance on how best to market the service project, find creative ways to engage their local community, and present the summary findings of their project at the Students in Action final competition event.

On Friday, May 26, Payscout and the Jefferson Awards Foundation presented a banner honoring the Middle Schoolers’ Silver Leadership award for their inspirational social entrepreneurship.  The Appreciation and Celebration Event at Van Nuys Middle School, at which Payscout presented a banner alongside the Jefferson Awards Foundation, welcomed representatives from the LA Chamber of Commerce, the LA Unified School District (Superintendent Michelle King was a Special Honoree at the event), and Ms. Candy Williams, CEO of Empowered Gifts was on hand, as well.

By partnering with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, Payscout is poised to expand the scope and reach of these initiatives—and build a culture of service among our nation’s youth.

Leadership Training for the Future

On Thursday, March 2, Payscout partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to support the Students In Action leadership training event in Downtown LA.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation launched the Students In Action program in 2006 with a goal of developing today’s students into tomorrow’s community leaders. The three pillars of the program are Leadership, Engagement, and Impact, and on Thursday, over 140 high school and middle schoolers from the greater Los Angeles area gathered for a day spent honing their leadership abilities.

Payscout Chief Operating Officer Juan Sotelo was an active participant in the event, supporting the training curriculum by delivering a presentation on Ethics. In his talk, Mr. Sotelo emphasized the importance of leading with integrity – and why ethics matter for student, business, and community leaders alike.

“This was our vision when we announced our partnership with the Jefferson Awards Foundation and launched Payscout Gives,” said Mr. Sotelo, referring to a series of community outreach initiatives that focus on supporting education and social entrepreneurship. “The chance for us to support leadership training for tomorrow’s community leaders ties directly to our company Belief statement: every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.”

“We’re elated and thrilled to have a partner like Payscout to support and participate in an event where we power students to have maximum impact on the issues they care about most through our Students In Action program,” said Jackeline Muñoz, Greater Los Angeles Regional Program Manager at the Jefferson Awards Foundation. “We are empowering the leaders of tomorrow, and Juan and the Payscout team not only had a direct impact in helping make our training a success, but they also serve as an extraordinary example of compassionate leadership.”

Fintech Industry Expands Access for Underserved Communities.

The oldest person ever to complete an Ironman Triathlon, Sister Madonna Buder, once said, “We have all been given different talents. And when we find them, we are obligated to use them for the greater good.”

For the fintech industry, that talent lies in providing expanded access to financial resources, and according to a recent report from the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the industry is using their talents for the greater good.

The ETA, a global trade association representing the payments technology industry, has published a white paper that explores how their member companies have introduced new products and services that expand access to underserved communities. Providing ATM access for the disabled, enabling remote check depositing for the elderly, and expanding access to credit for small business owners are just a few examples of those products and services.

The white paper is a testament to the significant progress financial institutions and the fintech industry are making to achieve an inclusive financial system that addresses the financial needs of underserved consumers.

For a fintech company that believes, “every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place,” the white paper is welcome news for Payscout – and affirmation that our ETA membership puts us in good company.

Payscout recently announced a partnership with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to serve as one of the Foundation’s “champions” and engage in meaningful community service. The partnership is a part of Payscout Gives– a series of community outreach initiatives that focus on supporting education and social entrepreneurship.

The products and services described in the ETA’s white paper suggest many members of the fintech community share in Payscout’s essential belief. That’s great news – because finance and technology are powerful tools. Like few other industries, fintech is uniquely positioned to leverage those tools (their “talents”) for the betterment of underserved communities.

Sister Madonna Buder would be proud.

Honoring Our Future’s Social Entrepreneurs

Payscout partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to mentor Van Nuys Middle School students and support their social entrepreneurship endeavor, Operation: Blankets of Love. On Friday, May 26, Payscout and the Jefferson Awards Foundation presented a banner honoring the Middle Schoolers’ Silver Leadership award for their inspirational social entrepreneurship.  The Appreciation and Celebration Event at Van Nuys Middle School, at which Payscout presented a banner alongside the Jefferson Awards Foundation, welcomed representatives from the LA Chamber of Commerce, the LA Unified School District (Superintendent Michelle King was a Special Honoree at the event), and Ms. Candy Williams, CEO of Empowered Gifts was on hand, as well. Payscout is the first Champion of the Jefferson Awards Foundation in Los Angeles. The partnership aligns with Payscout’s Belief statement: “Every individual has a social responsibility to make the world a better place.”  As LA’s first JAF Champion, Payscout launched a mentoring project with the Van Nuys Middle School as part of the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s Students in Action program. JAF launched the Students In Action program in 2006 with a goal of developing today’s students into tomorrow’s community leaders. The three pillars of the program are Leadership, Engagement, and Impact, and on Thursday, over 140 high school and middle schoolers from the greater Los Angeles area gathered for a day spent honing their leadership abilities. “We’re elated and thrilled to have a partner like Payscout to support and participate in an event where we power students to have maximum impact on the issues they care about most through our Students In Action program,” said Jackeline Muñoz, Greater Los Angeles Regional Program Manager at the Jefferson Awards Foundation. “We are empowering the leaders of tomorrow, and Juan and the Payscout team not only had a direct impact in helping make our training a success, but they also serve as an extraordinary example of compassionate leadership.”