Women of Experian: Monica Peace

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, we want to shine a light on a few of the female leaders who shape, inspire and grow Experian. From sales to strategy, to people management, big data and beyond, women are a driving force in every industry – and their stories deserve to be told. Throughout the week, meet some of the “Women of Experian.”

Today, we feature Monica Peace, a sales leader who connects daily with some of the biggest players in financial services. Learn about her career journey, learnings and sources of inspiration as it pertains to leadership.

What do you do at Experian? What’s a typical day like for you? 

 I lead the sales team for the West Coast Preferred Channel. Our clients are comprised of key regional banks, fintechs, online lenders and indirect automotive lenders.  One of the things I love about my job is that my days vary greatly depending on client or team needs and activities.  Typical activities include internal meetings on aligning our solutions with go to market strategy, customizing solutions for some of our larger client needs, and ensuring our sales team have the training or tools to do their job effectively. Along with the internal activities there are weekly client calls/meetings to ensure I stay close to their immediate and long term needs, as well as continue to build on established relationships. When I’m not working from our corporate headquarters in Costa Mesa, I’m either visiting clients or working from my home office in Los Angeles.

 Being a woman in this space, what has been your greatest challenge? Biggest win?

In my 25 years in the financial services industry, there have been many times when I’m on the other side of a negotiation with individuals or groups who are predominately male. When I started in my career, I would wear my heart on my sleeve and even throughout my career there have been many times when my passion for something reflected in the form of emotion. I have made a conscious effort to remove emotions from business dialogue. As an individual who is deeply invested in my work life, it has been an evolving process for me to find a way to balance my authentic self, who values personal connections with peers and clients, with an approach that also removes the “personal” from the process to keep the wins and losses objective.

One of the deals I am most proud of was an over year-long negotiation with a global credit card issuer to merge their transaction data with the Experian credit data in 2006. The opportunity of blending transaction and credit data was somewhat visionary at the time. I learned a great deal about what it takes to sell a new concept internally and externally.  I had the opportunity to work across many business units at Experian, which was a great platform for getting to know the organization and build my career in its early stages. It also gave me exposure to complex negotiations and confidence in my ability to identify and nurture strategic opportunities between large organizations.

What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?

Compassion, integrity, courage. I feel it is important to avoid making assumptions, come from a place of understanding, and offer kindness, even when situations can feel adversarial. I believe in the power of taking risks, and that most things that we aspire for reside on the other side of our fear. I approach each day with the attitude of doing the most important thing first, even if it is the thing you want to do the least. I believe it is my responsibility to help individuals understand what is possible through adversity, determination and goal setting.

Who inspires you? 

One of the individuals who inspired me most in my lifetime, was and still is my father. Even though he is no longer alive, he was absolutely a mentor and role model for me personally and professionally. He was a dreamer and someone who took many risks, failed many times, and kept an optimistic attitude, even through a difficult illness.  He had the gift of connecting people, making people laugh and captivating an audience with his humor and story-telling abilities. He started his career as a teacher, and then spent the majority in agricultural sales. He shared with me the reason he valued sales is that there is a direct correlation between your skill and work efforts and your rewards. He shared the importance of continuous personal growth and sharing your knowledge with others. He also demonstrated the value of building long term relationships, and along with that, the importance of doing the right thing, even when there is no direct benefit to you.

Favorite authors/books?

Elizabeth Gilbert “Big Magic”

Tererai Trent “The Awakened Woman”

Tali Sharot “The Optimism Bias”

Check back to learn more about “Women of Experian” throughout the week.