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2017 Women in payments®
team award recipient
VP Payments Engagement , FIS Global Retail Payments
Cynthia Knowles is Vice President of Payments Engagement for the Global Retail Payments division of FIS. In this leadership role, she is responsible for overseeing the strategic marketing, messaging, communications and market integration across multiple disciplines and the coordination and external launch of key enterprise payments initiatives for the $2.8B division. In addition, her team also serves as the marketing liaison for ICBA (Independent Community Bankers Association) and CSCU (Card Services for Credit Unions. Cynthia is also co-chair of the Communications & Education Working Group for the U.S. Payments Forum (formerly the EMV Migration Forum) in the Smart Card Alliance.

With nearly 30 years devoted to the payments industry, Ms. Knowles’ career includes a spectrum of experiences including Sales Management, Sales Strategy, Thought Leadership, Digital Marketing & Communications, Branding, Event Management, Product Development and Strategy and Sales Training. She started her career with Telecredit Service Corporation in San Francisco and from there was acquired by Equifax, later spinning out as Certegy Inc. which was then acquired by FIS in 2007.

Ms. Knowles educational background includes a B.S. degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio where she was also captain of the Women’s Varsity Field Hockey Team. She currently resides with her husband and four children in Bradenton, Florida, and is an avid outdoors person enjoying hiking, skiing and fishing. She is also involved in a number local community organizations.


The Chief Administration Office Team at FIS is a multi-disciplinary team of 21 (15 of which are women). Operating as centralized support, they are an eclectic and talented group of professionals, comprising teams in risk mitigation, procurement, payments engagement, business performance management and international payments. They are a high performing group of specialists who have proven their ability to work together to support the global retail payments business. Together this team have built repeatable processes and communication strategies to ensure thousands of employees can effectively engage and interact with their organization. The team is managed and led by three women Serena Smith “Chief Administration Officer”, Cindy Knowles “VP Payments Engagement”, and “Leah Middlebrook “VP Market Development.”

These three leaders provide the structure, process and creativity to lead a new model for international payments. Providing mentorship and open communication to the rest of their team has been key to the team’s success and the group has built a reputation for being an incubator for talent.

Demonstrating the importance of collaboration, diversity of thought and business agility, the FIS Chief Administration Team are our 2017 Team Award winners.

Other 2017 Award Winners
award recipient
Talbott Roche
CEO and President
Blackhawk Network
distinguished payments professional
award recipient
Donna Embry
Chief Payments Advisor
Payment Alliance International
award recipient
Elizabeth Thiessen
Managing Director, Treasury Sales Executive
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
rising star
award recipient
Eileen Holcomb
Lead for Strategic Capabilities & Investments
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
award recipient
Leah Middlebrook
VP Market Development, International Markets
FIS Global Retail Payments
award recipient
Sarah Billings
Head of Global Payment and Deposit Platforms for Global Transaction Services
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
award recipient
Serena Smith
SVP, Head of International Payments and CAO
FIS Global Retail Payments
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