"You take care of your customers, and your customers take care of you," says Heather Petersen, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National Merchants Association (NMA).
Ms. Petersen has been in the bankcard industry since 2003, and has consistently been a leader in her field as a sales agent, sales manager, and as founder of National Merchants Association. She created the Association as an advocacy group for small and medium-sized business owners in 2004.
Ms. Petersen has personally pioneered a new era in the bankcard industry and has developed proprietary merchant account optimization software to ensure perfection in merchant account maintenance. Ms. Petersen is renowned as the bankcard expert.
Dedicated to improving agent knowledge and integrity, Ms. Petersen serves on the Education Committee of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) located in Washington DC. The purpose of ETA is to influence, monitor, and help shape the merchant acquiring industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy, and the exchange of information. The Education committee is tasked with directing program content for seminars, training sessions, workshops, distance learning offerings and ETA University Curriculum.
Ms. Petersen was one of the nation's first Certified Payments Professionals (CPP), a symbol of industry excellence. She strives to promote the program's mission to set the standards for professional performance in the payments industry. This distinctive certification signifies that an individual has demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to perform competently in today's complex electronic payments environment.
With an eye on philanthropy and service, Ms. Petersen serves on the Board of Trustees for Oak Grove Center for Education Treatment & the Arts, a nonprofit residential and educational treatment center dedicated to rebuilding the lives of at-risk children and their families through educating, healing, restoring relationships, building character, and instilling hope. Ms. Petersen's dedication to her community defines the philosophies in which she built the foundation of National Merchants Association.
A cum laude graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in marketing, Ms. Petersen has proven to be an excellent leader in sales as well as an engaging public speaker and motivator.
National Merchants Association has become one of the fastest growing ISOs in the industry and has, by far, the lowest attrition as result of Ms. Petersen’s constant demand for outstanding customer service and support. Its unparalleled achievement stems from Ms. Petersen’s ardor, drive and unwavering determination to succeed.
Brian Randolph, National Merchants Association's Chief Technology Officer oversees the organization's infrastructural development and implementation of information technology. He holds a BA in Music Industry and Technology (Recording Arts) from CSU Chico, and has held similar technology positions within both, music industry companies and payments industry companies. Mr. Randolph appreciates being a part of National Merchants Association because, through integrity and innovation, he is a part of the rapidly changing and fast-paced payments industry.
"I enjoy pushing the envelope, developing ideas and finding solutions to complex issues that help our merchants succeed."
Mr. Randolph has been with National Merchants Association since 2009 when the company incorporated it's headquarters in Southern California. He was brought into the company to help facilitate PCI Compliance and Data Security Standards as required by the Card Associations and has been running the organization's technological advancements, since.
In early 2010, Mr. Randolph developed proprietary merchant account optimization software that earmarked the differentiation between National Merchants Association and it's competitors, giving the company a major advantage. Today, National Merchants Association's members recognize a dramatic reduction in fees as a result of the optimization program.
Jackie Steed, Business Development Manger, is thrilled to offer potential clients cost-cutting techniques to ensure their company's success. Ms. Steed also works with non-profit organizations and local schools to promote National Merchants Association's Give-it-Back Program. She brings over a decade of sales and marketing experience to National Merchants Association. Ms. Steed truly understands the needs of business owners having previously owned her own small business.
Ms. Steed believes in giving back to the community in which you live and work, and has been a force in the local Temecula community for many years. She has served on the boards of Our Nicholas Foundation, the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, and was the Expo Chair for the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Ms. Steed also formed the program Pennies for Pens, which raised awareness and funds for local non-profits, and has proudly served as a volunteer for Oak Grove School for Treatment and the Arts, Rancho Domicitos, and Habitat for Humanity.
Ms. Steed was awarded the 2010 SBDC Winner Home Based Business of the Year. She was the Temecula Chamber Ambassador of the year, and nominated four years running (2006-2010) for their Small Business of the Year award. She feels these awards and accomplishments display, not only her professionalism, but a commitment to strive to be the best at what she does. She is excited to help National Merchants Association achieve its vision of changing the way the merchant processing industry is viewed by providing exceptional service and ethical business practices.
"We find that a lot of business owners have been taken advantage of -- we are the good guys. The knowledge I have gained even in the short amount of time has astounded me. As a business owner, you feel at the mercy of companies like ours that offer a necessary service. National Merchants Association offers it in a way that can put a business owner at ease."
Prior to joining National Merchants Association, Alexis King was highly recognized for her achievements at Payment Systems Corp. as a Processing Manager, where she spent four years in managerial positions involving underwriting, processing, marketing and customer service. She was awarded the first annual company-wide "President's Club Award for Top Processor" in 2010 for her contributions to her division. Ms. King is a Southern California native, with parents who own small businesses. she feels a strong bond with National Merchants Association's merchants and truly wishes to help them in every way possible.
As National Merchants Association Support Manager, Ms. King boards all of the new merchant applications, and once approved, assists new merchant members in setting up their online gateways and processing equipment, provides technical and PCI compliance instruction, handles modifications to merchant accounts, and technical support. Ms. King is currently working on becoming a Certified Payment Professional (CPP).
Working at National Merchants Association allows Ms. King to continue growing in this industry while helping merchants who have been taken advantage of by other processing companies. She believes that National Merchants Association truly stands for the merchants' right, and is proud to serve that purpose daily. She enjoys working in the payments industry because it is constantly changing, and she is challenged to learn new things everyday.
Ms. King, who has an avocation for art history, also boasts a background as a certified clinical hypnotherapist with a degree from The School of Healing Arts.
"The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to assist a merchant and they are smiling when they get off the phone with me. To solve a merchant's problem, as well as embrace their confidence in National Merchants Association, is the main duty of the Support Manager. It makes me happy to make our merchants happy!"
Lara Schenk, Vice President of Operations oversees the operations of all departments and functions at National Merchants Association. Her goal is to establish new business relationships, and develop and maintain the existing ones. National Merchants Association welcomed Ms. Schenk in November 2012. In her short amount of time with National Merchants Association, Ms. Schenk has implemented and managed an over all stellar Underwriting and Risk Department, giving them the necessary tools to handle NMA’s ever-growing merchant portfolio.
Ms. Schenk comes from a Real Estate background but has extensive knowledge in Fraud Investigations, Underwriting, Risk-Training, Loss Prevention, Chargebacks and Retrievals. She has trained and developed over 200 sales people for the industry. What she likes about the payments industry is helping businesses get started in their new ventures. What she enjoys most is, “teaching and educating existing businesses about their card fees, and saving them money”.
Ms. Schenk hopes to gain a long lasting relationship with National Merchants Association as well as contribute greatly to the growth of the company. She enjoys working for a company that allows her to exercise her many talents from previous experiences. Ms. Schenk finds that being thought of and treated as an individual rather than just a number is what makes National Merchants Association special.
Hortencia Saenz, Office Manager is the glue that holds National Merchants Association together, ensuring that everything in the office runs smoothly. Not only does she support the in-house staff, she also handles many of NMA's merchant members questions about their accounts.
Ms. Saenz graduated in the top of her 2006 graduating class, and has worked in customer service and management ever since. She prides herself on her work ethic, and trying to excel in everything that she does, regardless of the project size. Ms. Saenz strives to be present and ready everyday to assist NMA's customers, and consistently goes beyond each task requirement.
Ms. Saenz has been a proud National Merchants Association employee since March of 2012. She appreciates how NMA values their employees, customers, and members. It is important to her to be a part of an organization that cares. She feels National Merchants Association programs, like Give-It-Back, separates NMA from other merchant processing companies. She is also excited to be a part of a company that is proving they are different from other companies that give merchant processing a negative image. National Merchants Association is changing the face of Merchant Services through their integrity and commitment to excellence
"I am a total believer in Karma -- what comes around goes around. If we treat our merchants with respect and help them understand what merchant services really is, that comes back to us in the form of a good relationship. That allows us to keep the client for a long period of time. National Merchants Association is a part of our community and we are committed to helping in any way we can. Don’t be surprised if you see us out and about in the community supporting awareness events and fundraising!"Apply Now