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WIA Profile: Cathy Beardsley

Women in Adult

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives. Women like Cathy Beardsley, President and CEO, Segpay.com

How did you get into the business?

If you really care about your business, it’s easy for work to creep up and take over your life. Those are the times when you have to rely on your team to pull you through.

In 1999, while I was working at MCI in Atlanta, I was recruited by the payment processor iBill. I moved to Florida to develop a strategy to either sell the company or position it for an IPO. I stayed at iBill through multiple ownership changes and ultimately left when the company fell into a bad hand. I started SegPay in 2005 with the goal of creating an IPSP to adhere to a unique set of principles. The industry was asking for an IPSP with more financial controls so that client funds could never be mishandled by the payment processor or IPSP. That’s what we do. SegPay was and still is the only IPSP to have our acquirers payout our clients directly. In fact, our clients get paid before we do!

What in your background prepared you for what you are doing now?

I had five years of experience at iBill that allowed me to see every aspect of the business. My time there gave me a great introduction to processing in the adult space as well as what worked and made a difference for clients. It also opened my eyes as to what can go wrong, thus helping me create a better and more financially transparent IPSP for our clients. Beyond that, I have an undergraduate degree in marketing and masters in finance so I have a good sense of communication and presentation, but I also have the common sense of managing a budget.

What do you see as the challenges of working in the adult online business? How do you overcome them?

In our space, it seems like there is a never ending tide of rule changes from card schemes and regulatory agencies. The key to working through these changes is to position yourself as a leader in the space. This allows you to be proactive in instituting change and working with the regulators. The adult online business is a small network of businesses. You have to perform well on all fronts to earn the respect and trust of the industry. Stepping into this business eight years ago was a challenge because webmasters were not comfortable moving forward with an untested IPSP. We have managed to succeed by embracing three things:

1. It takes time to build a solid business.
2. It is critical to always do what is right.
3. Celebrate each new client win.

SegPay is a reflection of all that work. Does your work life affect your personal life?

SegPay IS personal to me. I have three children and I consider SegPay to be my fourth. I try to prioritize my work so that I can enjoy my time away from the office and with my family. If you really care about your business, it’s easy for work to creep up and take over your life. Those are the times when you have to rely on your team to pull you through. The team at SegPay does just that.

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