Karen Nadasen – Pioneering Gender Equality in Fintech

Our very own PayU GPO Africa CEO Karen Nadasen, recently shared her insights in an interview for the Agenda Women blog as part of their #AWPOWERFIFTY series. This initiative celebrates trailblazing women who redefine success and create new paths in their industries. Karen’s story is one of passion, resilience, and transformative leadership. Read the article below for a summary of Karen’s interview, highlighting her inspiring journey and vision for the future. Or head straight over to AgendaWomen to read the full interview.

Passion and Purpose in Technology

Karen’s career in technology has been driven by a profound passion for leveraging tech to enhance people’s lives. Reflecting on her journey, she mentioned, “Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to leverage my technological expertise to tackle complex problems, enriching lives along the way. Joining PayU GPO Africa as CEO amplifies this impact, allowing me to extend my influence on a broader scale.

Influential Mentors and Career Growth

Throughout her career, Karen has been significantly influenced by formidable female leaders. She recounted, “I am thankful that I can say many, rather than one. Over time I have found a network of women within the technology space who have been through their own journey, not so different from my own. They have taught me invaluable lessons of resilience and demonstrate the importance of perseverance in the face of challenges and setbacks.

Redefining Success: Happiness and Resilience

Karen’s definition of success transcends material achievements. She emphasized, “Success to me is something that is never fully attained. It is the perpetual pursuit of a purposeful and meaningful life, achieved through what I choose to dedicate my time to in the ever-changing everyday of life.” She believes that true success arises from pursuing personal passions and recognizing that the journey, with its inherent struggles, cultivates growth.

Preparing Women for FinTech Careers

Karen champions collaboration with educational institutions to equip young women for FinTech careers. “We need to collaborate with educational institutions to ensure that young women are aware of and prepared for opportunities in the industry,” she stated. Scholarships, internships, and practical training are pivotal in providing a solid foundation. Additionally, establishing mentorship programs that connect junior women with seasoned leaders are crucial for offering guidance and fostering career progression.

Guiding Principle: Be Present

Karen’s professional life is anchored in being present and focused. “Be present. I find this to be the single biggest challenge. Everything is urgent, everyone wants your attention,” she explained. She believes that self-discipline and focus are essential for success, urging others to avoid distractions and remain engaged in their tasks.

Accelerating Gender Equality in FinTech

To advance gender equality, Karen emphasizes the importance of intentional education and mentorship for women in FinTech. She highlighted initiatives like UShine, a six-month Leadership Development Program for Women Leaders, which provide structured support and resources. Additionally, Karen is spearheading the launch of Women in Payments South Africa, encouraging female leadership and broader participation. “In June, I am launching Women in Payments South Africa, and I encourage other female leaders and interested individuals to get involved,” she said. These efforts aim to cultivate an inclusive environment where women can thrive and lead.


Self-Care Rituals and Lifelong Learning

Karen shared her self-care rituals that keep her grounded. She mentioned, “I am an early riser and I generally have a better day if it starts with exercise. A few minutes of mindfulness help to settle my mind before I throw myself into a busy schedule.” She also highlighted the importance of a healthy diet, reading, and spending quality time with her family.


Karen Nadasen’s leadership at PayU GPO is a testament to her commitment to gender equality and economic empowerment in the FinTech industry. By championing education, mentorship, and inclusive workplaces, she is paving the way for a more inclusive future.


To read the full interview, please visit the Agenda Women blog.