Arlyn Davich is a a serial entrepreneur who, for the last decade, was CEO of PayPerks: a financial technology company dedicated to helping businesses and governments more profitably serve the 75% of the world’s population who live paycheck to paycheck. The company, which Arlyn founded in 2009 after winning the Columbia Business School Entrepreneurship Award, has helped nearly 1M Americans and has been honored for its innovation and impact everywhere from the White House to the Federal Reserve Bank where Arlyn is a frequent speaker and thought partner. Outside of work, Arlyn serves on the Board of Trustees at The Pingry School and co-founded the Bowdoin Startup Series: a semester-long class at Bowdoin College, her undergraduate alma matter, which provides current students with a chance to see firsthand examples of alumni who have been successful in different paths to entrepreneurship. She was a competitive tennis player back in her glory days and is among the country’s worst backgammon players. She’s usually up for a challenge at either.
What do you do best?
The team at PayPerks always makes fun of me for overusing the phrase win/win/win. It may be a cliché slogan but the art of finding a path to achieve everyone’s outcomes is probably my strongest suit. Whether it’s finding a restaurant where everyone can find what they want to eat or finding a business model that achieves multiple parties’ goals, I can just about always find a win/win/win path to success.
What makes you the best?
I have a great auditory memory; if you ‘tell’ me something aloud, I will remember it for decades…sometimes to the point of freaking people out.
What are your aspirations?
I want to make useful things that help people. I’m a creative person without artistic talent so business is my creative outlet.
Successfully transitioning from PayPerks’ CEO to Board Chair is my biggest career success to date. How rewarding it is to see something you birthed outlive you when you’re gone!
Most Challenging Moment?
I went to business school to become an entrepreneur so it was a huge disappointment when I got rejected from the school’s ‘by invitation only’ incubator program. I convinced the Professor to let me audit the class as a Teacher Assistant and then went on to win the entrepreneurship competition at the end of the semester. Little did I know that that experience was setting me up for a career as a serial entrepreneur where you need to – often daily – move forward on the heels of rejection.
Do the hardest thing first
Favorite People/Role Models?
Too many to list! Looking back on both the good and challenging moments I’ve faced, I am humbled by the fact that I had so much support from at every turn.
Colorado in the Winter. Maine in the Summer. And NYC in between.
Jack’s Stir Brew. GoogleMaps. My piano.
I’m currently en route to a golf camp. I’m hopeful that getting better will make it more enjoyable.