Fintech Leader Shares Insight
Beta Gamma Sigma Honoree Ralph Dangelmaier ’88 talks curiosity, details, change and perseverance with business honor society inductees.
A global fintech leader and innovator, Ralph Dangelmaier ’88 thrives on the challenges that his clients and the market present. As he noted recently, “that’s not work, it’s fun.”
With over 30 years of corporate success in the payments industry, Dangelmaier is the CEO of the award-winning, Waltham-based BlueSnap. One of the fastest growing privately held companies today, BlueSnap helps thousands of businesses in 200 regions around the world accept payments through a seamless, global payment orchestration platform that increases sales and reduces costs.
In recognition of his business acumen and leadership, Stonehill’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society, inducted and honored Dangelmaier in April. At his induction, he spoke about the importance of learning how to learn, a life-long skill that he began developing as a student—one that has served him well as a leader in the complex, ever-changing world of fintech.
“With professors like Chet Raymo [physics], Ralph Bravaco [computer science] and Debra Salvucci [accounting] and others, I had role models who engaged me academically and encouraged conversations. Beyond mastering content, I learned ways of approaching and thinking from their coaching—curiosity from Chet, problem solving from Ralph, logic from Deb,” says Dangelmaier, who also highlights the value of Student Government Association (SGA) service.
“Serving as the SGA Finance Chair taught me about teamwork, engagement, setbacks, deadlines, budgets, proposals, communications, accountability and dealing with the unexpected,” he says.
After graduation, Dangelmaier found that job interviewers focused on the skills he honed through SGA and, given his experience, those conversations resulted in employment offers. As a CEO today, he believes in leading with curiosity, attending to the details, embracing change and persevering. In his remarks to the student inductees, he gave examples of each.
Dangelmaier quoted legendary physicist Albert Einstein who said, “I am not smart or gifted; I’m just more curious.” He also noted how Apple’s Steve Jobs delved deep into the details developing the iPhone, ensuring it fits well in hands and pockets and that calls do not drop.
In terms of embracing change, Dangelmaier shared a quote from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
And in discussing perseverance, Dangelmaier recalled being tasked early in his career with developing a report on regulatory data for a bank. Using new products, Microsoft’s Access and Excel, his team encountered repeated crashes and some wanted to drop the products.
Having done his research, Dangelmaier still believed in Access and Excel. Of course, he contacted Microsoft, but he also found a way to connect with Bill Gates. The Microsoft cofounder responded and personally worked with them over months to resolve the issue. As a result, his team delivered for its bank client and Microsoft became a preferred partner of Dangelmaier’s then company Bancware.
“To accomplish things, you sometimes have to get the word ‘can’t’ out of your head. Mindset is critical to perseverance,” says Dangelmaier.
“With practical advice from the real world of business, Ralph challenged and inspired our students at the Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony,” said Sam Beldona, dean of the Leo J. Meehan School of Business. “A talented, loyal alum, he is generous with his time and expertise. He is so deserving of this academic recognition for his accomplishments.”