Fintech marketing leader enjoys helping build fast-growing startup

Updated: Nov 10

Nov. 1, 2022


This week’s Up-and-Comer is Melissa Otten, director of marketing and communications at Central Payments and Falls Fintech.


Name: Melissa Otten


Age: 36


Hometown: Huron


What brought you to Sioux Falls?

Doesn’t everyone move to Sioux Falls after graduating from undergrad? 😊 A job at KELOLAND was the final straw for me moving to Sioux Falls after graduating from SDSU. The career opportunities in this community are limitless, and that has had a profound impact on my career and personal life as well. I met my husband during my time at Great Western Bank.


What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

This is the best small/midsize city in the nation! What I mean by that is it’s the perfect size to make it what you want your community to be. If you like a smaller, familiar community, you can certainly position yourself that way and run into everyone you already know; if you prefer a bigger city, meeting new people, new opportunities, shopping, etc., Sioux Falls offers that too. Truth be told, when I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to move south, out of the snow, but once I was old enough to start traveling, I quickly realized the people and culture in this community are unmatched.


What’s your favorite thing about your job?

The people. My colleagues have inspired authenticity in me that I never imagined would show through during my time in corporate America. From a more practical standpoint, I love having the opportunity to build the company’s marketing strategy essentially from the ground up. I’ve always worked at established companies with brand identity and procedures already set like Daktronics, Sanford and POET to name a few. At Central Payments, I have more opportunity to build and influence the direction of the company.


How did you get connected to your industry?

Trent Sorbe and his master LinkedIn skills. I interviewed with Nikkee Rhody a few times, and it was all over – I was in. I had worked in traditional financial services at Great Western Bank, but I honestly wasn’t very aware of this rapidly growing fintech – financial technology – industry and how involved Sioux Falls is in it prior to this role. Candidly, the learning curve was a bit steep but totally worth it!


Central Payments in three words.

Humble. Resourceful. Passionate.


What is something someone might be surprised to learn about you?

You know how most children have dreams of becoming a teacher, astronaut or president? Oh, not me. I saw the movie “What Women Want” with Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson and was sold on this marketing/advertising world. 😊


What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

My servant heart is with the children in our community, specifically disadvantaged youth. I have been a Heart & Sole Coach through EmBe, a licensed foster parent and am currently a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate. The need never runs out. If anyone reading this is interested in learning more about any of these experiences, please reach out. We can’t have compassion from a distance.


Professionally, I have recently joined Sales & Marketing Executives of Sioux Falls and am excited to dig in on their marketing committee, and I am also taking part in the 2023 class of Leadership Sioux Falls. I hope to give back as much to these organizations as I gain through these experiences!


What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

Honestly, we have enough large national chains for me. I’d love to see the local entrepreneurial businesses continue to grow. There is nothing better than a unique, local restaurant. Tre used to be my favorite – I’m excited to see what the Rolling Pin team opens in that space!


Where do you see yourself in five years?

Professionally, I plan to continue working for an organization that is creating a positive impact on the society, and I want to become even more of a positive influence for growth, both for the company and for friends and colleagues. I have a passion for mentoring and developing people, and I will strive to increase my presence in that area.


Personally, I hope to grow our family as we have struggled with the not-very-talked-about fertility challenges that so many struggle with. Cheers to the possibilities of the next five years – I’m here for it!