The Summit speaker spotlight: Kris Hansen, Senior Principal, Financial Services, SAP Canada

Welcome to our Summit speaker spotlight series! Each week, learn more about one of our amazing speakers, then make sure you attend their session at The Summit, Canada’s premiere payments conference, May 24-26 in Toronto, ON.

We’re proud to welcome Kris to The Summit, where he’ll be talking collaboration—and the challenges and opportunities for Canadian banks in a post-Uber world.

About Kris

Kris Hansen describes himself as “a recovering banking chief architect” and in his recovery has been advising banks, insurance companies and financial services startups on topics related to financial services transformation and innovation.  He began his career as a system administrator and software developer, started one of the first internet provider companies in Canada and later built a successful software services company in the Hawaiian Islands.  He is the former chief architect at ATB Financial and former head of solution architecture at the Royal Bank of Canada.  Kris co-developed a patent around contactless digital payments and biometric identity and has been involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain software development.  At SAP Kris is focused on the intersection of innovation and business value for the Financial Services Industry and has led successful blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives bringing together SAP platforms with distributed ledger and blockchain technologies.

Kris is also a director with the Digital Finance Institute, a Canadian non-profit think tank focused on building a community around financial services innovation and artificial intelligence.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I am passionate about being part of moving the narrative forward. I like to feel like my ideas have merit and that they are contributing to the industry in a positive way. I am also motivated to have a positive impact on people's lives.

What do you spend most of your time doing?

I spend much of my time learning. In addition to keeping up with changes in technology and financial services I also like to learn a new programming language or framework every 1-2 years. Continual learning has helped me stay current and involved in technology in a direct way and also has helped me continue to understand the interplay between technologies.

What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken?

In the late 90s, I left a very secure and comfortable job developing software for a university to go global technology consulting as an advisor for a UK manufacturing firm. This was especially risky because the contract evaporated almost the moment that I had put in my resignation – but I was too proud and embarrassed to rescind it, so I had to find another project. I did, and the UK project eventually came back which led to an incredible adventure.

How do you de-stress?

I play with my kids and binge watch Netflix with my wife. With my boys, it’s Lego and baseball with my youngest or video games and movies with my oldest; my daughter is the baby of the family, and we play ball or a bit of hide-and-seek.

How did your earlier career/life choices lead you to where you are now?

I first started programming when I was twelve and was very passionate about technology. In grade school, I would help maintain and configure the computer labs – but somehow I didn’t connect this interest to a career. At the time, I suppose computers were things in labs that only scientists could work with and what I was doing was for hobbyists. Things changed quickly, and my hobby became a profession – this happened again with the Internet as I started one of the first Internet companies in Canada. My choice to continue to focus on what I am interested in and to keep learning has meant that I continue to be excited about what I am doing.

With rapid-fire keynotes, in-depth breakout sessions, networking opportunities, an exhibit hall, demos, social events and the FinTech Cup, The Summit is the place to be for all things payments! Register today at payments.ca/summit.