Meet Genessa Stout: Tally’s General Counsel & VP of Compliance and People Operations
With an unmatched commitment to consumers, Genessa makes an impact everywhere she goes.
Managing Editor at Tally
February 20, 2020
Genessa Stout’s commitment to consumers is no coincidence.
As General Counsel and Vice President of Compliance and People Operations at Tally, Genessa is the ultimate champion for all Tally customers. She has dedicated much of her career to protecting consumers from large financial organizations, and her dedication to honesty and transparency reverberates through the entire company.
Genessa presides over Tally’s day-to-day legal affairs, including risk management, product development, corporate governance and intellectual property. She also oversees Tally’s business operations, which includes immigration visas, employee training programs and hiring. In essence, Genessa splits her time between Tally customers and Tally employees — and her top priority is ensuring everyone’s daily experience with Tally is as positive as possible.
“When people don’t know about or see what I’m doing in the background, it means things are going smoothly. That’s what I want,” she says. “My job is to enable our team to pursue what it needs to and ensure we’re giving our customers the best outcomes.”
“Having intimate knowledge of all the different sides of banking industry allows me to bring a strong perspective to these types of interactions.” — Genessa Stout, VP of Compliance & People Operations
An empowering leader in every sense of the word, Genessa invests a tremendous amount of time and effort into communicating and understanding the needs of her team. Then, she puts them into situations where they can thrive.
“A lot of legal work is about process,” she says. “It’s so much more than being a judge and just saying, ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I want to understand the practicality of how something is going to affect an individual.
“This is something I learned from handling complex litigation, and it’s a skill that translates in many situations,” she adds. “When there are lots of disparate parties, each with their own interests, it’s my job to do the work and fully understand each side before I can find a solution. Every situation is different, but I always try to see the big picture.”
Her holistic view and methodical approach certainly isn’t lost on Tally CEO and co-founder Jason Brown — it’s actually one of Genessa’s qualities he appreciates most.
“Genessa’s track record is pretty amazing. She makes a significant impact everywhere she goes, and that impact can be measured in millions of dollars,” he says. “Her commitment to consumers is totally in line with Tally’s mission, but what’s most impressive is how Genessa goes about her business. She listens. She strategizes. She delivers. And she actually cares.”
Committed to consumers
Early in her career, Genessa worked as an enforcement attorney with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. Advocating for consumers and keeping big companies in check, her consumer-first mindset was on display in a major way as she was in charge of the investigation and resolution of several enforcement actions related to mobile payments, mortgages and lending.
In 2015, the CFB took action against Sprint and Verizon for “illegal mobile cramming,” and Genessa led the case from start to finish, ultimately negotiating a settlement that put $120 million back into wronged consumers’ pockets. She also led the bureaus action against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase for illegal mortgage kickbacks, which resulted in more than $24 million in fines and helped consumers recoup $11.1 million in compensation.
“Genessa’s track record is pretty amazing. She makes a significant impact everywhere she goes, and that impact can be measured in millions of dollars.” — Jason Brown, Tally CEO
After four years at the CFPB, Genessa joined PayPal as Director of Litigation in North America and later served as Legal Director of Consumer Products. The irony of joining the type of large financial company she was at odds with for years is not lost on her.
“Having intimate knowledge of all the different sides of the banking industry allows me to bring a strong perspective to these types of interactions,” she says. “I felt like I could affect change within a company, and that’s where I could look out for the consumer in a new way.
“I still think of myself as being committed to protecting consumers,” she adds. “I like being in that space where I’m putting myself in their shoes. Consumers may not always make the most rational decisions for themselves, but it’s our job to make sure they’re being treated fairly.”
So, how’d Genessa find her way to Tally?
“I was at a point where I wanted to challenge myself and grow. I led a lot of intellectually complex projects, but it wasn't particularly challenging,” she recalls. “I wasn't inspired by that next step. It would’ve been safer to stay the course, but I was ready to take the leap and go somewhere where I could grow faster. For me, that was Tally.”
Future aspirations, immediate appreciation
As Tally continues to grow, Genessa says she’s especially excited for what the future holds.
“I’m looking forward to reaching even more people and helping them be less stressed and better off financially. Despite all the great work we’ve done, there are still a lot of people out there whom I know we can help,” she says. “And there are more ways we can help them, too. We’re investing in new research and growing our teams, which means we’re actually investing in our customers.”
Tally’s long-term vision depends on a great deal of work from Genessa and her teams, but she’s still able to find time to pursue her personal passions. She serves as an advisory board member for OneJustice, which provides legal aid to low-income Californians through immigration services, expunging criminal records and DACA support, and volunteers weekly with The Gubbio Project in San Francisco’s Mission District.
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my purpose in life and have realized that a perfect, crystallized vision isn’t totally necessary. If you waste all your time obsessing about what your purpose is, you miss out on what you’re doing in the moment,” Genessa says. “I choose to focus on how I can be really effective with what’s in front of me.”
And being effective is what she does best. Genessa’s presence of mind enables her to empathize with Tally customers and commit to her personal philosophy: Treat people the way you want to be treated.
“That’s the type of world I want to live in,” she says. “At a company like Tally, we have the ability to do that. That matters a lot to me.”