Meet Derek Jarrett, COO and Co-Founder of AND
I’m writing my bio for a company I’ve co-founded with childhood friends... so cool. It really does feel exhilarating to be starting something like this! It’s also fitting the other founders are Nick and Anthony. Growing up in Virginia a few miles down the road I’ve known Anthony since the 3rd grade. Nick and I met in middle school when his family moved next door, and once Nick moved in it was impossible not to gravitate towards such a talkative guy! Our three stories each start in a different part of the country, but we all eventually ended up in Northern Virginia for our formative years.
For me, life’s journey began in Southern California. My family didn’t head east until I was seven, which was a huge change! I have an older brother by two years and my sister is ten years younger. We’re all quite close and always have been, same with my parents. I have (literally) never seen my parents have a fight, they’ve never even raised their voice at one another (in front of their children, at least!). They chose to never speak of money or work around their kids, instead they displayed the importance of family. My father is from Texas and my mother from Puerto Rico, and I have 16 aunts and uncles between the two of them. What’s more, 11 of them are from my mom’s side of the family! With much of my family living in California it was tough moving across the country. It influenced my life greatly as I had never been to the east coast, and I had definitely never been so far away from what I knew. But, I did have my family.
Being a kid from Southern California I had also never experienced a real fall or winter season, another reason the move was tough. That first year dealing with the cold was... not fun, but it did create a lot of memories. I can remember being told by kids in the neighborhood that I missed the best winter the year prior. At the time I didn’t know what a “blizzard” was, but I did understand it would close down school. I didn’t care, though, with it being cold for seemingly half the year it took a while me to warm up to living in Virginia. But, those memories feel so long ago now! Almost like it’s someone else’s life; being freezing cold standing at the bus stop, and coming home with cold hands and feet – it feels like a different lifetime. With hindsight in my grasp it’s clear how my family’s move positively affected my go-with-the-flow personality.
I eventually got used to the seasons and wearing layers in the cold months. I also learned in the warm months how poison ivy is the worst! But, it didn’t stop me from being the outdoors kid I was, and the outdoors adult I still am. I just love being outside doing something. Now, I’m not the outdoorsy type that can survive off the land, I’m more the type that tent camps with creature comforts – don’t judge me! Hiking and camping is a blast, but eventually I found my love for cycling and adventure motorcycling, the two activities that mostly defined my twenties. Memories like bicycle riding with Nick from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and back, riding a motorcycle solo across the country, beach trips with Anthony - these memories stand out as compared to milestones finishing school and starting my career in card payments, to be honest.
Continuing with the honesty, life has kind of.. just.. happened. I wasn’t in a financial major in school, or ever truly planned out my career path. And, the older I get the more I hear I’m not alone in that! My drive in life stems more so from the relationships of those around me rather than my own self-interest. I want to ‘do right’ by others, and do my best to leave a positive feeling for anyone I have the privilege of interacting with. It’s a large reason for the endeavor of AND processing. Growing up my folks rarely spoke of their work, but when they did it was always from the context of making something better than when they arrived. That’s what I want to do here. The card payments industry isn’t known for its customer experience or transparency, so my hope to carve out positive change in the industry starts with AND. And, making this positive change a reality starts with doing right by Anthony, Nick, and you.
For many of us work is a means to an end. It’s the way we’re able to pay the bills and keep food on the table. We’ve all heard it before, “do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life”. I do like this quote, but I’m unsure how much I believe it specifically for me. I mean, I love bicycling but I wouldn’t want to make a career of it. Working in the payment industry wasn’t a childhood dream, and it can be tiring at times. But, this industry does offer – on a daily basis – the opportunity to leave something better than when you arrived. That’s where the enjoyment of this career comes from; helping someone understand their fees, or seeing a business grow are the types things I take home each day after work. Sure, there can be days of frustration, or days that feel like they’ll never end, but there is always a reward leaving something slightly better than when you found it.
It’s absolutely an honor to be working with people I so deeply care about. AND processing really is a little family. A family I feel privileged to know, and a family I’m proud to watch grow.