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Meet Justin Abel: The Fast Interview

Justin Abel, Senior Director of Payments & Risk at Fast

Justin Abel

Role: Senior Director of Payments & Risk

Team: Payment Operations

Talk about your background leading up to Fast.

I am a Pacific Northwest native. Growing up, there wasn't a competitive sport I wouldn't play. My love for sports took me to New York, where I played Division I college soccer at St. John's University, and I finished my collegiate career at Seattle Pacific University. After school, I played briefly with the Seattle Sounders, as well as in Southwest London with Brentford Football Club.

After my playing days, I launched my career at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where I primarily worked in operations, and in the evenings I pursued my MBA. After graduating, I transitioned to Amazon where I led a risk and compliance team in the peer-to-peer money space. After Amazon, I joined Remitly, where I was their fraud product manager. After a year or so in that role, our founders asked me to take on global operations, where I helped scale the organization to about 250 people. Then I joined Uber, where I led the Global Acceptance and Disbursement Strategy and Operations teams within Uber Money.

How did you learn about Fast, and why did you say yes?

I first learned about Fast when my friend, and now manager, Allison Barr Allen (Co-Founder and COO of Fast) told me she was joining after leaving Uber in 2019. So while Allison got a head start, I kept Fast in the back of my mind. When I reached out to Allison in 2020 to learn more about what Fast was building, I was blown away by the vision, the fact that she already had a clear role in mind for me, and I loved every person I met on the team.

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child?

I grew up in Snohomish/Everett, Washington. I was a sports fanatic. I played baseball, basketball, and soccer, often having multiple practices in a given night and tournaments every weekend. When I wasn't playing sports I was extremely active outdoors.

What was your first job ever?

While in high school, I used to work with my uncle who is a stonemason. He had a marble and granite business where he commissioned pieces and performed installations. I was his "polish and grout” guy. That really meant I was the one who did all the tedious jobs he didn't enjoy.

What career path did you almost take?

I graduated during the Great Recession and was heading down the investment banking and/or consulting path. I'm very happy there were no jobs at the time because my career would have looked very different. I love tech and am in my “happy place.”

Which public figure do you admire most and why?

Janet Yellen. I've been astounded by her quiet yet bold leadership and the impact she's made at the highest levels of government. She's an amazing individual, and I'm proud to say I worked under her leadership for three-plus years at the Fed.

What app on your phone do you use the most?

News/insights: Twitter or CNN. Adulting: Zillow or Redfin. Home goods and other general purchases: Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Finance: Personal Capital.

What food do you uncontrollably eat?

Chips and dip. If there is a good dip with some tortilla or potato chips, count me in for eating 10 times more than I should.

Who are your favorite TV or film characters?

Harvey Specter from “Suits” and Jack from “This Is Us.”

What was the last show you binge-watched?

Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime. It’s excellent.

What personal goal would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Self-discovery. The older I get, the more I understand I have to do the very hard, and deeply personal work to be the person, dad, and role model I want to be.