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Exploring Life & Business with Karena Bell of Turtle Bay Payment Solutions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karena Bell.

Karena, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I knew from a very young age, that I wanted to be a business owner.

When I finished high school in Ortonville, MI, I immediately enrolled in college excited to begin my education in business management, while working full time. I unintentionally started working in the banking industry in the IT department and fell in love with the innovation, the challenges, and the opportunity to support business from a technology standpoint.

With so many aspects to learn in IT, I pursued every project or assignment that I could that was challenging. I was fortunate to have the support from my leadership to step into areas I never worked in before, I was up for any challenge, and I had the freedom to fail my way to success.

From the banking industry, I then moved into the automotive industry working for Volkswagen North American Headquarters managing the IT data center. I was then recruited by internal leadership to start a new Quality Assurance & Software Testing team. This was a pivotal role in my early career as it required me to communicate with people throughout the organization from developers, clients, managers, directors, and c-suite leadership.

This role taught me how to customize my communications based on the audience I was speaking to and the message I was delivering. I then moved to Chrysler North American headquarters as a Sr. Project Manager. It was in this role that I found what I truly love to do: managing complex multi-faceted projects.

In this role, I had the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people on some of the most complex projects within our industry. After working in automotive manufacturing for a little over 10 years and where I saw the automotive industry heading, I decided to make an intentional move out of that industry and into the healthcare industry.

It was at this time that I also wanted to move further south from MI. My wife and I landed in Charlotte, NC in 2010. Although we found ourselves down in Charleston, SC every chance we could get. We eventually made the decision to move down three years later for good. We realized when we moved south originally, that we just did not move far enough south and we have called Charleston, SC home since 2013. I worked a total of 11 years in the healthcare industry as well, while working, achieved my Master’s Degree in Business Management at The University of South Carolina, when fate would have it, I came into work one day (April 1st, 2019) and the entire department of over 40 employees I worked in had been eliminated. 

I saw this as the opportunity or the nudge I had been looking for to finally start my own business. Throughout the years of my career up to this point no matter what role I filled, I always looked at my work through the lens of a business owner as if each of the companies I worked at was mine. By working with this approach, I was able to test drive and improve my leadership and decision-making skills as a business owner while working for someone else until my own time came.

My first business was an executive recruiting firm that specialized in working with Biotech, Medical Devices, Life Sciences, and Pharmaceutical executives find new careers and work with employers to help them find the talent their organization needed. I worked in this space for about 2 years and then realized I missed the challenges of working with software, hardware, and innovative technology.

It was out of my own frustrations with the payment and credit card services I was getting at my recruiting firm that led me to research the credit card payment processing industry in more depth to find a better solution.

Being a natural problem solver and entrepreneur, I decided to mentor with a 25-year expert in the industry for almost a year to learn about the industry, the challenges, and where business owners were being taken advantage of. It was at this time that Turtle Bay Payment Solutions was formed.

The business model that was formed addresses and resolves the high costs, unreliable technology, and automated support that business owners across North America have been plagued with.

Working with fellow business owners every day, we are educating business leaders through transparency of the electronic payments industry helping them to make more informed decisions regarding the payment processing solutions that are best suited for their business.

Advocating for, educating, and making a true impact with fellow business owners, I wake up every day with endless passion and purpose,

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As a woman working in IT and automotive manufacturing 25+ years ago, I was faced with the challenges of “measuring up” in male-dominated industries. My approach was to never give up, let my work speak for itself, and keep pushing through challenges regardless of the size. I knew deep down that through every challenge, I would either solve a problem or learn a lesson.  

I have learned some of my greatest lessons and blessings by relentlessly working through my biggest challenges, both personally and professionally.

Fortunately, I have had amazing mentors throughout my career and still do today. I feel every business owner should have a mentor that is supporting them. And they in return should be mentoring others where they can that are just starting their business ownership journey. We all need a little help along the way in one way or another.

A mindset that helps propel me toward my goals and more importantly through my challenges is to change the word “failure” to “feedback” in my mind and self-talk. Once you do that, then pursue “feedback” with a passion every day in everything you do. When we have feedback, we can analyze it, learn from it, adjust, and keep moving forward. Operate in a never-ending loop of feedback and the success you desire will come to you and forget the word failure.

Everything in life is feedback that allows you to determine whether you are moving in the right direction or not… there is only one time in life when you truly fail and that is when you quit pursuing your goals and dreams… SO DON’T EVER QUIT!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Turtle Bay Payment Solutions is a full-service credit card and crypto payment processing solutions company.

Our services include standard Credit Card payment processing, Crypto payment processing (coin to USD), Virtual Terminals, QR Codes, ACH, BNPL, Text-2-Pay/SMS, Recurring Invoicing, Subscriptions, Loyalty and Gift Card Programs, eCommerce, ATM machines, Same Day or 1-Day Funding, all POS Hardware and Equipment sold at cost, and more.

We love how we help businesses lower their costs, build their credit and increase their business valuation.

Our team supports all low-risk and most high-risk industries backed by FDIC-insured banks, across the U.S., we also support businesses in Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Our clients enjoy personalized service with a dedicated account manager they know by face and name with a direct phone number to call anytime. Each of our clients has my cell phone number to call anytime in addition to our 24×7 U.S.-based technical support team. We do not use call centers, 1-800 numbers, robots, or self-serve online ticketing systems of any kind. There are real people here supporting our clients day and night.

The first step when working with Turtle Bay is we provide a complimentary, Cost Savings Analysis to all business owners showing them where their rates are too high if they’re paying junk fees or hidden fees of any kind. Or, we validate the program they have in place is good, congratulate them, and remove ourselves from the conversation. Turtle Bay will only engage with a client when we can bring tangible value to their business.

At Turtle Bay, we are a mission-driven company that is relationship-focused and client-driven. We never ask our clients to sign contracts for their payment processing services. We strive to exceed our client’s expectations in everything we do. We help business owners realize that they do not need to sign contracts that lock them into a specific processor for a multi-year term and have to pay a penalty if they want out of the contract due to poor service, support, or increasing costs for their payment processing systems. It is through honesty, transparency, and true side-by-side partnership that our clients often become friends.

We offer complimentary consultations and Cost Savings Analysis for any business owner that has questions, concerns, or is seeking a solution that is truly built for their business. 

Feel free to reach out to me directly at 843-804-7151 or

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