General Counsel and Chief Franchise Officer at MasterCard
Diversity and inclusion has been an essential part of helping the company open up to the wider world.
When LGBT equality was being debated in the U.S., we spoke clearly and candidly about where we stood on the issue. Our friends, colleagues and partners who are part of our lives all deserve the same treatment, as a matter of human decency. It was central to what we believe to be right and to our commitment to diversity.
MasterCard may have started in the U.S., but our business today is in 210 countries and more than half our revenue is driven outside North America.
We need to have the courage to say what we believe and we’re prepared to have that conversation globally. That requires us to recognize that in many parts of the world this is a tough topic; progress will come at different paces in different places. We need to be smart and locally relevant, while understanding that what matters is to keep making progress.
One of the areas we’re most proud of at MasterCard is the power of our employee affinity networks, including our LGBT resource group, PRIDE. They started in the U.S. and are now also in the UK, gradually expanding to other markets. We aim to do a great job of making sure that our people feel comfortable and welcome to join PRIDE, to talk about LGBT issues and to self-identify if they so choose, in many more places around the world than they do today.
But, it’s not only about what we say publicly. It’s how we treat each other as friends and colleagues. Even in those places where the situation is hard for LGBT people, we can help to create a safer community for our own teams. Building a safer place for these issues globally is hugely important and a way for us to play a leading role.
That’s why we joined Open For Business. We believe that diversity is not a nice-tohave, it is a business essential that includes creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our LGBT colleagues.
This is also about performance and competitiveness. Without a diverse leadership team and a diverse workforce, without an environment where people feel comfortable embracing and celebrating differences, you cannot be competitive and you cannot make the richest and most nuanced decisions.
Historically, our culture was more inwardfocused. But we’ve found it’s become a strategic imperative to be much more outside-in in our thinking; much more open to the world. That means exposure to thought leadership at the highest levels and engagement in local conversations. Diversity and inclusion have been an essential part of helping the company open up to the wider world.
In the emerging markets, we’re part of the foundation to build a modern society; an agent that helps to power economic development in cities. So in our company, there’s an urgent business imperative and a social imperative for us to include more people worldwide in the financial system. With two billion people excluded from access to financial services around the world, we’ve made a commitment, working with the World Bank and the UN, to include 500 million of them. It’s a major part of our strategy. Achieving that will be very hard without robust civil societies to work with.
I’ve no doubt that there’s a correlation between strong civil societies and well functioning institutions and places which embrace LGBT rights. So, I see advances in LGBT rights as a good sign of a strengthening civil society and economic progress