When you have achieved things, you have a responsibility to give back to others

18 Dec 2012 20:20 | Armelle Loghmanian

 “When you have achieved things, you have a responsibility to give back to others"

By Corina Ciechanow & Alessandra Zocca


Jennifer Rademaker

Group Head Core Products Europe
Global Products & Solutions at MasterCard

Jennifer, could you please illustrate MasterCard’s approach to diversity and inclusion (D&I)?

Does it include equal opportunities for women, 50+, multi-cultural communities, LGBT communities and disabled employees?

The first point to make on diversity and inclusion is that it is an employee led initiative, so employees lead what we call Business Resource Groups (BRGs). We have a Global Chief Diversity Officer – Donna Allgood Johnson – her role is to develop and implement our Diversity strategy and knit together the work of the BRGs.
According to our diversity & inclusion strategy “these self-governed groups are comprised of individuals who come together based on similar interests or experiences, such as gender or ethnicity. BRG members help us to identify business programs that address the needs of diverse consumers by providing feedback on new ideas and initiatives, partnering with specific organizations, and reaching out to their communities”. At present, MasterCard has eight BRGs (1), with participation in each being voluntary.

Currently in Europe we have the following BRGs active: Women’s Network, Young Professionals and an LGBT chapter called Pride.
In the United States we have diversity groups that take into account employee descent, like the EAST and Latin Network that refer to Asian and Hispanic origins; these BRGs are less relevant in Europe. In the USA, these groups support our business by helping MasterCard understand how to appeal to and satisfy their community’s needs.
We do not currently have a 50+ group in Europe. There is some talk about starting one, but we cannot begin until we have enough employees behind it who want to run this specific group. BRGs have to be initiated by the passion of employees because the success of these groups is very much dependent on passion and involvement.

How do the Business Resource Groups (BRGs) get initiated?

I’ll give you an example of how Business Resource Groups (BRGs) get initiated. In Europe about two years ago we had a group of young employees who wanted to launch a diversity group of young professionals. MasterCard tends to hire more seasoned business people, so to be 25/26 years old in this company could be a little rare. So they are a smaller, but high-energy BRG, that has a lot to contribute to MasterCard as we start moving into new technologies, like mobile payments. These young employees saw an opportunity to contribute to the business and came to me for advice on how to proceed because I had already promoted the Women’s Network BRG in Europe.

We have a person in Europe who is our representative on the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council – a council of very senior people that meet once a quarter to discuss D&I - so we talked to her and she thought it was a great idea. The next step was to find an executive sponsor for this group, somebody in the senior management team willing to help these young professionals get visibility, attention, resources and so on, and we found one of our Divisional Presidents of Western Europe who agreed to be their sponsor. It is not too hard to get these initiatives off the ground at MasterCard.

Could you please provide us with some examples of D&I initiatives already put in place or on-going? Which of them would you rate as the most effective ones? And, which are the main actions you put in place in your area of responsibility?

The most effective diversity initiatives are those where there is a clear business imperative for that diversity group to be in place. For example the Women’s Network has been very effective for four years and the reason is because there is a business need to resolve, to bring more women to the top, to help them through their career.
Certainly in Europe there is an opportunity for us to work on helping women coming back from maternity leave and supporting young mothers in their work-life balance. We are still working on it.
In the past four years we hired a woman CFO, we have two board members who joined who are women, the President of International Markets – who reports directly to the CEO is a woman, the person who heads the UK/Ireland business is a woman. Europe’s representative on the Global Diversity & Inclusion council is Bella Stavchansky, the President of High Growth European markets. We are starting to see a bit of momentum getting women into jobs at the very senior level. We hire a lot of women but the challenge is getting women to rise through the pipeline, and in some functions like sales it is very difficult for a woman to make progress. We still have work to do …

How do you measure success in the implemented D&I initiatives at MasterCard?

It varies.; In the European Women’s Network we measure success using a survey, where we ask our female employees how they feel about MasterCard as an employer for women, what is their level of satisfaction with the company. We also ask them if they feel they have a good work-life balance. We use those answers to benchmark our results. Also we keep track of the percentages of women in different levels of responsibility and we compare them against industry benchmarks.

In particular, MasterCard participated in McKinsey’s 2012 gender pipeline study: “Unlocking the Full Potential of Women at Work” and the scheme below shows our position against the benchmark.

McKinsey Success Measurement



Odds of Advancement



Women at the top



Presence in line roles



Women at entry level



The other BRGs do not yet have such strong metrics in place to measure the success of their initiatives; the Women’s Network is, I think, the most mature of the BRGs.

Would you please tell us more about the women’s network/s in MasterCard and their main purpose and concrete actions?

Our main purpose is to put in place the environment to help women get ahead at MasterCard. We use surveys to identify areas where women feel they need support. For example every year we get “mentoring.” Women want to be mentored, so we work with the Human Resources Department to be sure that the mentoring program is fit for purpose and that women can take advantage of it.

This annual survey includes 20 questions that we benchmark over time to identify what happened; five of these questions are open, for example if somebody does not think MasterCard is a good employer, then we ask the reasons why, and we always ask for suggestions to make Women’s Network activities more effective.

How does the HR function contribute to the D&I management? Is the Global Chief Diversity Officer part of HR?

The Global Chief Diversity Officer is not part of HR, she sits in the Law Department. I think this separation from HR demonstrates that Diversity must be employee led and supported by HR.

Apart from the sense of responsibility, what has inspired you to make efforts to support other women to succeed in their career?

The sense of responsibility, exactly. I believe in my life that when you have achieved things, you have a responsibility to give back to others, not just to women.
For example if you are affluent, you have the responsibility to create a job for another person in the home. I used to work in South Africa and I hired three people to work for me (gardener, baby-sitter, house-keeper). With so many jobless people in the world, my view is that those with disposable income have a moral obligation to provide employment. Similarly, I really think that if you achieve a certain level in your career, you need to reach down and give a hand up to other people. Another example: I currently mentor nine people at MasterCard, all talented people who I am working with to move to the next level of their career. What do I expect in return from these people? When they are promoted, they then have a responsibility to mentor other people and “pay forward” their good fortune.

When I was eighteen, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, the great South-African crusader against apartheid and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984, came to talk at the university where I studied in the United States. He made a strong speech encouraging us privileged and “free” American students to help fight the racial struggle in South Africa.
That speech made an impact on me. When I was in my early twenties I went to live in South Africa under apartheid, and later, ten years ago, I lived there again for five years. These experiences contributed to make me the way I am now.

Based on your experience what are the main areas of their professional life women need to improve to succeed? And, which are the major qualities that women should expand?

In my view, one of the things that holds women back is the fact that women do not speak up as much as men when they have done something successful. If a woman has done an amazing project, she hopes that someone notices it, and if nobody notices she might talk about it to her boss.
A man would not behave the same way. Men, I think, are more comfortable talking about the good things they are doing, the contribution they are making, the way they are making their company a better place, how successful and smart they are.

Women on the other hand tend to not talk about their successes, they do not self-promote as much. Of course I am generalizing here. Women can appear to be less competitive than men, they need to speak up, to learn to be more vocal, and not be afraid to express their opinions. Women can also be too self-critical, they keep a sense of inadequacy in their mind, they think of things they are not good at. Mentally, this attitude, this burden does not help women succeed in business.

Men seem less likely to keep that list of inadequacies in their heads and focus less on their failures.

Referring to women’s qualities, I believe that women can be great people managers, they are good at delegating, they are good at multitasking, they use their emotional intelligence to better understand their employees’ needs, their mood, what is working and what is not.

Can you give us any hints about how you see D&I at MasterCard developing in the future?
Is MasterCard in touch with any other firms with a view to sharing best practice in the D&I field of business?

I think that MasterCard is on the right path of diversity and inclusion; I think that in the future we will continue doing what we have initiated, I do not think there will be a change in our strategy, we are going in the right direction and we have achieved great momentum.
Sharing our best practices with other companies is limited right now For example, we work with Catalyst, but are just starting to reach out to our customers, banks. We participate in women’s associations in some countries like Valore-D in Italy.

Short Biography
Jennifer Rademaker leads the Core Products group for the MasterCard Europe region. In this role, Ms. Rademaker is responsible for the management, development and commercialization of consumer and commercial products for Europe, including Debit, Credit, Commercial, Prepaid, and Cardholder Solutions. Previous roles at MasterCard include head of Europe Strategy for Europe, and head of Europe Customer Delivery Optimization.
Before joining MasterCard Europe in 2007, Ms. Rademaker was the chief credit officer at African Bank, a large sub-prime lender in South Africa. Ms. Rademaker previously worked for MasterCard from 2000 to 2003 in the MasterCard Advisors group, founding the Decision Analytics practice. She brings over 20 years of global experience in Financial Services, with positions at Experian, American Express, and First USA/Bank One. She is also the author of a comic book series published in South Africa that educates children on good financial habits and life skills.
Ms. Rademaker holds a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Lehigh University and a Master of Science in Statistics from Iowa State University.

Contact details

Jennifer Rademaker

Group Head
Core Products Europe
Global Products & Solutions at MasterCard


MasterCard Europe
Chaussée de Tervuren, 198A
1410 Waterloo

Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MasterCard, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.

(1) Extract from: “MasterCard Global Diversity and Inclusion Brochure”

 Empowering Asian Employers for Success and Thought Leadership  
 EAST consists of employees who have an affinity towards Asia, either by heritage or a strong interest in Asian affairs. As part of its mission, EAST directs efforts and programs designed to enhance the understanding among all MasterCard employees of the overall trends in Asia, and how key dynamics impact our business in the region. Additionally, the group acts as a resource to provide insight into programs and services that target and influence the purchasing preferences of Asian consumers, both in the United States and abroad.

 Latin Network  
The Latin Network brings together employees of Latin descent, including those who are Latin American, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian, as well as others who have an affinity for those cultures. It provides members with an opportunity for professional development and networking, while creating shareholder value for MasterCard through its connection to the Hispanic consumer segment and organizations.

 Lifting Employees of African Descent  
 LEAD’s mission is to facilitate an environment that attracts, promotes, and retains employees of African descent, including providing them opportunities for professional growth. LEAD also acts as a resource to provide insight into programs and services that target and influence the purchasing preferences of this important minority group.

 Fostering an environment of inclusiveness and Respect for LGBT employees  
 PRIDE members take a leadership role in fostering an environment of inclusiveness and respect throughout MasterCard that enables employees to feel comfortable being open about their lives, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The environment is also one where equality of treatment is promoted and discriminatory behavior is not tolerated. PRIDE further serves the organization by helping MasterCard explore and implement ways to better reach out to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community as potential customers, clients, or employees.

 Active & Veteran Military Personnel & Their Families  
 SALUTE’s mission is to build a global network of support for active and veteran military personnel and their families by providing an environment that attracts, engages, and retains active and veteran military personnel, facilitates a successful transition into MasterCard’s corporate culture, and provides opportunities for professional growth by fostering a military-friendly culture that advances career development.

 WLN (Women’s Leadership Network)  
 With approximately 1,400 members in 36 locations across all five of MasterCard’s regions, the WLN seeks to advance women’s careers and performance through a culture of mentoring and coaching. By enabling members’ professional and personal growth, it provides reputational and financial benefit to MasterCard and our shareholders.
 WWAVE Workers with Accumulated Valued Experience  
 WWAVE incorporates all facets of diversity to engage its members, while at the same time utilizing their experience, talents, and value to positively impact MasterCard's business. Additionally, WWAVE utilizes its members to work with the business and other BRGs to analyze purchasing power, identify new consumer segments, and develop new ways for MasterCard to best capture our ever expanding markets.

 YoPros Young Professionals  
 YoPros are focused on developing and utilizing the innovative skills of our young professionals. As such, the group reflects our belief that diversity encompasses generational differences and life stages as much as it does more traditional distinctions, such as gender and ethnicity. YoPros’ mission is to create a network of young professionals that not only informs MasterCard World wide’s business strategy as it pertains to this segment, but also fosters information sharing and relationship building.

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