Ajay is co-chair of Mastercard’s global inclusion and diversity council, where he pushes to provide a level playing field, encouraging colleagues to use their unique perspectives as a competitive differentiator. He is a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum. Among other prominent positions, Ajay is Chairman Emeritus of the America India Foundation, and regularly speaks to executive and student groups on issues which support the principles of D&I.
Jennifer drives change beyond a balanced slate, focusing on developing people of colour and increasing role models. Her focus on role models transformed her leadership team from 29% executives of colour to 50% in one year. She is preparing the next generation of executives by personally coaching 11 high potential ethnic minority leaders at Mastercard. She also serves as the Executive Sponsor for Mastercard’s African descent employee group (LEAD) in Europe, hosting activities in Mastercard’s European offices with topics geared to supporting career advancement, personal development, and sponsorship for ethnic minority employees, as well as showcasing role models. In addition, Jennifer spends career coaching time with members of the LEAD steering committee to support their advancement. Outside of work, she serves on the New York board of the American Red Cross and is a member of the House of St Barnabas, an organization that provides job training to combat homelessness.
As Chief HR Officer, Michael is committed to a number of key D&I initiatives. He aims to acquire diverse talent through requiring diverse candidate slates for all VP+ searches, auditing existing external partnerships to ensure access to people of colour for current and future roles, and building relationships with Historical Black Colleges & Universities. He has hosted focus groups with POC to understand how to create a more inclusive environment, leading to a series of actions. He also initiated annual salary surveys to ensure no inequity in pay due to ethnicity, gender etc. As Global Executive Sponsor for the Leading Employees of African Descent (LEAD) BRG, Michael and the group are embarking on an exciting pilot program for mid-career leaders (in partnership with an external consultancy) for people of African descent. The program will help LEAD members navigate nuanced situations they may encounter and coach them through areas of opportunity from their assessments. Michael also mentors BRG steering committee members to help maximise impact. Michael champions and raises awareness for the need for greater diversity through numerous external organisations, helping them to fulfil their mission of unlocking potential for diverse job seekers.
Jehu currently serves as a global lead for the LEAD (Leading Employees of African Descent) BRG at MasterCard, overseeing numerous global chapters and being instrumental in launching further chapters in Lagos, London and Waterloo. As global lead, Jehu champions inclusion, develops the annual BRG strategy, seeks to maximise impact and works to build strong relationships with other BRGs and to solicit executive support. Jehu drives efforts geared towards development of minority employees, and participates in innovation challenges, community support, diverse recruitment and mentoring. He ensures that LEAD partner with Human Resources annually to recruit minority interns and draw from Historical Black Colleges & Universities. Currently, Jehu is working with MasterCard’s Black Executive Network to establish a global mentoring programme. Externally, Jehu serves as a role model and mentor for minorities within the community. He volunteers on several committees in the local school district, and has helped to coach a diverse sports team. During the protests following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in St. Louis, MO, Jehu volunteered with a minority group to collect relief supplies, food & distributed to needy families within the impacted communities.
Ajay Banga is president and chief executive officer of Mastercard and a member of its board of directors. Since joining the organization in 2009, Ajay has led Mastercard on an inclusion journey, including the expansion of its global inclusion and diversity council, which he co-chairs. Under his leadership, Mastercard embraces, encourages and supports its people to bring their whole selves to work and use their unique perspectives as a competitive differentiator. The company pursues diversity and inclusion to help people – employees, customers, citizens – succeed and thrive. That begins by opening doors and providing a level playing field, further reinforcing the power of the individual and unique experiences that make business more valuable and life more rewarding. Ajay regularly speaks to executive groups and students groups, sharing his perspective on issues that help support the principles of D&I. He is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, first vice chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and is chairman emeritus of the American India Foundation. He was awarded the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016 and with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2019. Ajay – and Mastercard’s – contributions to both social and financial inclusion are helping to make a difference in local communities, a true reflection of a commitment to do well by doing good.
Ronel believes strongly that ethnic diversity is critical to building any successful global organisation and so much of her effort has been on preparing ethnic minority employees for leadership positions. While leading Mastercard Customer Delivery in the Middle East Africa region she was responsible for the promotion of 15 ethnically diverse employees and continues to personally mentor 12 ethnically diverse employees. Having grown up in South Africa, as a woman of African Descent, the importance of giving back to her community has always been a focus for Ronel. She dedicated 2 years volunteering and lecturing for a non-profit organisation supporting disadvantaged business owners of ethnic descent in South Africa. Ronel shares her own career story speaking at events hosted by Mastercard for employees of African descent, and has also held a key role as the executive sponsor for the Women in Leadership for the Middle East Africa region.
During his career at Mastercard, Shawn has built and evolved the company’s public policy efforts across the globe. He expanded the role beyond traditional government relations to include a broader set of stakeholders, including NGOs, academics, think tanks and community organizations. Shawn is a founding member and chair of Mastercard’s Black Executive Network, an internal program to support the company’s business resource groups and develop and recruit black leaders. He also led the creation of the Master Your Card program to drive financial literacy and financial inclusion for poor and underserved communities. Shawn regularly gives motivational lectures to schools, non-profits and community groups to inspire minorities to excel. He serves on the Board of the Pro Bono Partnership which provides free legal services to local non-profit organizations and was recently recognized by Ebony Magazine as of one the top 100 influential black leaders in America.
Narcisse Tshimanga has been a key player in launching the LEAD Europe business resource group (Leading Employee of African Descent) at Mastercard. As the chairman of the BRG, he drives the LEAD Executive committee to reach their objectives to provide a range of engagement and development activities for our members as well as to engage, promote and mentor employees of African descent within the workplace. He promotes and builds relationships externally that could benefit Mastercard’s BAME employees by developing their skills through workshops and networking opportunities. This helps lead to talent and promotional opportunities and importantly improves employee engagement across the company. Narcisse has also has been a member of the Micro-Finance Sans Frontières (Micro-Finance without borders) which aims to help small businesses in Africa obtain funding to help kick start their initiatives and partnerships. In addition, Mr. Tshimanga acts as an advisor for an annual international awards known as The Best of Congo Awards, which is a platform that serves to highlight and celebrate the best talent of the Congolese diaspora.
Jennifer has a three-pronged approach to driving diversity at Mastercard: tracking diversity metrics, ensuring a balanced hiring slate, and developing high potential role models. In Europe and the US, Jennifer doubled the percentage of BAME employees in her teams using this approach. Jennifer’s focus on role models and mentorship transformed her leadership team from 29% BAME executives to 50% BAME executives in one year. She is priming the next generation of BAME executives by personally coaching 8 BAME high potential senior leaders in her organization. Jennifer’s impact on BAME advancement reaches beyond her own group. She serve as the Executive Sponsor for Mastercard’s African descent employee group (LEAD) in Europe. LEAD hosts activities in Mastercard’s London and Waterloo offices with topics geared to support career advancement, personal development, and sponsorship for BAME employees, as well as showcasing BAME role models. Outside of Mastercard, Jennifer donates her time and expertise to organizations that help others without discrimination. She is on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, and is a member of the House of St Barnabas in London, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Ajay has been president and CEO of MasterCard since July 2010. As of December 31, 2015, MasterCard had 11,300 employees, of whom approximately 6,200 were employed outside of the United States. MasterCard is a Fortune 500 company with a market cap of $104 billion.
Throughout his career, Ajay has had the ability and the pleasure of serving on a number of boards that help to create a positive environment for businesses and individuals to grow and prosper, including the U.S.-India Business Council, the U.S.-China Business Council and the National Urban League.
Additionally, he regularly takes time during his travels to either speak at graduate schools or meet with students and entrepreneurs in more informal settings. These allow him to share his personal insights, anecdotes and perspectives that he hopes are used to inspire others to find their own pathways and reach for their aspirations.