Navigating the Journey from Diversity to Inclusion

by LP Green, II

Tim Murphy, General Counsel and Chief Franchise & Officer, Mastercard

As the General Counsel of Mastercard, you would expect Tim Murphy to be focused on the nuances of rules, legal compliance and public policy. What might not immediately come to mind would be his responsibilities in overseeing the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Yet, it’s his unique perspective having served in several senior roles across the organization – including President of the U.S. region and Chief Product Officer – that helps support and strengthen the commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We believe diversity is a core business enabler and goes beyond the HR function or a ‘nice to have’,” said Murphy.

At Mastercard, the values of diversity and inclusion are driving a deeper understanding of the company’s customers. Every day, this commitment plays out in many ways, including providing teams with diverse experiences, access to distinct cultures and points of view to help spur increased innovation and relevance.

“Most companies focus on diversity and they should,” noted Murphy. “However, we believe that the focus should be reframed as a journey from diversity to inclusion. Our goal is to ensure inclusion at every level, in every office and in every country in which we operate.”

One of the primary engines for inclusion and innovation at Mastercard is its “Business Resource Groups” or BRGs. Today, there are 8 BRGs operating across Mastercard, with chapters in every region and membership totaling nearly half of the company’s 12,000 employees.

These BRGs provide employees the opportunity to enhance cultural awareness, develop leadership skills and network with colleagues across business units at all levels, including senior leadership. It’s this commitment and action that has led Mastercard to being recognized for four consecutive years as one of the top 10 in Diversity Inc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

“We take great steps to cultivate and nurture an inclusive culture where all employees feel accepted and valued. That is the key to having a highly motivated, engaged and connected workforce.”

Inclusion also has another meaning at Mastercard – the idea of financial inclusion. Today, there are more than two billion individuals – half the adult population of the world – who sit outside the financial mainstream. This is in all markets and geographies – from Africa to America.

The financially excluded don’t have the tools to do the basic things that most people take for granted like save, obtain credit, or receive and make payments. Financial inclusion and inclusive growth creates opportunities for all segments of the population to participate in the formal economy.

“We’re engaging more widely and with a broader audience. But, what’s even more important is that doing something about this issue is not only the right thing to do. It’s also good for our business.”

The commitment to diversity and inclusion does not stop at the company’s doors. In addition to his responsibilities at Mastercard, Tim also sits on the board of trustees for the National Urban League.

“I’m sometimes struck by how relevant Mastercard can be in having both a business and social impact, and that I get to play a small role in bringing about change.  As business leaders we have a responsibility to create environments where this type of culture can thrive.”

Mastercard has partnered with NUL to deliver actionable solutions through the Master Your Card community empowerment programs that go beyond managing daily payments related needs to addressing quality of life issues for African-American households.

In 2016, Mastercard was recognized as the National Action Network’s “Corporate Partner of the Year” for its efforts to educate and empower middle and low income communities in their drive to attain financial stability.

“To understand the importance of this recognition to us, it’s important to understand the importance of community to us,” said Murphy. “We believe that companies need to make thoughtful and deliberate decisions about their internal culture and the positive impact they have in the communities they serve. Our goal is to be good business people, but also good neighbors and honorable citizens of the global community.”

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