Embracing the commitment to partnerships

By Jennifer Rademaker & Paul Petta


It’s a word many of us use every day, but few of us think about the full impact of what it means. The essence of partnership carries the weight of an ongoing relationship. It’s based on respect and close cooperation. There’s an implied — and sometimes actual — contract. And, it’s about a shared vision or goal that will be met with clear responsibilities.

“Partnerships … encourage a series of characteristics — trust, teamwork, a regard for someone else, and continuing checks and balances ...”
Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney


Just think about some of the successful partnerships of the past century. Marie and Pierre Curie. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Bill and Melinda Gates. Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai.

Each of those partnerships was built on respect for the individual and the contributions that each one could deliver every day. They pushed and pulled each other to go beyond individual limitations to achieve greater value. Those partnerships prove that 1 + 1 can equal 3.

We believe that partnership carries even more weight and importance today. Times of challenge, times of crisis and times of need are when true partnerships are tested and strengthened. It’s when you see who is truly at your side.

As the world has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have spent even more time with our customers discussing our respective questions and concerns. We’ve been getting closer, immersing ourselves even deeper in their businesses, thinking and acting as integrated members of their team, not as an external party. Together, we have been looking ahead, anticipating and managing through the rapidly changing environment.

While we might not have been planning for this specific social and economic scenario, a deep commitment to partnership is exactly what we had envisioned when we reimagined the Franchise organization 18 months ago. We aimed to be a business enabler and a collaborator, not just the folks who set and enforce rules.

Today’s challenges are helping us see the strength of these foundations, where our partnerships — both internally and externally — come to life in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible a few years ago.

Conversations with our leadership teams have focused on ensuring that we think differently than we might have before the coronavirus emerged. It’s not just about a sale or an incremental activity. It’s about being at our customers’ side when they need us most.

Our partners saw this commitment a couple of weeks ago when we took action to pause some system updates. We could have pushed it through, but the marketplace had too much uncertainty and it could have diverted resources from where they were needed. That could have broken the trust and support we’ve built over many years.

That commitment to partnership was expressed recently in our support for small businesses. It’s also expressed in the way we will manage our customer delivery and franchise activities during the next quarter. Our partnership principles will guide communications to customers and related monitoring, as well as enforcement activities to support their need to focus on their core business. All of this comes as we deliver the ongoing safety, security and integrity that’s expected of our network.

It’s our decision to take actions like these, with a long-term view, that makes us prouder than ever to be at Mastercard. As an organization, we’re walking the walk and delivering on the expectations of partnership.

JENNIFER RADEMAKER, Executive Vice President, Customer Delivery

PAUL PETTA, Chief Franchise Officer