How to accelerate gender equity in the business world

March 15, 2022 | By Siobhan Stewart

“If you want something, reach for it.” A long career in male-dominated spaces forged Ann Cairns’ personal credo, and continues to fuel it in her work to champion women in business.

In the latest episode of “Inside the Circles,” Mastercard’s podcast about the future of work and the topics of now, host Latoya Bennett-Johnson sits down with Cairns, Mastercard's vice chair, to discuss her longstanding commitment to inclusion, diversity and mentorship, and the experiences that shaped her mission.

Cairns worked as a research scientist in the field of offshore oil and gas drilling before moving into international banking and finance, where she was often the only woman in the room.

“It’s not all negative,” she says. “If you look different to everyone else, you get noticed.” She also saw that having different people at the table produced a greater array of opinions and ideas, sparking her passion to advocate for gender equity in business.

In addition to representing Mastercard around the world, Cairns promotes gender equity inside the company through its Women’s Leadership Network business resource group. Externally, she is the board chair for the Financial Alliance for Women, the global nonprofit that works with  financial organizations to give women better access to financial opportunities, and the global chair for the 30% Club, which aims for more female representation on corporate boards.

To hear more from Bennett-Johnson and Cairns, subscribe to “Inside the Circles” on Apple Podcasts or stream it directly in the player above.

Siobhan Stewart, Specialist, Communications