As the first lawyer in my family, though not the last, I came to understand the importance of mentors who can support and guide you on your career journey. I started in Visa’s legal department in 2003, eventually leading the team providing legal support on employment-related matters. As a Visa employee, I made diversity and inclusion a priority even before it was part of my job description and helped create diversity internship and mentoring programs. Now, a few years into my role as Visa’s Chief Diversity Officer, my team is continuing to build programs that support employees around the world and I continue to witness the tremendous value in supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce. In fact, I went on to mentor my two sisters as they navigated law school and eventually joined me in the legal world, making our parents extremely proud.
International Women’s Day (IWD), on March 8, marks an annual celebration of the contributions women have made to societies, economies, cultures and politics. We have become leaders in every facet of life, thanks to support from both men and women, and our success has impacted many. At Visa, we have worked to level the playing field by bringing women into the formal financial fold through our inclusion programs. Without secure financial access, women cannot start businesses, care for their families, save for a rainy day. By lifting them up, we can all hold our heads high.
The day is also an important reminder that women matter in business. Research shows that diverse workforces are crucial to a company’s success, especially one as global as ours. But that success does not come just by welcoming women into the room. It means valuing, respecting and supporting their ideas when they get there. It’s about men and women working together to create the best conditions for individuals to achieve their full potential. But how do you take a practical approach to encouraging a more diverse and inclusive environment? You walk the talk and address it, head on.
Last year, we developed a training program that emphasized the importance of a diverse candidate slate and provided tools to address the potential for hiring bias. We also partnered with nationally recognized diversity organizations, including Diversity Best Practices, the Anita Borg Institute, Women In Payments and many others to further support opportunities for women in technology and women working in the payments ecosystem. In order to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing women professionals, we partnered with the Simmons School of Management, the leading business school designed specifically to advance women in their careers, to create a customized program targeted to growing our pipeline of female leaders. We also plan to utilize the recent launch of Visa University to foster a learning environment and curriculum and advances diversity and inclusion. To establish a baseline for assessing these efforts and more, we integrated diversity metrics into talent strategy assessments, workforce planning analytics and our employee engagement survey. We continue to improve and build upon these programs because there is nothing more important to us, as a business, than creating a workplace where everyone feels accepted for who they are and that we are reflective of the people,
everywhere, who use Visa.
This International Women’s Day, we are proud to dedicate the month of March to recognize women’s empowerment, advancement and progress. Throughout the month, we have invited our employees—men and women—all over the world to participate in events associated with IWD, including webinars around diversity best practices; access to resources from Makers, an esteemed women’s leadership organization; and speaking engagements and networking opportunities with prominent female leaders and partners in our communities. We’ll be showing our purple pride and sharing thoughts, inspirations and ideas. Join us in the conversation and share what this day means to you.
– Jolen Anderson, SVP and Chief Diversity Officer, Visa