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MasterCard and Barnard College: Helping Women Change the World

March is Women’s History Month, offering a time to reflect on progress made for women’s rights but also the work yet to be done. Last week I, along with my colleagues, had the privilege to be a part of a truly inspiring day at Barnard College addressing both points.

BarnardSponsored by MasterCard, the seventh annual Women Changing the World 2015 global symposium held at Barnard College’s New York City campus (replay here) echoed MasterCard’s philosophy of creating a diverse workforce by helping women advance in their careers.

Diversity is important for MasterCard as it’s used to drive real business impact. The company leverages the unique perspectives of employees to deliver innovative and secure products and solutions for the consumers served around the world.Group photo

The symposium explored women’s issues in regions where such opportunities don’t readily exist, with the goals of creating a global network of women leaders and inspiring women about their own leadership potential.

This year’s distinguished lineup of speakers included Queen Noor of Jordan, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee, CARE USA CEO Helene Gayle, New York Commissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena and others. These leaders talked about the barriers and triumphs that have marked their lives and careers.

At the second session, “Chronicling Change in the Economy and Media,” participants talked about a range of topics, including the interplay between money and power. Panelist Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of Financial Times in talking about the economy said,

“If you want to understand the world around you and how power works and what matters, it’s not enough to just understand the politics and the culture. You need to know where the money goes, too. It’s a bit like trying to understand the body … you need to understand what’s happening to the blood and the bones. And money is like the blood and the bones of the global body.” She added, “many girls tend to assume that money is kind of a male thing. But you know what, anyone can learn it.”