There couldn’t be a more exciting time to be the chief financial officer at MasterCard, according to the woman who holds that title, Martina Hund-Mejean.
"We’re obsessed with being at the forefront of technological development," she said, pointing to MasterCard’s focus on integrating payments with the emerging Internet of Things through its Commerce for Every Device initiative.
"It’s a matter of getting what you want, when you want it, in the easiest and safest way possible…shopping on your phone or tablet, or even shopping for groceries directly from your refrigerator," she said.
Hund-Mejean has a particular interest in the way payments are converging in our physical and digital lives, as she juggles her role with top responsibility for MasterCard’s financials with her other job as the mother of two growing children.
Being a working mom who "at times has a tough time balancing it all," Hund-Mejean sees firsthand how MasterCard’s breakthroughs to connect shopping and payments via household appliances could make life easier for busy people.
Hund-Mejean’s job gives her direct vision into the long-term economic planning that goes into creating such cool innovations, which is a fascinating part of her job. "It’s a matter of looking at the consumer first to understand what makes them tick, and what will drive them to make specific choices and decisions," she said.
Incorporating the perspectives of women into the mix is a big part of that planning process, too, Hund-Mejean said. Women are half of the world’s population and they now make up 40% of the workforce, she noted. More importantly, women command about 70% of household income, she said.
"Our workforce must reflect those demographics for us to understand the needs of a consumer, construct the right products and distribute them," Hund-Mejean observed.
What Hund-Mejean fears is phenomena MasterCard can’t control, including economic variables that are top-of-mind especially to CFOs. These concerns include personal consumption expenditure growth, oil prices, foreign exchange, international travel and trade, to name a few, she said.
Fortunately, a global perspective on the economy comes naturally to Hund-Mejean, who grew up in Germany and held finance posts at General Motors Corp., Lucent Technologies Inc. and Tyco International Ltd. before joining MasterCard in the CFO role in 2007. She holds an MBA from the University of Virginia.
Within MasterCard, Hund-Mejean sees women thriving throughout the company.
"I’m proud of the role women play on our board and in our executive leadership," she said. "I’m even prouder of the future leaders we’re cultivating. The advancement of women isn’t a standalone activity; it’s woven into the fabric of our business and operations."
MasterCard is extending its outreach to promote women’s economic empowerment globally, which also pleases Hund-Mejean. Examples include MasterCard’s Index of Women’s Advancement, which measures the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
"Society operates at its best when women are able to operate at their best," she said.