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Series Four, Episode Two: Harnessing the Power of Intersectionality (Recorded Live)

This episode was recorded live at the Women in Payments USA 2019 Symposium in Washington on 5th February 2019. Our host Julia Streets was joined by Jan Estep, President and CEO of NACHA, Linda Quaranto, Consulting Managing Director of Deloitte, and Randall Tucker, Chief Inclusion Officer of Mastercard.

During this panel, the diversity and inclusion discussion explores the potential for harnessing the power of intersectionality to accelerate change and examines the positive impact of the speakers’ initiatives. Winning the equality debate requires support for, alignment with and engagement from representatives from many other constituents and groups. During this discussion the esteemed panel shine a light on areas of positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus and offer of plenty of practical ideas to help drive change.

Jan Estep

NACHA’s President and CEO Janet O. Estep sets the vision and strategy for the organization. Ms.Estep is responsible for ensuring that the ACH Network remains one of the largest, safest and most reliable payment systems in the world, and that it continues to provide value and enable innovation. Ms. Estep also drives NACHA’s continued role as an industry convener for ACH and other payments types by bringing diverse parties together through rulemaking, standards development, governance and education.

As an industry expert and thought leader, Ms. Estep currently serves on the U.S. Faster Payments Governance Framework Formation Team and served on the Steering Committee of the Faster Payments Task Force. Ms. Estep also participates on several payments and healthcare organization boards and coordinating bodies, and has been named to PaymentsSource’s list of Most Influential Women in Payments each year since 2013.

You can follow NACHA on Twitter @NACHAOnline.

Linda Quaranto

Linda is a Managing Director in Deloitte’s Human Capital Financial Services Consulting practice. She has over 25 years of experience in both industry and consultancy roles. Linda has assisted some of the firms most prestigious clients in support of their transformation initiatives.

Linda has deep expertise and experience assisting clients with talent, culture, diversity and inclusion and future of work initiatives across a wide spectrum of business functions. In addition to her client work, Linda leads a senior level unconscious bias training and reinforcement strategy for Deloitte Financial Service leaders.

Linda is known for her creative solutions that align with an organizations culture to ensure successful implementations. Representative clients include; Citibank, Goldman Sachs, UBS, RBC, Credit Suisse, and Barclays.

You can follow Deloitte on Twitter @Deloitte.

Randall Tucker

Randall Tucker is chief inclusion officer for Mastercard, where he is responsible for aligning the company’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives with the corporate business strategy to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to reach their greatest potential.

Before joining Mastercard, Randall served as the senior director of inclusion and diversity at Darden Restaurants Inc., where he led the development of a company-wide inclusion strategy to more closely align to the business and support an inclusive environment.

Prior to joining Darden, he led the transformation of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s diversity and inclusion strategy from a U.S.-focused model to a global model. During his tenure, he led the development of the organization’s first global initiative to enhance career opportunities for women at senior levels.

Earlier in his career, he served in various sales and human resource roles at Marriott International.

Randall holds a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University. He has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies and is a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Mr. Tucker lives in New York City with his husband.

You can follow Randall on Twitter @RandallMTucker.

Series Four, Episode Two Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets and a very warm welcome to this special edition of DiverCity Podcast, talking equality, diversity, and inclusion before a live audience at the Women in Payments Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Our object is to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus, and offer lots of ideas to help drive change. Today, I’m delighted to be hosting a panel with three distinguished industry practitioners: Jan Estep, President and CEO of NACHA, Linda Quaranto, Managing Director of Deloitte, and Randall Tucker, Chief Inclusion Officer of MasterCard.

As President and CEO, Jan Estep is responsible for setting the vision and strategy for the organisation. NACHA brings together diverse stakeholders to develop rules, standards, governance, education, and advocacy programmes, all designed to foster compatibility and integration across a wide range of payment systems, including the world famous ACH Network. As an industry expert and thought leader, Jan participates on several  payment and healthcare organisations’ boards and bodies, and has received many accolades as one of the industry’s most influential women in payments.

Linda Quaranto is a Managing Director in Deloitte’s Human Capital Financial Services Consulting practise. Offering more than 25 years of experience in both industry and consulting roles, Linda has assisted some of the firm’s most prestigious financial services clients with their transformation initiatives. She offers deep domain expertise and experience in the fields of talent, culture, diversity and inclusion. And also, the future of work. And, as if that’s not enough, Linda also leads a senior level unconscious bias training and reinforcement strategy for Deloitte’s financial services leaders.

Randall Tucker is the Chief Inclusion Officer for MasterCard, where he is responsible for aligning the company’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives with a corporate business strategy, all to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. Before joining MasterCard, Randall served as the head of diversity at Darden Restaurants, and led the global diversity and inclusion strategy for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Randall is proud to have been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies, and is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.

With that, I invite this wonderful audience, the Women in Payments Symposium here in Washington, D.C. to join me in welcoming Jan, Linda, and Randall.

Welcome one, welcome all. At the top of each episode, what we always do is invite each guest, to take a minute to talk about what you’re doing in your equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives before we then open up the discussion. Randall, let me start  with you. What are you up to at the moment?

Randall: Julia, thank you so much for having me. My name, again, is Randall Tucker, and I lead global inclusion and diversity for MasterCard. We are an organisation of over 15,000 folks that are committed to meeting and exceeding the customer experience. Whatever their need is, we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing that. As a part of that, inclusion and diversity help support us meeting, exceeding, our customer wants, desires, and needs.

Some of the things that we’re really excited about, from an inclusion and diversity perspective, is that we believe it’s not a one-size-fits-all model. We have a North Star, as a company, of where we want to go, but as I go through the regions, it might show up a little bit differently in how we might attack it. Again, it goes back to making sure that inclusion and diversity is relevant within the organisation. Relevance equals how do you connect it to business strategy? That’s something that we’re really excited about.

From the gender perspective, we’re very excited about some of the things that we’re doing from our hiring, development and retention. We have a programme called Girls for Tech, which we’ve made a commitment for 200,000 girls until 2020 to make sure they’re exposed to the STEM industry. That’s huge! That’s a stake in the ground that our organisation is saying, “We are committed to creating that next pipeline of diverse leaders within the industry,” so to speak.

Julia: Fabulous. And we’ll certainly circle back on some of the impact that that work has had. Thank you very much. Linda, let me come to you. Talk to us about your initiatives.

Linda: Thank you. I’m delighted to be here. I’m sure all of you know that in professional services, we serve clients. That is my day job. But what happened about three years ago was, and I only serve clients in financial services, it became apparent within the consulting group, not just in human capital but in strategy tech and our human capital practise that maybe we were losing some deals because we weren’t bringing the right teams. It wasn’t just our look and feel. It’s pretty easy to see an all white male team walking out to a client and say, “Hey, let’s not do that.” But it was maybe the diversity of thought. We’re very quick in professional services to say, “We lost that deal because of price.” We started to really be honest with ourselves. Was it really price? Maybe we didn’t have the most creative solution. Maybe we didn’t bring all the creative minds, and how would we do that?

We started to look internally, from a business perspective, of how do we win more work? Again, not only do our clients have diverse buyers, but it’s much more about how we look at it. We decided that we were going to take a hard look at ourselves. I raised my hand, don’t ask me why, to think about how we could really make the biggest impact. With all the initiatives out there that the firm did and a lot of things that Randall spoke about that our firm does, I thought, “We really need to get back to basics. We really need to talk about why there’s bias in our own practice.”

We decided that we were going to have mandatory training for our consulting partners, which is about 500 partners in the U.S. Our leader, Brian Johnston, took up the charge and said, “We can really learn.” And like all good consultants, we hired another consultant to do the training, because people listening to us might not happen. That worked really well and what became very apparent was the real unconscious bias moments that our really good people just weren’t recognising. It wasn’t just about women, although we have a lot of women in our practise, it was about age, it was about all kinds of things. At the end of the day, it really became about the Mini Me Syndrome. We think alike, like consultants. We’re trained to be consultants, and maybe that’s not okay. Maybe we need to be trained to look at different avenues. That’s the initiative that I led.

Julia: That’s an amazing programme to go through, and again, we’ll unpick some of the positive impact that has had. Let me bring in Jan at this point. Jan, talk to us about what you’re doing at NACHA.

Jan: I’d like to offer a little bit of a compare and a contrast. Compared to MasterCard and Deloitte, NACHA is a not-for-profit small business, an association that is reliant upon diverse stakeholders to come together to help us fulfil the needs of the industry in our payments ecosystem, when rules, standards, education, or accreditation need to be done in a consistent way because it helps the whole ecosystem. Our whole mission is dependent on a little bit different kind of diversity.

But with that said, I am very proud that last Friday, I was able to accept an award on behalf of our engaged and empowered employee base as one of the best places to work in Virginia, I say “our engaged and empowered workforce,” because, as a small group of people, you have to be agile. You need to be adaptable. You need to offer opportunities for change and growth that are very different than if you have a few hundred or a few thousand or tens of thousands of employees.

When you talk about, “What does it take to be engaged and empowered and to really foster that?” I also reflect upon the statistics of our organisation. 74% of NACHA are women. 36% are ethnically or racially diverse. We have a very diverse but small workforce. What it means is that we really have to foster authenticity versus assimilation. We don’t want everybody to be the same, and how do you really foster authenticity, especially when you’re a small group? Especially when you want to foster change and adaptation. It takes a unique set of skill sets.

Julia: What do you think, particularly about the impact? I mean, Randall, you were talking about skills there and the authenticity of not only an organisation and the culture but the authenticity of human beings when they work with that, as well. Talk to us about some of the positive impacts that your initiatives have had.

Randall: At MasterCard, I think we need to step back and say how we even define diversity, as well as inclusion for our company. Diversity, all the things that make us both similar as well as different. There are things about people you can see, things you can’t see. None of us are a carbon copy of each other, so therefore, we’re all diverse. When you think about inclusion, it is a leadership skillset. How well you’re able to build diverse teams and keep them. I could have gone into a lot more of a dramatic interpretation of what that definition is, but how do you build diverse teams and how do you keep them?

Some of the things we’re working on as an organisation to show the impact of our work is shown throughout. Everything that we do as an organisation links back to our business strategy. The approach, as I said earlier, that we take is a regional approach. Understanding, what’s the most important aspect of inclusion and diversity that we can support the regions? For example, it could be local versus expats in Asia or it could be gender balance within the U.S. Or in the U.S. it could be people of colour. So, whatever that looks like, based on what the leadership team is saying is most important for them in order to drive their strategy, that’s what we’re working on.

That whole approach, to me, is something very exciting because a lot of organisations don’t do it. I mean, I remember as I was evolving as an inclusion leader, I would go and force myself on the company to say, “You need to do these things,” but the company wasn’t asking for it. So, what our approach is, is that we’re taking the opportunity to sit back and be consultants and say, “What is your goal over the next three to five years from a business perspective?” Not diversity, but, “How can we support you in enabling that strategy?”

Julia: Well, that’s a perfect segue to bring in Linda, as the consultant. I’m very interested in the conversations you have with your clients, thinking about their commercial intentions and the impact of thinking about their teams and their human capital has upon achieving that, through the advice that you give.

Linda: From an external perspective, two things. One is, I think it’s easier to give clients advice on the what they should do because it’s very obvious when you’re on this side of the table. That was really, maybe, more of the “a-ha” moments for us of what we needed to do to be able to not just speak the speak but really understand how difficult it is, it was very easy to give advice or it’s easy to give a strategy paper, but how difficult it is for an organisation to make those changes. Again, I think we used ourselves as the mirror that said, “What are the changes that we need to make?”

To go to the question of impact, the training that we did was very eye-opening, as I said, but what was really impactful, in my opinion, was the language that people agreed to at the end of every session, to start to use. And it sounds so small, but I kind of think of this as small drips to really make the change. Some of the language was about, when we talk about about our teams, to your point, we all are different. Or, when we talk about our clients, using certain words. Instead of using the word, “That’s a really tough client,” when it’s a man, we can use the same word when it’s a female client and it has an impact on the junior staff that they start to understand that it’s the same, versus, maybe, a negative word if we have a tough client who’s a woman. I think those small impacts of our language had a much bigger impact than, I guess, I would have realised.

Julia: Jan, When you talk about the authenticity of the organisation and the diversity and the equality that you’ve driven through, to what degree are your members concerned about how your organisation is structured and do they question you about that?

Jan: I’ll go back to defining authenticity a little bit more because in comparison, assimilation means we’re really trying to get everybody to be exactly the same, both as employees, as well as members. It does not do the organisation or the industry much good if you all have exactly the same needs, if you all want exactly the same thing, because I do think it’s a diversity of thought that helps.

From a definitional standpoint, if you think about that. I’ll go back to my career. I worked for IBM 40 years ago. At that time, everybody wore a blue suit, a white shirt, and a red tie, even if you were a woman, although I couldn’t wear pants, everybody wore skirts. There was a real dress code. Everybody was the same. You were trained in exactly the same way. That is not our world today. Every company, including IBM, has changed from that mode. To the extent that authenticity means you don’t leave a part of yourself at the door, it’s as important for employees, as it is for members.

If I come to work and I talk about my kids or my dog, that’s okay. If I am of a different religion, that’s okay. If I’m in a same-sex marriage, that’s okay. These were all diversity things that aren’t as apparent on the face as, perhaps, gender or race because you can see those things as diversity, but it’s recognising diversity in thought and experience and then allowing that to come to the table. So, as a convener of diverse organisations, as well as an employer of diverse people, the same concepts hold true. How do you allow for authenticity? Part of that just means a deep sense of integrity. You have to have an environment where trust and honesty are there, for people to be able to share their ideas, their opinions, and not be challenged or criticised, except to the extent it allows everyone to move forward.

I think it takes a communication skill set that can be taught by managers, it can be taught by facilitators, and as we keep thinking about how do you pull out of people their unique thoughts, trust increases, honestly increases, and frankly, productivity then increases, also.

Julia: A lot of that’s driven by, coming back to the points about culture and having that honest feedback loop, It’s their ambition to reach that wonderful environment where everybody can live in complete harmony throughout organisations. But, there is a word that comes up a lot when I interview senior execs around the world, which is this question about intersectionality. This is a concern that has been raised to me on more than one occasion about, while we are building networks, women networks or LGBT networks or ethnic minority and ethnic heritage networks, networks of people who are caring for elderly people, and also disability networks, and I could go on because there are many different types of networks, that there is a risk that we may end up in a world that is continually siloed.

The opportunity to drive change and almost accelerate change is when those networks can begin to take advantage of the intersectionality that’s put before them. I would love to hear your views on your experiences of that, whether you think, in fact, that is empowering, or whether we have some way to go yet.

Randall, let me come to you first of all.

Randall: I’m glad we have a diversity and inclusion council, as well as a senior leadership team, because sometime my thinking is a little bit ahead of where the organisation wants to go so they rein me back in. As a tenant of me as a inclusion and diversity leader, I don’t believe you can build an inclusive environment in silos. That’s just a tenant of how I like to lead, from a strategy perspective. That doesn’t take away from, I believe, that certain groups should get together whenever they want to, from a networking perspective. But if we’re trying to get to that place of inclusion, what we want to do, ultimately, is have those different perspectives around the table around different topics.

I come to work every day as a black gay man in an interracial relationship. I don’t need more of that. I’ve got that. But I do want to understand, from other perspectives, what does it mean to be a single parent? So, you can have many different perspectives around the table that gives you, what does it mean to have a black child? What does it mean to have a white kid? What does it mean to have an LGBT kid? But they’re all parents. But you’re talking about something that creates a commonality.

I think one of the things, from an inclusion perspective, is that building those types of networks allows the walls to fall because you then create something where people can find that similarity with each other, and so, when the real things happen around where your differences are, you’re more willing to actually have that conversation because you’ve built a relationship with that person on a different level.

Julia: Linda, is that your experience as you look at your clients or you’re advising your clients and also from your organisation?

Linda: You may have read this. About a year and a half ago, Deloitte disbanded its ERG groups, its employee resource groups. Harvard Business Review wrote a pretty disparaging article about Deloitte, and why would we do that? And it was for this very point. That we had been doing that for many years, over 20 years, and where that was great and people had a safe place to go and they got networked, what we weren’t doing was making sure that that was shared. And so, it was still very much in silos. Our correction article was that we didn’t disband them. What we said was, “The funding is going to be at the highest level of all the groups, when they want to have events, so that people actually are sharing what is common, what is not.”

We have a test, if you will, that we give when we start new teams that we give to everyone to fill out, they don’t have to if they don’t want to, in our internal teams around what they are. Are they a gay person? Are they religious? Whatever. And then they share it with the group so that we all know who everybody is and what’s common. And one of the things that has been very eye-opening is how many things are more common about people than what you think from the outside. It’s kind of like our way of an ice breaker for a new team, because in consulting, the team is who’s available on the beach, so to speak, so sometimes you don’t know who they are. I think that really goes back to the language part of we really think it’s much more about what’s more common than the fact that you have ageing parents and so you’re going to talk about it. That’s fine. But maybe you’re the kid of an ageing parent because you’re 22 and how does that impact you? That was the reason for us kind of breaking down those silos.

Jan: I think they raise a good point that, frankly, we might have a risk of moving towards, and that is too many labels. That I’m labelled as a white woman or you’re labelled as a black man. I mean, that creates silos. It creates expectations of what attributes go with that label. I think, to the degree I go back to my comments, if, in fact, you’re encouraging authenticity and a person feels comfortable talking about their environment, be it elderly parents, be it a struggle with race or religion or whatever it is, if it’s a safe environment for that communication, you avoid the labels, engender authenticity. And it’s a risk to go there. It’s a risk for the person to share whatever that is, but I think it’s all around how do you communicate?

Julia: As we sit here at the beginning of 2019, I’m really interested to hear what you’re optimistic about, as you look out to this year and on in to 2020. Jan, can I bring you in there? First of all, tell us what you’re optimistic about.

Jan: Not to be repetitive, but to focus on what it is: Avoiding labels, being honest, having open communication to engender authenticity, is a journey not a destination. I would say we are misplaced if we say, “Our goal is to get to X,” be that X percent of diversity in whatever category, but to recognise it is small steps every day. And to find ways to encourage that amongst whatever population you’re dealing with, is really what makes me optimistic. Because if it’s a continuous journey, not a destination, you know you’re always making progress.

Julia : Wonderful. And Linda, what are your thoughts on reasons to be cheerful?

Linda: I’m cheerful for two things. One is that I think the world has finally caught up. I thought the Superbowl commercials were awesome on some of the issues. I think that it is not an initiative that’s going to go away. I think the second thing I’m optimistic about is the next generation that’s in the workforce. I think that they are going to change this game. I have two of them on my own and the way they approach life and the way they think about diversity and everybody being on the same level playing field I think is an amazing lesson that I hope everyone that’s older than them that they work for, some day, can take heed.

Julia: And final thoughts from Randall?

Randall: I’m really excited about helping the organisation create an environment where all of our employees feel welcome, invited, and valued within the company and at every level of the organisation. The second piece I’m excited about helping the organisation meet its goals and objectives. Very few inclusion and diversity leaders will actually say that, but I’m really excited about helping the business. How do we, again, meet and exceed our customer expectations? That’s what I’m excited about.

Julia: With that, I’m afraid we have to draw the conversation to a close. Time canters by in these podcasts. Jan, Linda, and Randall, it’s been a fascinating discussion. With that, I invite this wonderful audience at the Women in Payments Symposium here in Washington, D.C. to join me in thanking our panel.

To all our listeners around the world, my name is Julia Street and thank you, as always, for listening to DiverCity Podcast.

Kieron: This episode of DiverCity Podcast was recorded live at the Women in Payments Symposium in Washington, D.C. on February the 5th, 2019. Thanks to Abdul Latif Manzuri and the team at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pentagon City, for facilitating recording. You can catch up with all of our previous episodes on your favourite podcast app or via our website at If you enjoy listening to DiverCity Podcast, spread the word! Tell a friend or write a review on iTunes. It all helps promote the show to a wider audience. Our Twitter handle is @divercitypod. Thanks for listening.