Women's Enterprise Development Center honors MastercardT
he Women's Enterprise Development Center held a gala dinner and award ceremony June 15, 2017, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y., to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The not-for-profit organization has provided educational and financial guidance to entrepreneurial women since 1997. Programs and services have expanded into seven New York counties and parts of Connecticut, helping to launch nearly 8,000 women-owned businesses, representatives stated.
"WEDC's overarching goal is to build a vibrant community of women business owners, comprised of startup and established companies," stated Anne M. Janiak, Chief Executive Officer of the WEDC. "We have accomplished this by providing comprehensive business training programs, offering long-term, one-on-one business counseling; assistance with MWBE certification; and advising clients on preparing and applying for capital for their businesses."
Local, global initiatives
Among the evening's honorees, Mastercard was recognized for its local and global contributions to female entrepreneurship. Tara Maguire, Chief Financial Officer for North America at Mastercard, accepted the 2017 Corporate Enterprising Award on behalf of Mastercard. Maguire noted that the WEDC and Mastercard share the same values of "doing well by doing good," and thanked WEDC members, graduates and alumni for their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Mastercard interest in connecting entrepreneurs to the greater economy is reflected in the company's active role in a series of global initiatives, Maguire noted. Following are some examples of partnerships:
- CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion: Mastercard's CEO and 150 other CEOs from leading organizations pledged to advance workplace diversity and inclusion through education, collaboration and dialog. As part of this effort, the executives created a unified hub and task force.
- United Nations: Mastercard has partnered with the United Nations to economically empower women worldwide, particularly in developing countries, to improve access to education, financial services and electronic payment methods. Mastercard also supports HeForShe, a UN Women's initiative for gender equality that calls for one half of humanity to support the other half of humanity for the benefit of all. Kate Hegarty, Director, Communications at Mastercard won the 2017 HeForShe Influencer award at a ceremony in Singapore.
- Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth: This independent Mastercard subsidiary is designed to advance equitable, sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion worldwide. Maguire said the center "connects entrepreneurs to the greater economy with technical tools and training," and invests in innovative research in government, academia, business and private sectors.
- Platinum Sponsor, WEDC: Maguire praised the WEDC's efforts to train, mentor and provide access to capital to women-owned businesses throughout all stages of growth. Mastercard, a platinum sponsor headquartered in Purchase, N.Y., has partnered with the WEDC to promote sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion by cultivating vibrant communities and unlocking individual potential.
Ajay Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard, said "For society to operate at its best, women must be in a position to operate at their best. And that can only happen with equal partnership, equal opportunities and equal participation."
WEDC individual award recipients included Jean Chatzky, Financial Editor at NBC's Today Show; Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and founder of iRelaunch, a career re-entry program; and Monica Flaherty, founder and President of The Flatz Properties LLC, a property management company.
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