Dana Lorberg is Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology at Mastercard. She joined the company in 1987 and was part of the team that programmed and designed some of the early systems at Mastercard.
I think, to be successful in life, it’s really important, Number 1: For you to let your voice be heard. I like to say this particularly to young people. Don’t be the person in the back of the room that is taking the notes that’s not sharing what’s on your mind, that’s not contributing to the conversation. Contribute to the conversation. I know a lot of people think What if I say something that’s wrong? What if I say something that sounds stupid? No such thing. Contribute to the conversation. Help move the ball forward. Be involved, be active. Put your opinions on the table. If you do that, I promise you, you will be thought of as a person who is a leader, who is helping to contribute to the forward movement of the company, and will be noticed. That’s for sure something that’s really really important.
I think another thing that’s really important to be successful in life: You need to be curious. You need to be a lifelong learner. When I started as a software engineer, helping to build Mastercard’s network, and the offerings that we would put inside the network such as fraud protection or safety and security things, I would always ask: Why? Why are we building this? Who are we building this for? Why do they care that we’re doing this? Why is ours better than somebody else’s? Why are they buying it from us instead of another company? I’m sure I was very annoying to the people who are asking us to do the engineering work and get this done. But I knew, at the end of the day, the engineers make all the decisions. I know that for sure the product people, the ideators, they don’t put enough specificity in it to really allow engineers to do their job. And I knew, at an early age, I knew that if I could really understand the business side of things, if I understood why we were doing this, I would make better decisions and I would be a better programmer and I would be a better engineer. So, while annoying, I knew it was good for me to really understand that. I also saw that from my mother, who was so inquisitive and a lifelong learner, that was an element of something that was going to make you successful. So I really feel like that’s super important in life to be a lifelong learner and be curious.
I also feel like, we need to support one another. I think it’s about one team. I think it’s about having each other’s back. Holding hands together. Doing things with our multi disciplines and our individual uniqueness and authenticity as leaders is really an important element bringing together one voice, one team, blameless culture, holding hands together. Because if you can do that, you can go to the moon and back and you will always be successful.