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Ann Cairns: Changing Careers & Being The Only Woman In The Room

Ann Cairns is a Vice Chair at Mastercard, a role she took after running all of Mastercard’s business in 200 markets, outside the US. Before joining Mastercard, Ann had spent 20 years as a banker at Citi and ABN Amro, but she actually started her career as an engineer at British Gas and was the first woman in Britain qualified to work on an offshore oil rig!

Ann is the global chair of the 30% club, an organization dedicated to getting at least 30% women at all levels of the corporate world.

We had a wide-ranging discussion about how to navigate many of the challenges that women face in today’s workplace, from endless video conferencing to spending too much time in one role. We talked about building your network, sourcing helpful feedback, using humor to diffuse tense situations, and how to get on Boards.

My favorite quote was “Don’t be a lady in waiting”! You’ll have to listen on for context… Actually I had another favorite quote “take those lunches”…

Ann’s book recommendation was “Bread Therapy” by Pauline Beaumont.

You can find Ann Cairns on LinkedIn and Twitter @annmcairns.

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