Chris Curtain

Diversity and equality are at the core of who we are at Visa. It’s a North Star for our company. We want to be a brand that does what we authentically believe in. A company that stands for what it says.

The Olympics are a showcase for humanity, showing us at our best. Our support of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was the biggest commitment we’ve made to the Games to date and we were ready to go. To say the COVID-19 crisis forced us to pivot is an understatement.

We put all of those plans on the shelf and focused on what was really important, which was addressing this global pandemic. We were early advocates to the International Olympic Committee that the Games should be postponed for a year because that would best preserve all the reasons we were so excited about the Games being in Japan in the first place.

Our CEO said we would make no reductions in our workforce because of the virus. And just like he told us he was standing behind us, we made a unilateral commitment to the 97 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls of our Team Visa program. We drafted a communication that said to them,  “Look, it’s up to you if you want to compete in 2021, but as far as we at Visa are concerned, we stand behind you in that relationship and extending our partnership.” We were the first Olympic sponsor to do that.

It’s similar to our commitment to SeeHer; part of our vision statement to stand for everyone, everywhere. We believe so strongly in economic inclusion all over the world, and that’s amplified by our partnership with the ANA. SeeHer pushes learnings and tools to brands so they can participate in making the world what it should be—gender blind.

My dad passed away when I had recently graduated from college, and my mom took responsibility for the family on her shoulders. Watching her exhibit that leadership—because it was intuitive to her—left an impression on me. I want my three daughters to inherit a world where you’re judged by your character and the contribution you make in life.

There’s a human instinct among all of us to be treated fairly. When we see the world artificially tilt in the opposite direction, we appreciate the people who put out a hand to make the world balanced again.