Donna A. Johnson
Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
As one who welcomes the challenges of increasing responsibilities, Donna Alligood Johnson was ready when, in 2008, MasterCard Worldwide’s then-chief diversity officer turned to her to set up the company’s first Business Resource Group for employees of African descent, termed LEAD (Lifting Employees of African Descent). “We were starting from scratch. There was no model for the group to follow. I was asked to develop this from what I could and ensure that this was focused on business, and that our business resource groups really aligned with our business objectives and did not focus on just pure networking or affinity,” says Johnson. As a result of her effort, MasterCard now boasts eight business resource groups in 15 offices, with 32 chapters worldwide. Johnson, who has since assumed the role of chief diversity officer, considers this one of the great achievements of her career.
Like many accomplished African-American women in the corporate arena, Johnson encountered her share of biases and other challenges. She describes her parents as her greatest source of inspiration. “I don’t allow prejudices to influence my contribution to my company. I set those aside and assume positive intent, and that allows me to bring my best work to the office every day,” she says. “Believe in diversity because without diversity there would be no harmony,” she adds with emphasis.
Johnson was the first recipient of the MasterCard Harlem Y.M.C.A. Black Achiever Award, which recognizes African-American professionals for their outstanding contributions as a member of the corporate community. Johnson graduate from Tufts University in Massachusetts, with a bachelor’s degree in social psychology and from Manhattanville College in New York with a master’s in strategic management and leadership. When she is not at work or devoting time to her favorite service organizations, the golf-enthusiast enjoys spending time on the green and being with her family.