During 19 years at MasterCard, Joan Kelly has helped lead the development of systems that now process more than 21 billion payment transactions and settle $2.5 trillion between financial institutions.

The tap-and-go PayPass has opened the door to new markets where payment speed and convenience are at a premium such as fast food and rapid transit. One of its newest tools, inControl, helps budget-conscious customers better manage spending.

The technology advances have helped MasterCard gain significant global market share, as measured by purchase volume, in the last year, according to industry reports.

With a generation steeped in technology now of age to begin buying homes and start families, Kelly says she expects payment and credit systems to continue to transform beyond plastic cards.

A strong supporter of Junior Achievement in the St. Louis area, Kelly believes that math and science prowess and innovative spark needs to be encouraged in American schools. Last year, she points out, marked the first time that more U.S. patents were issued to non-U.S. citizens than to U.S. citizens.

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