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Salah Goss is a technology innovator and social impact strategist with deep roots in financial inclusion. As Senior Vice President, Head of Social Impact for North America at Mastercard, she combines her experience in government, philanthropy, international development and the private sector to stand at the bleeding edge of technology and social impact. For over twenty years, her leadership has been focused on developing products and deploying alternative business and partnership models whose impact reaches down to the base of the economic pyramid. Specifically, in her early career at Mastercard, Salah used her practitioner’s knowledge in International Development and financial inclusion to build a strategy around a digital product line for NGOs, multi-laterals and governments in developing markets.
Proving her ability to harness technology and product development in service of inclusive innovation, Salah was asked to Head the Lab for Financial Inclusion, where she led the development, incubation, commercial pilot and technology transfer of digital solutions focused on education, agriculture and micro-commerce. Recognized for her ability to turn mission-driven technology innovation into workable business lines, Salah was promoted to scale these and other financial inclusion solutions across Africa and Asia. She was responsible for technology integration through to managing customer P&L and product modifications. In this role, she more than doubled commercial contracts and market expansion and helped to lead the charge to increase Mastercard’s investment in financial inclusion globally. The three technology and process patents Salah has earned are a testament to the mark she has left on technology innovation that moves the needle for social impact at Mastercard.
Recognizing the catalytic power of philanthropy early in her career, Salah managed a $90 million dollar portfolio at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she worked with both the public and private sector to incentivize investment in financial inclusion. While at the Gates Foundation, co-chaired by the Nigerian Ministry of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria, Salah led the first ever comprehensive mapping of social disbursements, including recommendation to digitize these large payment flows. Salah also advised on multiple mobile money regulations and oversaw the first ever geospatial mapping of all financial services outlets in Nigeria and Tanzania. These accomplishments built on the important lessons in effective philanthropy Salah mastered earlier in her career as she successfully led the establishment of the West Africa Regional Office of the Soros Open Society Foundation and subsequently served as Grants Administrator, based in Dakar, Senegal.
Now returning to philanthropy as an accomplished Senior Vice President, Salah has overseen the delivery of over $6 billion in loans to entrepreneurs, has helped to use Mastercard’s balance sheet to place $20 million in deposits in CDFI banks and manages initiatives that have delivered technical assistance to nearly three million small businesses. Most recently, Salah has developed a program to work with fintechs to incentivize product development and the use of emerging technology, including open banking and alternative credit scoring, to speed and deepen financial inclusion. Driven to achieve complex goals through collaborative teamwork in a matrixed organization, Salah now helps to lead Mastercard’s $500 million commitment to help close the racial wealth gap. Salah has successfully managed this work including helping with product development and go to market strategies targeted at affluent and unbanked black consumers. Salah has already exceeding the target to increase capital to underserved small businesses. She also understands the importance of translating social impact into brand elevation and has helped Mastercard realize top share of voice in financial inclusion during marquee campaigns focused on the racial wealth gap.
Salah is an impact-centric visionary who has used her unique talents to achieve outstanding results in product management, inclusive innovation and commercially sustainable social impact. Salah has been recognized for these achievement by being chosen as an Aspen Fellow in the inaugural class of the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Salah was also awarded the Outstanding Corporate Social Intrapreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2019. As a testament to her unique ability to combine inclusion and attainment of commercial success, three digital solutions developed under Salah’s leadership have been named in multiple years of Mastercard’s placement of Fortune magazine’s Changing the World I list and the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion, while headed by Salah, was awarded top 5 fintech labs by Fintech magazine.
A recognized thought leader with deep domain expertise in financial inclusion, Salah has authored numerous articles, including an article on financial inclusion featured in the World Economic Forum, “The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011”. She has appeared in multiple speaking engagements for Forbes Africa, YPO, CNN, MSNBC as well as at Davos 2019. Salah has written blogs and articles appearing in CGAP Technology Program, GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked and Lydian Payments Journal. Most recently, Salah authored an essay in the upcoming book The Future of Building Wealth Brief Essays on the Best Ideas to Build Wealth—for Everyone, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and The Aspen Institute.
Salah currently resides in DC. She is active as a part of the Root Capital board of directors, serving on the Governance Committee. She is on the Advisory Council of Heartland Forward and Washington University Social Policy Institute.
Salah holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and US Foreign Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.