5 Questions with Kathleen Tobin, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships at IDEMIA
One of our City Innovators at the City Possible Summit 2020
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing local / state government / cities today?
One of the biggest challenges I see facing government today is ensuring there are enough resources for the growing urban population including access to food, water, and technology. How these resources get dispersed is an increasingly difficult challenge that local and state governments are facing. We want to make sure that everyone is receiving what they need, when they need it. That includes government funding as well. If there is a natural disaster or another pandemic, how will the population get the money they need to be able to purchase food, medication and other necessary items to keep living safely?
What’s your hope for the future of cities?
One of the main concerns of every city is to ensure its citizens are taken care of; my hope is that in the future we can create a more efficient process to that end. We want to help cities create a seamless, cost-effective and fair way to provide the necessary resources needed, including access to financial resources.
What roadblock to inclusive urbanization do you experience the most and would remove if you could?
According to the World Bank, globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. And, according the FDIC, 25% of the US population is unbanked. That is unacceptable in my view. How can we get everyone who is unbanked access to the funds they need? How can we reach everyone to give them the subsidies that they deserve? The answer, in my opinion, is to provide entry-level access to people. We need to work with governments and financial institutions to offer ways for people worldwide to have easy and secure access to funding and help people learn how they can manage their own finances for now and in the future.
Have your role objectives / priorities changed in recent months in response to covid-19? If so, how?
COVID 19 opened my eyes to how difficult it was for the government to be able to disburse funding such as the COVID 19 subsidies for companies struggling due to closures, not being able to pay their employees and going out of business. This made me realize the urgency of having a solution in the market that could easily identify a person with their Driver’s license or State ID and add a payment chip to receive government funds. Idemia is unique in that we manufacture both Drivers License and payment cards, and with our partnership at Mastercard, we have come up with a way to have the government put subsidies right on a person’s driver’s licence. We are developing a combined prepaid contactless card which is a Driver’s license/State ID with payment capabilities.
What motto do you live by and why? Giving everyone a seat at the table.
I believe that we need to build an inclusive world for all consumers to be able to consume in a way that meets their specific needs. Financial inclusion should not just be for some people. Being able to pay for essential goods and services should not be privilege. Everyone has something to offer and should be given the chance to share their ideas. We need to listen to the needs of every citizen to ensure we are providing solutions that will help support them.
About Kathleen Tobin
Kathleen has spent 20 of her 25-year career in senior partnership management and business development roles for Citi, Equifax, MasterCard, Visa Inc. & Bank of America leading teams in developing and executing strategic innovation initiatives. Kathleen has spent the last 3 years working for IDEMIA which is an organization in the Identity space managing partnerships and sales for top-tiered Financial Institutions & Payment/Technology organizations.