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Dealing with disruptions, the PayPal way

Nurdianah Md Nur | Sept. 16, 2016
The only way forward is to innovate, and this applies to even disruptors.

Let's move on to know more about you. How did you get into the tech industry? Were you always interested in technology?
I'm a geek at heart and I love working with my teams to push the boundaries of innovation. I get inspired solving complex problems with creativity and technology.

During my first year of engineering school, my father said to me: "I can either buy you a motorcycle or a computer." Every single one of my friends was buying a motorcycle, and while my heart wanted one, my head said "computer." And so I got a computer and it was so fascinating to me. Soon, I was programming in different languages and by my second year of engineering, I had started to make and sell computers. So my passion for technology started when I was fairly young.

What are some of the emerging technologies that have caught your attention?
The potential of marrying automation and the Internet of Things, and what that could mean to commerce and payments, excites me. For example, the day your refrigerator recognises you're low on milk and automatically orders more for you.

Virtual reality is also really interesting to me. The idea that PayPal's command centre could go virtual, and nothing more than a fast nod of your head lets you drill down to a greater level of detail, is fascinating.

How would you describe your leadership style? Why do you take such an approach? 
I'm a huge advocate for mentoring as a tool for career development. This includes reverse mentoring, in which senior leadership learns from junior employees. To me, it's really important to stay connected with talent at every level. Every month, I meet with someone within my organisation. It gives me an invaluable opportunity to tap into what's happening - whether it's barriers that need moving, new trends and technologies emerging in the industry, or creative ideas that need to be heard and considered.

Millennials are usually perceived as the most demanding generation to manage, as their work demands and mindset differ from the previous generations. How do you manage a multi-generational workforce at PayPal?
As I mentioned, I've made it a best practice to dedicate time to meet with employees from within all areas of my organisation. More often than not, I'm meeting with a junior technologist, and their perspectives and insights are always interesting.

At PayPal, we've always strived to be accommodating to a wide variety of different working models, including flexible hours and remote work, which benefit not just millennials but older workers, those with families, and anyone that wants to balance their passion for work with their passion for living.

We've also moved to a wider adoption of "millennial-friendly" technologies like Slack, and host regular AMAs (Ask Me Anything) for real-time knowledge sharing. Personally I've found these to be great ways to engage with not only the millennials in the workplace, but talent at every level.


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