Hear from Verna Cruz, a customer service representative from the Philippines, how PayPal is creating a culture of belonging for employees with invisible disabilities.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Verna Cruz, who had already been unemployed for three years, found herself having to take on odd jobs in order to make ends meet. The support of a strong alumni network at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and PayPal provided her with a new opportunity to provide for her family. Today, as a customer service representative at our Manila office, Verna is part of a pilot program that’s helping us strengthen our diversity, while creating a more inclusive culture for those with visible and invisible disabilities.
Tell us more about yourself – what led to your arrival at PayPal, and what do you do here in the company?
My name is Verna Cruz. I’m a single mother of two daughters and I’m deaf. I work as a Customer Service Representative at PayPal. In my role, I address customer queries and help troubleshoot issues related to our Venmo app.
Before I joined PayPal, I was unemployed for three years after being made redundant at my previous company. During that period, I took on freelance jobs, which included helping my friends with food delivery, to take care of my daughters and sick father. When the pandemic hit, the economy worsened, and the conditions became even more challenging. I applied for different jobs, but it seemed like many of the companies prioritized hiring hearing people.
I learnt about the job opportunity with PayPal through our alumni network at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) in Manila. Through my research, I realized that PayPal is a wonderful company to work for.
How does PayPal champion possibilities for you, and how do you try to champion possibilities for others?
PayPal is an open organisation and provides opportunities for all. It doesn’t matter what your background is or if you have any physical disabilities. It’s a very diverse organisation and people treat each other with respect. The company empowers people to be able to work and support their families.
At the same time, this experience has also inspired me to do the same for others. What I mean with that is that I see people beyond their superficial abilities and regardless of their background.
Moving forward, I want to encourage everyone to get to know your fellow colleagues at a personal level. I believe this helps create a safe environment where people feel comfortable being their full selves and enables everyone to share their opinions openly and honestly.
Thriving at PayPal
Across PayPal’s global workforce, we focus on reinforcing our values to help every one of our employees feel a sense of pride and belonging. From engaging diverse talent through implementing development and retention initiatives, we’re committed to nurturing a culture where everyone belongs, encourages personal growth, treats everyone fairly, and promotes workforce wellness.
Through our Employee Resource Groups, we share experiences, create connections and make an impact – both at PayPal and around the world. Thrive is our disability community at PayPal that is fostering a culture of belonging for employees with visible or invisible disabilities, employees who support loved ones with disabilities, and equity for disability communities as a whole.
In September 2020, Thrive in the Philippines embarked on a pilot program to adapt the local workplace to support deaf customer service employees. In addition to prioritising simulation/scenario-based training to better equip deaf employees with a wider breadth of interpersonal and communication skills, the program designed in collaboration with the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) in Manila also includes technical training.