Learn more about how PayPal’s employee-focused culture has helped Miki Kuzuha, head of market development in Japan, develop professionally and pay it forward.
After an illustrious career spanning stints at a major consulting firm, an investment bank and across various payment related services, Miki Kuzuha landed at PayPal as Head of Market Development for Japan. The opportunity to work cross-functionally with an international team has enabled her to expand her knowledge, but also leverage her own experiences to help others bridge cultural differences.
Tell us more about yourself – what led to your arrival at PayPal, and what do you do here in the company?
After gaining IT strategy planning experience at a consulting firm and being involved in mergers and acquisitions at an investment bank, I was intrigued by payments and decided to further my career in this industry. Also, I was at a point in my career where I was asking myself: What should be my next move/step?
Despite Japan having the third largest ecommerce market globally, we’ve only recently begun to see more Japanese businesses and consumers selling and buying goods and services to and from overseas, which is what we call cross-border ecommerce.
When PayPal hired Peter Kenevan to head the Japan business, it made me take notice. It appeared that the company was really focusing on the Japanese market and investing to grow – I was ready to be part of this opportunity!
PayPal has been in the market for more than 10 years, and we’ve primarily been focused on cross-border trade. As we look to also strengthen our domestic presence, I am responsible for developing strategies, planning, and executing to expand PayPal’s business in Japan.
How does PayPal champion possibilities for you, and how do you try to champion possibilities for others?
Shortly after joining the company, I was involved in the Paidy acquisition. I worked with colleagues from different teams including finance and product to marketing and engineering; some located in Japan, and many overseas. From this one project, I’ve already gained a wealth of experience, and it really highlighted PayPal’s culture of embracing diversity that enables employees to expand their knowledge beyond their functional expertise and training.
Recently, I also had the opportunity to participate in the “Unity Sales Sponsorship Program". Through this, I learnt so much about the negative impact that stereotyped gender roles can have. It was refreshing and valuable for me to learn that many of these similar issues exist in different places in the world, despite having different cultural backgrounds. I was inspired by women who have overcome these challenges to thrive in their careers at PayPal and was impressed by how the company is proactively taking action to create a better environment for its female employees. Moreover, I appreciated the passion and commitment by our senior leadership teams, who take the time to sponsor and support us as we look to develop our careers in this organization.
As someone who has grown up and worked overseas, one of my strengths is helping others bridge cultural differences. I appreciate that working at a global company like PayPal means embracing diverse opinions, backgrounds, cultures and identities. I aim to foster an environment around me that helps champion diverse discussions and encourages women to find self-confidence for success in the workplace.
Uniting for Progress
The Unity Sales Sponsorship Program is a PayPal-wide initiative developed in partnership with Unity, a community of employees working to create more opportunities for women at PayPal, and HR to support women in advancing and accelerating their careers at the company.
Proteges are selected to complete a specially designed 6-month professional development program led by an external coach, which includes training and development, networking and sponsorship by a senior leader within the organisation. Research shows that effective sponsorship is a crucial element in helping women develop their careers and advance into leadership positions.
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