CNET en español has just published a fantastic article, recognizing Courageous Girls’ founder Silvia Vasquez-Lavado for her distinguished career. The Spanish language article covers her early years, schooling, career at eBay and PayPal, and of course her forming Courageous Girls.
You can read the piece here, or see below for the English translation.
When a young Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, a Peruvian native, received a partial IIE/Fulbright scholarship to study abroad, she never imagined that 23 years later her work would include being part in one of the most important processes of corporate restructuring of Silicon Valley: The corporate separation of eBay and PayPal; a collaboration that ultimately was considered inconvenient as eBay, the auction house, had acquired PayPal, the business of electronic payments, by approx US $ 1.5 Billion in 2002.
But none of that was on the horizon in 1992, when Vasquez-Lavado left her native Peru to study at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, where at first she embarked on a degree of molecular biology, but ultimately chose a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and International Business, which combined two of her passions: numbers and business.
“I’ve always been a little Lorna,” says Vásquez-Lavado in a funny mood, referring to a Peruvian slang term for a person who is a “Nerd”.
But “Nerd” is far from the most precise description on how this young woman projected herself to the world. Rather instead she acknowledged being a shy, submissive, introverted girl, which she openly explained was the result of a childhood marked by sexual abuse.
Talking about it does not bother her. By contrast, during a talk of nearly two hours, Vasquez-Lavado mixed stories of her career advancement with memories of an ordeal that lasted from age 6 to 9, which now – in retrospect – not only has made her a strong woman, but one with an important mission: to help girls around the world overcome the shock of physical and sexual abuse.
A very Courageous Girl.
The life of Vasquez-Lavado, 41, since her departure from Peru in 1992 has been marked by two events. Her career accomplishments (working for eBay in Europe, Asia and then back to the US and recently joining PayPal after the separation) and her passion for social causes – supporting multiple nonprofits around the world and most recently launching her own – Courageous Girls.
At press time, Vasquez-Lavado was not only immersed in the aftermath of the newly launched PayPal, but was also in the midst of preparations to take a group of survivors of sexual trafficking from Nepal and the San Francisco Bay Area to the base camp of Mount Everest. “Our goal is for our survivors to realize they have the power to achieve anything and to believe that nothing can hold them back” expressed Vásquez-Lavado who will launch the first two excursions this coming Fall of 2015 and next year on the Spring of 2016. And there is no one better than herself to demonstrate it. In her current role Vasquez-Lavado is responsible for launching complex large-scale business intelligence solutions and tools that facilitate the exchange of information and better operation within the finance organization. This type of engineering, in a company such as PayPal who has upwards of 17,000 employees worldwide, involves great challenges and complexities that are part of their day to day. My main focus now is to help our internal financial community (in Paypal) adopt many of the tools we already have in place but have yet to be fully embraced. I’m keen of leveraging technology for a greater impact, “says the executive who joined the ranks of eBay in 2005, after working for several years for other companies such as the Global liquor conglomerate Campari. Vasquez-Lavado, who has held various positions with the company, currently serves as Principal of Enterprise technology systems at Paypal. However, nothing that she has accomplished to date would have been possible if it wasn’t for the inspiration that other Courageous women such as herself, who not only Climb Mountains, but who also embrace technology as a way of discovering the limitless opportunities this can offer. Since I was very little, my mother taught me the importance of not only helping others but to be compassionate for others plight, especially for others who haven’t had the opportunities that I have been given” as she remembers, “I’ve always had it in me to wanting to be of service to others.”