Christina Smedley - PayPal

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Company:PayPal, San Jose, CA, USA
Entry Submitted By:Grayling
Company Description:PayPal gives people better ways to connect to their money and to each other, helping them safely access and move their money and offering a choice of how they would like to pay or be paid. With 169 million active customer accounts, PayPal has created an open and secure payments ecosystem that people and businesses choose to securely transact with each other online, in stores and on mobile
Nomination Category:Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Female Executive of the Year– Consumer Products –More Than 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Christina Smedley, Global Brand and Communications Officer

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Since July 1, 2014, Christina Smedley has been the guiding light behind a transformative time at PayPal. She led communications for one of the highest profile corporate separations, a public filing on Nasdaq, the biggest acquisition in PayPal’s history and the expansion of PayPal’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts. Each of these intensive initiatives required hours of planning, sound strategy and immaculate execution. Christina balanced considerations for brand building while reaching multiple audiences that include internal stakeholders, investors, merchants, and consumers for a global company. Over the course of the past year, she has been able to build a brand that is centered around people. Thanks to her leadership, PayPal is recognized across the world for shaping the future and making a major difference in people’s lives by putting the full range of financial services directly in their hands. Christina has been a visionary for a company that continues to innovate, both inside and out.


The separation from eBay was first announced in September 2014 and completed on July 18, 2015. Throughout this process, it was important to maintain open communication channels with all stakeholders, while keeping PayPal employees top of mind. Transparency was key, and Christina managed all communications for the company’s 16,000 employees, from customer service centers to headquarters.

Filing on Nasdaq

On July 20, 2015, after months of preparation and behind the scenes hard work, PayPal reemerged as a publicly traded company on Nasdaq under the listing PYPL – a tribute to the company’s past history listed under Nasdaq, as well as PayPal’s neverending commitment to people. The day was a flurry of activity, starting with ringing the bell at Nasdaq headquarters. PayPal made a splash on the corner of 43rd and Broadway outside Nasdaq’s headquarters by giving away coffee and branded donuts, and arranging for passers-by to have their picture plastered up on the stock exchange’s massive circular digital display. The ceremony was immediately followed by a trip by company executives to PayPal’s offices in Omaha and San Jose to celebrate with employees in person. Overall Christina’s team executed over 50 campus events worldwide to encourage employees to take part in the celebration. The success of PayPal’s independence was influenced largely by the company’s strong brand halo. As PayPal moves forward post-separation, there is an opportunity to now tout the successful work the company and brand team already accomplished.


PayPal made two significant acquisitions around the time of the official split with eBay. The first was $280 million for payments technology startup Paydiant, and the second was an $890 million all-cash deal for international money transfer company Xoom—the largest acquisition in PayPal history. With a strong communications strategy around mergers and acquisitions, the industry has been unable to ignore the strides PayPal is taking to take a leading position in payments with coverage in international outlets such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Expansion of Diversity & Inclusion

Expanding a culture of inclusion brings more women into the boardroom. Both PayPal and Christina are focused on fostering that culture through various endeavors.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

Christina Smedley brings more than 20 years’ experience developing, planning, and implementing programs around the world for leading brands and companies in a wide range of industries to her role as PayPal’s Brand and Communications Officer.

She directs the central development team responsible for, paid media campaigns, creative executions, strategy, CRM, email, research and insights. Additionally she manages policy, earned and owned media execution and all internal communications to the company's 16,000 employees.

She came to PayPal in 2012 from the public relations giant Edelman, where she was global chair of consumer marketing. From 1999 to 2003, Christina served as director of worldwide communications at Christina is actively involved in fundraising for educational projects in Jamaica, her birthplace.