Q&A with Jessika Lora - March 27

Glass ceiling is alive and well - how do you suggest breaking it in corporate America?

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Great answer - older companies are the worst, ironically you were luckier at eBay even though it seems ludicrous to say so given your description, but companies that have been around a long (much longer than eBay) are 100x worse. Imagine that....startups are definitely an avenue of opportunity.

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By definition startups are created by people who are not satisfied with the status quo, we are nonconformists. I for one hit a THICK glass ceiling at eBay. I loved my boss, he was a middle-aged white guy and had become one of my best friends. He and I would joke that the only way for me to move up at eBay is if he died and he was too young and healthy to do that anytime soon. Our department was men all the way up and men all the way down, but I reasoned that was because I worked at the intersection of tech and autos - both of which appeal more to men. “Self selection” I rationalized. Agism was the bigger issue at eBay Motors. There are age discrimination laws but they cover older people, not younger. Here was my boss telling me that he couldn’t promote me to fill his role if he got promoted, and he did in large part because of my work, because I was too young and it would make older people furious. I was 31. Meanwhile, my college friends were innovating at a pace that eBay could not keep up with at places like Google working on neura nets and natural language processing or launching their own startups. IoT was emerging. Automotive was about to go into a complete overhaul. The trends were converging in favor of someone with the right expertise and vision to build something out of it. So stay or go? To stay meant becoming a glass ceiling casualty: I evaluated the complications of fighting the agism within my department or exploring other departments within eBay. When I left in March of 2015 less than 2% of Director-level and above were minority females. That number was even worse for Latina females. This stat was egregiously bad and could not be chucked to “self selection” - it stunned me. To leave meant transforming into a tech and glass ceiling pioneer: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I embraced that sentiment fully in terms of becoming a Latina female CEO but more importantly pursuing what I am passionate about: building data driven software solutions that have the ability to positively impact billions of lives at scale.

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Couldn’t agree more. 😊

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