Federico Gomez Schumacher doesn’t like being the smartest person in the room. In his role as vice president for Latin America at Pay- Pal, he prefers to be surrounded by smart people who bring fresh per- spectives to the table.
“I am not talking just about the traditional thinking of high IQ,” he said. “High EQ is equally or some- times even more important when dealing with tough situations. Peo- ple who can put themselves in someone else’s shoes tend to do bet- ter in life and business.”
Based in PayPal’s San Jose head- quarters, Gomez Schumacher is charged with growing the business in Latin America, working to improve financial inclusion.
“Traditional financial services are not really accessible to every- body,” he said. “We believe financial inclusion … will support the growth of any society and its communities, so we build products that make it easier and less expensive for every-
one to access financial services.” Those products include credit for small businesses that are not well served by traditional financial institutions or remittance products that make it easy to send money through a mobile phone at lower cost. Originally from Mexico City, Gomez Schumacher earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana.
He started his career with American Express, eventually directing credit and small business in Italy. Prior to that, he was director of global strategy in New York.
In 2010, PayPal hired him to cre- ate a strategy to launch operations in Mexico. “That was one of the most challenging and most interesting jobs I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was by myself sitting in a temporary office (thinking), ‘Day one, now what?’” Today, Mexico is one of PayPal’s fastest-growing markets.
Alfonso Villanueva, senior vice president of global corporate strategy and venture at PayPal, thinks that’s because of Gomez-Schumach- er’s keen ability to create consensus.
“He is someone who is able to bring people with different insights and different political agendas together and create a common nar- rative,” Villanueva said. “Our busi- ness has a big component that is global. But local implementation is essential … You need someone who understands those complexities.”
As a member of Aliados, a resource group at PayPal, Gomez-Schumacher works to enhance visibility, recruitment and advancement of Latinx employees. “There’s a value of diversity that goes beyond represen- tation,” he said. “A company is much better if there is diverse thinking.”
And he serves as a mentor and sponsor to young professionals and entrepreneurs. “Helping them see things that maybe they’re not see- ing, … build professional networks …” he said. “That is something I enjoy quite a bit.”
The original version of this story appeared in Silicon Valley Business Journal in March 2022.