This week, 352 hosted Mike Todasco, Sr. Director of Innovation at Paypal, a digital payments platform. Through a combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships, Paypal creates better ways for their 325 million active account holders to manage and move their money. Kacie Lett Gordon, SVP of Strategy at 352, moderated this authentic conversation. Below are some highlights from the discussion:

A Company Mission to Rally Around

We began this Off the Record with an overview of Mike’s 9-year journey at PayPal. Over the last nine years, Mike’s position has understandably shifted as Paypal separated from Ebay and acquired Venmo.

Mike discussed the importance of understanding what motivates your employees to show up to work everyday. He celebrated Daniel H. Schulman, PayPal’s current CEO, for giving employees a mission to rally around in 2014. “It’s really expensive to be poor in the world and PayPal is uniquely positioned to serve the financially underserved around the world,” said Mike.

He also shared that innovation follows four tenets which tie back to the overall mission:

1. Inclusion

2. Wellness

3. Collaboration

4. Innovation

Creativity as Company Currency

Despite the explosive success of this Fortune 50 company, Mike shared how paramount it is for the entire company to practice innovation. “Look, we’re only a couple technological shifts from being zero and we have to be constantly paranoid about that as a company. Because we won’t survive. We don’t deserve to survive if we’re not serving our customers and that’s why we need to be a company full of innovators,” said Mike.

Off the Record attendees were highly engaged as Mike talked through how PayPal empowers all employees to innovate with his real-time invention of a “pressure sensitive yoga mat.” He explained that innovation doesn’t have to be expensive and he is only one of two full-time innovation employees within an organization that has a 20k+ headcount.

Inspiring Virtual Creativity

When asked how Mike was fostering creative collaboration and continuing to inspire employees to innovate in a virtual setting, he shared that the team is still trying to figure it out. In lieu of being able to walk into one of PayPal’s innovation labs around the world, Mike said he is sharing a weekly video of what is on his mind every Sunday night to help start conversations.

Mike also mentioned that he was working on creating a virtual playground. This weekly designated time has no specific agenda, but is meant to be used by PayPal employees to play and get inspired.

Check out these resources to learn more:

Join us on September 15th at 9AM EST as we talk with Soon Mee Kim, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leader at Porter Novelli.


352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.