Meet the 2022 Luminary Who Is Leading With Her Heart

Our employees represent a mosaic of thoughts, backgrounds and personalities from around the world. This series shares the voices of employees telling their own eBay stories.

Each year, eBay celebrates our amazing people and their dedication to living our purpose and beliefs while inspiring others to do the same. This year we recognized 37 luminaries from around the world and from each region, representing all levels of our organization.

Among this year’s winners is eBay Germany’s Claudia Putzer, who exemplifies what it means to be an inclusive leader who makes an impact. As a business partner in the People team supporting the Global Markets organization in Europe, she recently celebrated her 20th anniversary with eBay. In the words of colleague Michelle O’Doherty, Claudia “offers a different perspective, never hesitates to speak up and makes sure the customer is at the core so we can be there for everyone.”

We recently caught up with Claudia to talk about her Luminary Award, how she fosters a culture of inclusivity, and why she leads with questions, not answers.

What drew you to work at eBay 20 years ago and what drew you to the People team?

I first joined eBay as an online service correspondent with the Customer Experience team in Germany. I quickly fell in love with the people on eBay, especially their open-mindedness, and have found opportunities to grow at every stage of my career.

After 15 years in various roles in the customer experience team – from process and tool trainer to people leader supporting teams in different countries – I was interested in moving to the people team. Having no university background but having more than a degree in HR, the People team was looking for someone with leadership understanding and change management support. And I fit the bill.

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Working on the People team has been great as I’ve gotten to see people grow and improve knowing I’ve been a small part of their eBay journey. Developing teams and individuals as People Leaders in our global Customer Experience Team has been incredibly fulfilling, and doing so in the People Team has been another exciting learning opportunity over the past five years.

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In your nominations, a colleague said you embodied what it means to be “there for everyone”. What does that mean for you?

My goal is really to “be there for everyone”. It all comes from my background in customer experience: I wanted to change the way we serve our customers. As a People Business Partner, my customers are now eBay employees and no longer buyers and sellers. Even so, I sometimes have to be strict about enforcing certain policies, so I strive to do so in a friendly manner so that our employees feel heard. I am happy to know that my efforts have been seen by others.

How do you use inclusivity to empower people in your day-to-day work in the People team?

If I am asked a question or receive a request, I will usually come back with another question before responding. I’m always curious to hear other people’s points of view before sharing my own – after all, I don’t know everything. I believe that often people just need a sounding board or some other question to figure out how to move forward. This is how I try to empower other eBayers. Rather than assuming I know what other people want and jumping in on how I would handle the situation, I let them lead the conversation and offer a different perspective when needed to help them express themselves.

“Let’s stay curious and strive for growth – together we can achieve great things.” – Claudia Putzer

As you work in eBay’s European markets, what is the biggest challenge in supporting such a diverse and international workforce?

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Navigating the subtle differences between the global teams can be an insightful task, because on the one hand we share common experiences as eBayers, but at the same time there are key differences that I need to negotiate. For example, different cultures have different ways to share feedback and different concerns to consider when implementing people strategies.

It’s challenging work, but it’s also exciting. One of my strengths is a fast learner and I relish the opportunity to find out how to accommodate a variety of different backgrounds and local needs. I have found that it is very important to start not with an assumption but with a question and see what works, where we can adapt and where we can move on.

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What skills have you learned from your work at eBay and transferred to your everyday life?

On eBay, I learned the importance of knowing when to focus on the small details and when to take a bigger view. It’s a skill that often comes in handy in my photography, as I’m able to balance the big picture against specific features that make a landscape worth photographing and finding focal point.

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Likewise, both inside and outside of work, there is value in being flexible and knowing how to focus my efforts so I can go where I’m needed. I have a motorcycle and a few years ago I drove with my parents from Berlin to Scotland via Amsterdam. I also love gardening and I have found that these hobbies require a willingness to adapt. As helpful as it is to have plans, it can also be good to try new things or explore new strategies to find a way forward.

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As Luminary of the Year 2022, you were recognized for your ability to disrupt, try new things, and ignite great ideas. Looking ahead, how do you hope to innovate and continue to inspire on eBay?

I truly believe that eBay is a great place to work where you are invited to share your perspectives and speak out. So I would like to encourage everyone, especially new hires, to share their thoughts on how our teams can continue to grow. Sometimes it can be easy to reject ideas because we’ve tried them before, but I want to challenge people not to be afraid to try things again with new voices and perspectives. Let’s stay curious and strive for growth – together we can achieve great things.

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