Senior Director of eBay and TWC Alumnus Hosts Interns for Lunch Series

Senior Director of eBay and TWC Alumnus Hosts Interns for Lunch Series

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Maha Neouchy
March 29, 2013

Last week, TWC spring interns met with alumnus, Brian Bieron ('87), who hosted the students for a tour and lunch at the eBay, Inc. office in Washington, D.C. During the lunch series, he expanded on his role developing both politics and government relations as the Senior Director of Global Public Policy and leading eBay's Global Government Relations Team, which he has led for nearly a decade. Before answering a series of questions from spring interns, Bieron told the students about his background and career path.


The Road Leading to eBay


After receiving his Masters from George Washington University and spending 12 years on Capitol Hill, Bieron became a lobbyist, working with 10-12 clients at once. Among them included NASDAQ, eBay and Microsoft. He noted that eBay was by far one of his favorite clients because of their influence as the "biggest enabler of commerce on the internet." Now in his communications intensive role for eBay, he has supported major public policy campaigns for both eBay and PayPal in European Union countries, Australia and Canada.


Question and Answer Session


After expanding on his background, he took a series of questions from the group of students. The first came from Yongmin Kim, Postgraduate Professional Development Program (PPDP) intern and student at Korea University-Global Leadership Development Center in Seoul, South Korea. He asked about what Bieron does on a day-to-day basis in terms of government relations at eBay. Bieron shared that government relations "functions have to do with protecting a company's interests, especially when it comes to policy." Students learned that it is possible to change laws and regulations in order to improve a business, which is the focus of many of the government relations' efforts at eBay. They are also geared towards removing policies that prevent businesses from participating in global commerce.


Tiffany Anne Ouimet, International Affairs intern and student at the Universite de Montreal in Canada, was intrigued by eBay's relationship with foreign governments. She asked Bieron how the company engages with governments abroad to get the word out. Bieron shared that there are eBay employees in over 20 countries talking to foreign governments. What he'd like to start doing in the near future is to speak with "university students who can help him identify the reasons why small businesses aren't engaging in global trade markets."


João Pedro Roth, Prudential Foundation Global Citizens intern and student at Universidade de Caxias do Sul in Brazil, asked if Bieron faces serious issues in any specific countries. The Senior Director of Global Public Policy shared challenges that have occurred everywhere from Southeast Asia to South America. Spring interns found out that in Brazil, it is actually illegal to sell used products that come from outside of the country, which includes refurbished electronics. Although, Brazilians are able to purchase refurbished electronics that come from within Brazil on eBay, which is both great for the environment and very green.


Cyber security is becoming more critical each and every day. Harini Swaminathan, Prudential Foundation Global Citizens intern and student at Amity University in India, asked about the strategies of eBay in regards to negotiating with banks on cyber security issues. Bieron commented that this is a very important issue: "eBay has to make sure that people feel safe, sites don't crash and that data isn't stolen. Businesses like eBay are literally on the cutting edge of technology," making communication between banks extremely important.


The last question came from Michael Dantas Lima, another Prudential Foundation Global Citizens intern and student at Universidade de Brasília. He was concerned with compliance issues and asked Bieron what eBay's stance was on this area. Bieron responded that when companies and businesses are making money, they are usually doing it either for the public good or for the market. "We're all working with governments on smart ways to stop bad behavior and that is why intermediaries like eBay are beneficial. You start realizing who sells counterfeits and which products don't work." Bieron also noted that there are a lot of things "people can learn through data, which we realized can help reduce the burden pretty early on."


TWC celebrates their 50,000 alumni worldwide and would like to thank Brian Bieron for taking time out of his busy schedule to host TWC spring interns at eBay!


[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

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