The Maggie Lena Walker Award recognizes and promotes the achievements of women who have charted new paths in their industries, demonstrated a commitment to economically empowering those in their communities and are ultimately creating a more inclusive, dynamic, and equal world.



Learn about our 2021 and 2022 Award Recipients.

At a time when Black people in the United States were denied opportunities for wealth creation, Maggie Lena Walker made it her life’s mission to advocate for economic independence in her community. Her story is one of perseverance, dedication and bravery. In this spirit, we are honoring Walker and her contributions through an award program that recognizes inspiring women who are leading and advancing economic empowerment for underserved communities today.

- Dan Schulman, Former President and CEO, PayPal

PayPal established the annual award program in 2020 as an extension of its mission to foster an inclusive economy and builds on the company’s $535 million commitment to racial equity and closing the racial wealth gap.

Spotlighting Exemplary Leaders

Maggie Lena Walker Achievement Award:

This award celebrates individuals who, through their career and accomplishments, have economically empowered those in their community. The recipient will be awarded $50,000.

Read the full criteria here.

Maggie Lena Walker Emerging Leader Award:

This award recognizes “rising star” leaders who are blazing new paths in their industry and creating opportunities for advancement in their communities. Three recipients will be awarded $20,000 each.

Read the full criteria here.

Award Criteria

Achievement Award
Individual in mid- to late-stages of their career (suggested 25+ years of work experience).
Person has dedicated their career and work to economic empowerment.
Nominee could be a top leader or innovator in their field.
Nominees are not limited to a certain role or industry – i.e., could be a business leader, teacher, nonprofit leader, etc.
Individual’s career or impact should showcase work that has broken down barriers for underserved communities and exemplify PayPal’s vision of an inclusive economy.

Award Criteria

Emerging Leader Award
Individuals in the early stage of their career (suggested 1-15 years of work experience).
Person has dedicated their career and work to economic empowerment.
Nominees could be focused on building or leading a next-generation organization or initiative helping create economic opportunity.
Nominees are not limited to a certain role or industry – i.e., could be a business leader, teacher, nonprofit leader, etc.
Individual’s career or impact should showcase work that has broken down barriers for underserved communities and exemplify PayPal’s vision of an inclusive economy.

Awardees from each category receive access to resources and mentorship from the PayPal community, as well as a monetary reward to put towards their work and vision. While the award will initially have a U.S. focus, in the coming years, we plan to expand the award to our global community.

PayPal Maggie Lenna Walker Award

Who was Maggie Lena Walker?

Maggie Lena Walker was the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as its president in the United States. She was also an educator, civil rights activist and entrepreneur deeply committed to uplifting her community.

Walker’s many contributions to society were remarkable and are a testament to the essential role underrepresented women play in community building and advancing progress.


Learn More About Maggie

The family is ecstatic that PayPal is choosing to honor the contributions of women in underrepresented communities through Grandma Walker’s legacy. It’s critical that we highlight the stories of women that often go hidden in history and use them to inspire the next generation of women leaders.

- Liza Mickens, great-great-granddaughter of Maggie Lena Walker and co-founder of Vote Equality

Selection Committee

Awardees will be nominated and selected by a panel that includes members of the PayPal community, and members of civil rights organizations, nonprofits and academic institutions. The Selection Committee for the 2023 Maggie Lena Walker Award included:

Rodney Adkins
Board of Directors, PayPal

Peggy Alford
Executive Vice President, Global Sales, PayPal

Archie Deskus
Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer

Andrea Donkor
Senior Vice President, Regulatory Relations

Ellen McGirt
Senior Editor, Fortune Magazine

Liza Mickens
Co-founder, Vote Equality; Great-great-granddaughter of Maggie Lena Walker

Ariyana (Ari) Randolph Miles
Director of Global Employee Resource Group Program, PayPal

Franz Paasche
Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, PayPal

Dan Schulman
Former President and CEO, PayPal

Living our Mission and Values

The Maggie Lena Walker Award program is one of the many ways PayPal is building equitable futures.

Learn more here
PayPal team image

Questions? Check out this FAQ.

View Frequently Asked Questions

If you require further information, please contact mlwaward@paypal.com.