Atlanta Spotlight | Nayelli Cruz Freyre

By Staff Writer Atlanta Trend
  • Nov 27, 2022

Nayelli Cruz, the Head of HR in North America for Ingenico, a technology company for payments acceptance and enablement, says that the pandemic has taught companies how to deal with uncertainty and to make changes quickly. "It's not something that we wanted to go through, but the upside is that we learned to be confident about how we manage uncertainty and our ability to make changes quickly," she says.


Nayelli became the Head of HR for Ingenico in Mexico in 2018. Worldline acquired Ingenico in 2020 and spun it out to private equity fund Apollo this October. It was during all this that Nayelli was asked to move to Atlanta to run HR for all of North America. "As you can see, besides Covid, we had many other changes to deal with," she says, "but we're happy to have a new Ingenico working with Apollo."


Since moving to Atlanta from Mexico City in February of 2022, Nayelli says that she has noticed some distinct differences between company employees in Mexico, the US and Canada. "The countries are all so different," she says. "Mexico is a somewhat hierarchical country, where it's all about following guidelines and processes. The U.S. has a more open environment where leadership and employees collaborate, and everyone is friendly. Canada also has an open environment, and there is a strong sense of ownership in their processes.


HR is well respected at Ingenico, for which Nayelli is grateful. "It isn't the case in all companies," she says, "but it is here." When the company had its first virtual town hall meeting after the purchase by Apollo, the only two people to speak were the CEO and Global Head of HR.  This helped reinforce how the strategic vison of the company will remain the same and the importance of our employees in this strategy”.  On the issue of employee retention, Nayelli says that HR needs to lead this, but it requires all levels of management to participate. "We provide the tools and teach the skills to help managers retain talent, but more important is managers using the tools and training we provide. Like everywhere, recruiting is constant at Ingenico. "Turnover in the US is only 10%, which I think is pretty good considering today’s environment," she says, "but I think for the foreseeable future we, like many companies, will always be recruiting."


"Employees have so many more career choices today because of the new virtual work environment," she says. "Geography is no longer a limitation.   So, we have been refining our recruiting process, using more digital tools, job boards and refining our overall compensation and benefits packages to remain competitive. We're also in the process of selecting a global recruiting platform that will fit better with the realities of today."


In college, Nayelli was asked, what is your purpose in life? "My answer was 'to help others,' which is what I get to do very day in my job. I get to support company leadership to get what they need to manage business and I also get to help employees with their careers, helping them to both grow and be happy with their work. I'm in a unique position."


For all of this, Nayelli would nevertheless like to move to the business side eventually. "I've always been good with numbers and in leading teams to achieve goals," she says. "I also believe that people with HR experience will be playing an ever-increasing role in the business of the future."


Nayelli is married to a "fantastic Spanish guy" who works as a CFO in financial services.