Connecting, inspiring and empowering women to lead the way

  • 28 Mar 2018 17:03 | Deleted user

     Lenovo is one of the biggest market leaders in the IT sector and WIL had a pleasure to talk to Kirsten Perzi, Mid-Market Leader at Lenovo and also our alumna of our Women Talent Pool programme. If you are curious to learn what it takes to become a Market Leader and what sets Lenovo apart from its competitors, read our interview with Kirsten!

    Could you tell me a little about your background and how you came to be the Mid-Market Leader (DACH) at Lenovo? 

    Since I finished my studies, I began working in the IT industry. I joined Lenovo ten years ago and I have had several roles within the company. Roughly three years ago, Lenovo set up a project team to create a business plan and to implement a strategy for mid-market customers. Over roughly two months, the business plans were created and developed, and I was chosen to implement them.

    This was a great moment for me as it was a unique chance to create a complete new business like a start-up within Lenovo. This meant a lot of interesting challenges such as participating in the development of the tools which support the sales, hiring 25 people in a very short time frame and being confronted every day by new questions to be solved and answered.

    I have been doing this for two and a half years now and it has been very successful execution of the plan as we continue to execute the initial strategy and develop it further. 

    What skills are necessary to become a successful Market Leader? [e.g. technical skills, time management, leadership]

    My responsibilities are to win as many new customers for Lenovo as possible. To achieve this, it is important to always have the big picture in mind, which means that I must balance the day to day business on one hand and the planning for the future on the other hand.

    When taking the time to plan and develop, I have to take into account internal and external factors and ensure that we are working efficiently for our growth within the market circumstances, so that we are able to develop and become the choice of the customer.

    To sum it up, to become a successful Market Leader, you need analytical skills, creativity, process knowledge, the will to question yourself on what you are doing and how you do it almost every day.

    “Most importantly, your team must be motivated, given guidelines, rules and expectations and you must provide a vision of what you want to achieve”.

    You have participated in the 3rd edition of WIL’s Women Talent Pool Programme, which has recently ended. What are your takeaways and which advice would you give to the participants of the 4th edition? [there will be 8 Lenovo participants to the 4th edition]

    Being part of the programme was really enjoyable and provided me the opportunity to meet many women from not only the IT industry but from all backgrounds. Aside from the personal meetings, I really enjoyed the Webinars as they were a great opportunity for me to learn.

    What I liked beyond the personal meetings were the Webinars which were a great opportunity to learn new things  – sometimes things you thought you would  not need to learn  (“Stories that get you hired”).

    Overall, the events created a new view on myself and my career. Before I participated, I was convinced that being a woman did not hold me back in my career but from the programme more and more I have noticed some small examples which were interesting, this insight was very important for me.
    Bringing this back to one key moment, during a speech in Brussels, it was said ‘get out of your comfort zone and push your potential’.

    “Something I have as a takeaway is that I can step out of my comfort zone and don’t have to wait for someone to ask me to”.

    Coming back to your position as Mid-Market Leader, is technology creating more opportunities for the modern Marketers?

    Definitely yes, even within my team this is clear. My team establishes a relation to the customer and as soon as there is a quote needed we work together with business partners, this interaction today is 100% digital in terms of creating quotes and contracts.

    This for us has a huge impact as we are now able to talk more customers in more or less the same time and as a result we do sell more. As well, the marketing team implemented the Lead Nurturing Process, where potentially interested customers are digitally developed over time. This is something you had to do manually or on your own previously. However, today you are supported by technology which is really helping us to be more effective.

    In this ever-challenging PC industry, what sets Lenovo apart from its competitors and which strategies does Lenovo adopt to gain competitive advantage?

    I have been working in companies where every three to six months you have another strategy. This is not the case at Lenovo, as the strategy here is long term orientated and of course it is adapted over time. In practice, this means that business today is our core and we are already working on the business opportunities of tomorrow through a strategic long-term vision. In addition of PC and smart devices which is our core business,  we expand now our activities in data center  and mobile business following the acquisition a few years ago of IBM X86 servers and Motorola as well as more futuristic areas like augmented reality, virtual reality or artificial intelligence.

    Within our culture called” the Lenovo Way” which defines common values, business practices and way of working, we value diversity and respect the differences of nationalities, profile, background, and gender! Thanks to our origin, we consider diversity as the DNA of the company with a specific focus on customer and innovation combined with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. For instance there are of many different nationalities in the senior management as  a further demonstration of uniqueness, unusual for a company like Lenovo, and shows the strong belief that diversity and in particular gender diversity is a big differentiator – like the company’s slogan, ‘different is better’.


  • 28 Feb 2018 13:57 | Deleted user

    Technology is one of the most developed areas nowadays. However, still a small percentage of women consider technology and engineering for future employment. In this interview, our WTP Alumni Dr. Elena Mammi, Electrical Engineer and Researcher at Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, tells us more about her background and makes a case why the tech industry needs more woman and what should be done to achieve it.

    You received a Masters degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Roma Tre, where you later continued your PhD studies. Where did your interest in technology come from, and what led you down that academic path?

    My interest in technology comes from my interest in scientific subjects. The curiosity for new technologies is a direct consequence.

    I inherited the passion for scientific subjects from my father, who was an exceptional professor in Mathematics. He was able to make me appreciate Mathematics through play.

    Then I did the research thesis in Finland and I realised that I wanted to continue on that path. The PHD program required me to develop new ideas using methods of study acquired during the degree Therefore I understood that I was interested in imagining new scenarios, experimenting and continuing to study.

    What do you enjoy most about your current job as a Researcher?

    The possibility to do research is a privilege, but at the same time it is a very complex job. A researcher has the opportunity to work on stuff that not exist yet. Every researcher can choose between basic research and applied research, but in both of case the researcher has to bring out new ideas, new algorithms and new solutions. This is the part of my job that I love more.

    “The part of my job that I love more is to bring out new ideas, new algorithms and new solutions.”

    You have been working in the field for over 7 years. How has Internet access changed and evolved in that time?

    Internet continuously evolves. The network that provides Internet develops and changes the way in which the users enjoy access to the Internet. We moved from simple chat to social networks, from the use of browsers to the use of applications, and from the use of Internet at home to the use of Internet everywhere.

    In these years, the use of Internet has become more simple and engaging. It has become integral part of our lives. Through the use of mobile devices, we are always connected. Ten years ago in Italy, there was a boom of the subscriptions on Facebook. This type of social network changed the communication and the participation at community.

    Everyone wants to be always connected and wants to have an always adequate Quality of Experience; for this reason those who works on network have more and more work to do. Then with the 5G network, the network of networks, access to the Internet will change again, the quality of services will improve, new services will arise and our lives will change another time.

    Why does Tech Industry need more women and how could the industry be more inclusive for them?

    Women use technology as much as men, so they are excellent users. Technology industry is driven by the market, so it is motivated to create technology instruments for female users.

    However the aspect in which we should not fall behind is the design and creation of technology by women who bring a different point of view and this would lead to new ideas and therefore potentially to expanding the market. Then in my opinion, the technology industry should be hunting for women who work in the design and in management roles.

    “We need to start bringing girls closer to the science in the family and at school, and the change at Tech Industry level will come as consequence.”

    However, there are still few women with a science degree and even fewer women who have the chance to make a career in a world of men. Until there is a reverse trend, the technology industry will continue to have a male imprinting and continue to attract few women.

    We need to start bringing girls closer to the science in the family and at school, and the change at Tech Industry level will come as a consequence. Certainly, politics should support mothers to reintegrate into work, which is a complicate step in the technology industry.

    What are the factors influencing girls career choices in STEM ( science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and what do you think could be done differently? Who was your role model when you were a child and what were your favourite toys you played with?

    I believe that the hinders in itself comes from families. It is essential for children to approach the numbers through games. If the mathematics subject is not approached in the right way, it will become very difficult. When I was a child, I played with the “Lego”, and with the mathematical riddles.

    Recently, I read about a study that show that playing with constructions helps children in the learning of scientific subjects when they grow up. As a child, I wanted to became a scientific and even now I like to play at the “little chemist” with my nephews.

    The family should propose to girls not only dolls, pots and pans, but also scientific based games; then the girls will choose naturally what is better for them.

    Of course I also had fantastic teachers in physics and mathematics, who have continued the work started by my family. School is very important, we have to believe and invest in the education system.

    As an active Alumni of our Women Talent Pool programme, you have recently participated in WIL’s local event in Rome. What is your take on what it takes to be a good leader in your industry and how does the participation in women’s network help you with that?

    In my field, there are a lot of well skilled engineers. Then it is not enough to be well skilled to be a good leader, it is also necessary that others see you as a competent person with a lot of charisma, self-control, and with a long-term vision.

    “I really enjoyed the programme because it has given to me the instruments to work on myself and on my career.”

    Sometimes to have a label is enough to be a boss, but to be a leader you need to be recognised as such by others. In a male world, it is not natural to see a woman as a leader, because the leaders are historically men. So the characteristics of a leader are usually the characteristics of a man.

    A women’s network allows both to meet women who are leaders in their field and also to compare themselves with other women who try to become good leaders. This comparison helps to improve.

    In my opinion, a woman does not become a leader by copying male leaders, but using qualities of her female vision. For these reasons, I really enjoyed the Talent programme because it has given to me the instruments to work on myself and on my career.

  • 24 Jan 2018 15:24 | Deleted user

    Who is the face behind managing and protecting intellectual property rights of Orange? Meet Debbie Marks, General Counsel for Global Brand Affairs at Orange and participant in the 3rd edition of our Women Talent Pool programme, who has worked in this company for more than fifteen years.

     What makes the Orange group so attractive? Why does Debbie prefer working as an in-house lawyer? What would she be if not a lawyer? Find the answers in our interview!

    Could you tell us a little about your background?

    I studied law at University and Law School in London and I started my career with a City Law firm, specialising in intellectual property and commercial litigation, where I worked mainly for brand and patent owners, and advertising and marketing clients.

    As I always saw my future as an in-house counsel, I joined Orange when the opportunity arose, which was not long after France Télécom acquired Orange.

    How would you describe your work as an in-house counsel and how is it different from working as a private lawyer?

    Both in-house counsel and private practice lawyers focus on giving sensible, commercial legal advice. However, as an in-house lawyer, your advice and decisions are rarely based just on legal considerations, but are based on a combination of legal expertise and business and commercial judgment.

    As an in-house lawyer, in order to be able to advise the business effectively, you need to learn as much as you can about the business in which you work, not just in terms of its commercial and operational activity, but also any industry-specific concepts and language. For example, for my role, it is important to understand the work of other experts in the brand, marketing, M&A, finance and tax departments.

    ‘As an in-house lawyer, in order to be able to advise the business effectively, you need to learn as much as you can about the business in which you work – both its commercial and operational activity, and  industry-specific concepts and language.’

    Also, as an in-house lawyer, you are part of the business and not just an advisor to the business, which, I believe, makes you more personally invested in its continued success.

    As General Counsel for Global Brand Affairs for one of the leading multinational telecommunications corporations, what are the specific issues you have to deal with and the challenges you have to address?

    My role involves the legal protection and licensing of the Orange brand. We have an extensive global trademark and domain name portfolio, so managing, protecting and defending those intellectual property rights represents a significant part of our work. As Orange expands into new business areas and new territories, our department needs to make sure that it has all the necessary rights in place. We are responsible for the legal framework for international brand licensing activity and support the Global Brand team with re-branding projects. In the last two years, we have had Orange brand launches in Egypt, Belgium, Morocco, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and last year, Orange Bank was launched in France.

    I think that the biggest challenge that we face in brand protection is the huge expansion in the use of social media and apps in recent years, which brings exciting opportunities for brands to communicate and engage with their customers, but also carries risks for organisations and brands, in the form of new and different types of brand infringements, such as Twitter handles, App infringements and increased phishing and cyber-attacks.

    You have joined Orange more than 15 years ago, while many people were and are still knocking on the company’s door. What makes it so attractive and how does it foster motivation and purpose and among its workforce?

    I think that Orange’s appeal lies in the fact that the telecommunications sector is such a fast-moving industry and Orange has been in the forefront of many of these developments, as well as extending into new business activities, such as healthcare, mobile banking, cloud services and cybersecurity.

    Orange also supports employee development and mobility, allowing people, including myself, to find and take on new challenges, while staying within the Group.  For me, this has meant that I am also now a member of the UK Management Team, I have taken responsibility for UK corporate legal affairs and I am the UK Compliance Officer (op.ed. In 2014, Debbie received an Award for Compliance Officer of the Year. )

    'Orange has been at the forefront of many of these developments and has extended into new business activities, such as healthcare, mobile banking, cloud services and cybersecurity.'

    You have participated in our 3rd edition of WIL’s Women Talent Pool Programme, which has recently ended. What are your takeaways and in what way it has benefited you?

    I have really enjoyed being part of the programme, and meeting women from different companies and industries, as well as participants from Orange who work in different lines of businesses and different countries, whom I had not met before.

    For me, a key takeaway is the importance of continuing to build and develop professional networks and relationships – when you are busy with work, it is easy to miss opportunities to do this. Another takeaway is how valuable it is to have the benefit of mentoring and support, not just in the early stages of a career, but at every stage. 

    'It is extremely valuable to have the opportunity of mentoring and support, not just in the early stages of a career, but at every stage.'

    As a part of the programme, I attended the EU Breakfast Debate with Michel Barnier, EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit.  Events like this one are hugely beneficial because they provide a valuable forum for discussions of issues, like Brexit, which has business, political and personal implications for many of us.

    If not a lawyer, what would you be?

    (Laughter) That is not an easy question to answer, having been a lawyer for so long.  As I have always loved reading, I would probably have enjoyed working in the publishing industry. 

  • 21 Dec 2017 13:01 | Deleted user

     “The participation in WIL’s leadership programme helped me to better understand myself and to progress in my career.“ Marie-Hélène Briens Ware is definitely the kind of emerging leader who walks the talk: one of the most active alumni of our network, she has reached a leading position as Director of Program Office for the Enterprise Line of Business, at Orange, only a few years after participating to the 1st edition of WIL’s Women Talent Pool programme (WTP).

    In this interview, read about what Marie-Hélène has learned over 15 years in Telecommunication sector and what her thoughts are on the challenges this sector is facing today!

    Throughout your career, you worked in various positions in R&D and sales and you are currently the Director of Programme Office for the Enterprise Line of Business. Could you please describe briefly your current position and what you like about it?

    Orange is a worldwide telecom company and the entity I work for is in charge of supporting B2B activities across the Orange Group. Our enterprise customers are businesses of all sizes, people that work from home, small to medium enterprises or multinational companies. We support all the Orange countries in all activities related to B2B: sales, marketing, customer service… We do this by bringing very specific expertise, and we act like internal consultants. Thanks to our close relationship with all Orange countries, we are the ambassadors of B2B at Orange corporate level.

    Within the Enterprise Line of Business, I am in charge of the Program Office, which is a team responsible for various support functions: communications to raise B2B awareness towards major stakeholders, digitalization, knowledge management, etc. The latter is an important part of our work, as we receive a lot of knowledge from Group projects in all different countries, which then needs to be shared and made accessible in a meaningful and efficient way, so that we can capitalize on all our projects.  

    We also provide support for the governance of B2B in the Group. My role is to make sure that we bring added value to the Group and what I really like about it, is that it is a very transversal role offering a comprehensive view on business. I also like the challenge of advising the members of the executive committee, who turn to us for advice on best B2B strategy for which clear position and recommendations are needed.

    With an academic background in Telecommunications and over 15 years of experience at Orange, what do you appreciate the most about this sector and the company?

    What I really like about the telecom industry is that it really affects people’s lives. We are part of a revolution that is unfolding and is far from being over; I’m thinking of how 5G is going to be yet another stage of this revolution. The way we work has changed so much: just 15 years ago, there were hardly any mobile phones, emails, video conferencing or knowledge sharing. I find this thrilling and it is also the reason why I have joined this sector in the first place.

    In addition, I also appreciate the responsibility that comes with the work we do, such as the technological solutions we push for, or how we handle the personal data of our customers. 

    'What I really like about the telecom industry is that it really affects people’s lives. We are part of a revolution that is unfolding and is far from being over.'

    From a technological point of view, what are some of the biggest challenges that the marketing teams faces today?

    At Orange, we have a responsibility towards our customers to offer fast evolving products and services. The behavior of customers has changed in the way they use mobile phones, watch TV or work collaboratively, which means that marketing needs to embrace new technologies and make sense of them for our customers. Cyberdefense is a good case in point: the way and number of times enterprises were hacked a few years ago is very different from how they are hacked today. Therefore, we always need to be up-to-date with the latest solutions, which I think is the biggest challenge for marketing teams!  

    'Marketing needs to embrace new technologies and make sense of them for our customers.'

    Last week, One Planet Summit took place on the anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. How important are climate/green initiatives for company’s marketing strategies and market success?

    Just a few years ago, green solutions were not part of the mindset, but I think this is changing really fast and climate initiatives in marketing strategies are growing in importance.

     'It has become mandatory to demonstrate to big customers in particular, that Orange cares about the environment and that it complies with certain standards.'

    It has indeed become mandatory to demonstrate customers, big ones in particular, that Orange cares about the environment and that it complies with certain standards. It is thus important for us as a Group to take part in making our products and behavior as green as possible.

    In 2012, you have participated in the 1st edition of WIL’s WTP Programme and only a few years later, you have reached a leading position. Could you share with us how it has benefited you and what advice would you give to other participants?

    When I joined the WTP programme, I was curious but, as an independent thinker, I never thought being a woman could ever hinder my career. However, by discussing and reflecting with other participants, I have come to realize that there was a behavior that was holding me back in my career: the reluctance to put myself forward, and to have to promote myself in certain situations. This was a really good eye-opener and it helped me to better understand myself and also to progress in my career.

    'The participation in the WTP programme was a really good eye-opener and it helped me to understand myself and also to progress in my career. '

    The WTP programme also gives an opportunity to network with other professional senior-level women and shows how important and beneficial it is to genuinely share experiences and discuss all topics that we do not talk about at our workplace. I strongly encourage new participants to take advantage of this opportunity. It is a safe space to share and learn from others and oneself.

    You have attended our recent EU Breakfast Debate with EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. What were your key takeaways from the event? Are you planning on reading the book suggested by the Commissioner - Mary Beard:  Women & Power?

    I have already bought the book! I am pleased to have been able to listen to the EU Commissioner Vestager at WIL’s recent event. She is an impressive leader who has achieved great results in her fight against illegal State aid.

    I believe that she embodies exactly the kind of leadership Europe needs today.  EU Commissioners should exercise their power to make sense of Europe as a community of countries that stand firm against policies and political choices that are in not in our common interest, such as the fight against tax loopholes. The work the Commissioner Vestager does is a very good example of why the European Union was created for in the first place : to benefit Europeans.

  • 29 Nov 2017 11:23 | Deleted user

    Now Global Account Manager at LinkedIn, the web’s largest network of professionals, Myriam El Ouni first served as Platform Sales Executive at Salesforce and as Account Manager both for private and public sector at Microsoft in France and in the UK. Since her participation to the first edition of our Women Talent Pool program in 2012, Myriam thus continued on her way to become, in her own words, a “digital fashionista” and “growth hacker”. As a passionate person who loves to share, Myriam welcomed us at the offices of LinkedIn in Paris, the perfect place to interview a digital expert!

    You have been a Global Account Manager of LinkedIn for eight months, helping Global Accounts to become connected enterprises. What is your role exactly about and which success factors do you see as essential?

    Our Global Account team helps global organizations in France grow by transforming their human resources’ organizations to better meet the new talent expectations and recruitment goals. After transforming customers’ journey, the way digital has transformed the people, now brings companies to rethink the way they interact with their people, from Talent to Employees.  

    The challenge, which global organizations are facing today, is mainly about identifying and attracting the right talents for the roles they provide today and will have to fulfill tomorrow.

    LinkedIn empowers them with intelligent data to overcome this challenge and become pioneer of the digital HR. We help organizations to become data-driven in the way they identify, attract and retains talents.

    The first success factor is the ability to listen and understand your customers’ challenges and priorities in this changing environment. The second factor is compassion: understanding where customers stand in their journey to digital. Transformation is a journey and it is key that customers can successfully go through it while remaining true to their values and culture. The third success factor is teamwork, and being able to leverage every talent of the team. We are now a global team of  talented people, who by working together are able to empower our customers to achieve more.

    You describe yourself as “customers obsessed”: in an ever-changing digital environment, how do you keep your brand and services agile and what is the key to bringing satisfaction to your customers?

    Being customers obsessed to me means first being passionate by getting to know my customers from headquarters to the field in the various countries they are implemented. Then it consists of imagining that you are the customer and thinking about the kind of experience and solution you would expect LinkedIn and your partners to deliver. It all comes down to integrity. Treat your customers as you would like to be treated: with trust, fairness and empathy.

    “My golden rule: being customers obsessed and deliver excellence! Become a trusted partner who serves with integrity and empathy”

    Why haven't any companies been able to challenge LinkedIn so far and where do you see it heading in 5 years? Any new services for enterprises coming up?

    On LinkedIn, people spend only 30% of their time trying to find a job, while 70% of the time they want to consume its valuable content. LinkedIn is the one and only professional network that is offering its 530 million plus members the ability to connect with other professionals and companies as well as sharing content and accessing learning opportunities to grow in a professional way and then finding the next step in their career. LinkedIn is building a digital map to empower the 3 billion workforces to successfully thrive in their career. This goes far above and beyond finding a job.

    “LinkedIn is the one and only professional network that is offering its members the ability to connect with other professionals and companies, as well as sharing content and accessing learning opportunities ”

    I see a bright future for LinkedIn, and I do believe that being part of Microsoft will allow us to even go a step further by allowing our members and every company to truly leverage the latest technologies from AI, to blockchain and quatum computing.

    Do you have an insight of the number of people that have found their job through LinkedIn?

    With 530M members, 18M companies and 11M job posted, I believe everyone will find their next dream opportunity through LinkedIn. From finding inspiration on where they want to go next through articles and posts to applying to a job, LinkedIn is providing on a daily basis to millions of people their next career move within a click.  

    What are your tips and tricks to create a powerful LinkedIn Profile and make the difference?

    Your profile should reflect who you are and be the most accurate possible. First, you should have an up to date professional picture that embodies who you are in your daily work environment. Then I would recommend a good description of your missions and values as a professional in the description part just below your picture, and then, on the job experience part, I suggest you mention for whom you have worked, how long, and what you have achieved. You should also connect with the right people. Finally, as LinkedIn is not only a job board, you should be active in terms of articles that you share, posts that you like, or comments that will help you being seen as a knowledgeable expert in your field of expertise rather than just having a resume on LinkedIn.

    Representing only 30% of the seven million people working in the ICT European sector, women are clearly underrepresented, especially in leadership positions. To face this considerable gender gap in the ICT sector, has LinkedIn any particular best practices that you can share and how do you personally try to act on this (at LinkedIn and in general)?

    LinkedIn is very engaged in any type of diversity, gender being one, and we have a network dedicated to help women progressing in their career inside the company.

    In order to promote gender diversity, first it is important not to keep it as a women’s topic. In many companies, gender diversity is led by and for women, but since 70% in the ICT world are still men, we should onboard men in every gender diversity initiative, train men managers to know how to attract, identify, develop and retain women inside their teams, and we should give them a voice on how they could help us on how to reduce this gap. Second, women are their own worst enemies because we are too shy to be successful at work: we also need to empower women to increase their self-confidence and be convinced that they have everything to become a successful leader. Third, without having regulation and flexible working conditions, we will not reduce the gap completely.

    “The right question to ask in the time of digital transition is how do we leverage the technology to empower more women to sit at the table?

    I believe that the right question to ask ourselves in the time of digital transition is not so much how to ensure the life-work balance of women, because today technology allows us to  work from everywhere and at any time, but instead, how do we leverage the digital technology to empower more women to sit at the table. 

    We read that LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, always asks the following question to job candidates: “What is your dream job?” and “Looking back on your career, what do you want to say you accomplished?” Pretend you are being interviewed by him. What would be your answers?

    My dream job is to manage a company with a social and societal responsibility in digital transformation. Accompanying a business and a team to first transform themselves to then be able to impact positively the market, the society and its people. I do believe we are at the very beginning only of all the transformations digital will bring. I am willing ever since I have joined Microsoft 12 years ago, to one day lead a company that will empower people to be successful throughout their digital journey.

    The best thing I have accomplished in my career so far is first to learn from my mentors and the leaders I am inspired by, and to build with my customers long-term trusted relationship.  With time and passionate work, I have become a trusted advisor of customers transformation. And their own success is my best reward.

  • 29 Nov 2017 11:13 | Deleted user

    The digital age has transformed the way we shop and share our experiences. Today, customers are driving the buying process using websites, blogs, and social media platforms. We have endless options and low prices are not enough to persuade us. According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator. 

    The WIL had the chance to discuss this issue with Beatriz San Pedro Jimenez, a Customer Experience and Process Transformation Leader at Orange Spain, and a participant in our Women Talent Pool programme.  In this interview, Beatriz shares her thoughts and expertise in the field and reveals to us some of the key ingredients of a great customer experience recipe!

     Can you tell us more about yourself and how did you come to focus your career on the customer experience?

    I have been working for Orange since 2005 and for the last 6 years, I have been holding several positions focused on customer experience. My first years at Orange were oriented to technical areas and after an MBA, I decided to move to marketing where I discovered my interest for knowing more about the customer, his motivations, and his experiences when getting in contact with Orange. Since then, it has become my passion and during these past years, I have acquired quite a good understanding of how our products, services, and technologies are perceived by the customer.

    “Company´s secret ingredient for success is to place the customer experience at the center of its strategy.

    What would be the three main components of a great customer experience and could you reveal us the company’s secret ingredient for success?

    The first thing would be to place the customer at the center of the product design.  A key element during this stage is to take into account customer feedback as it helps to prioritize functionalities and to create a product/ service adapted to his needs. This means more satisfaction for the customer and thus more engagement and recommendation.

    Second is to be proactive towards the customer, anticipating the needs he may have at a given moment and proposing personalized products/services and effective solutions.

    Thirdly - Simplicity in terms of products and usage. On one hand, customers demand to buy simple offers easy to understand and to get installed and ready to use as soon as possible. On the other hand, customers expect to carry out any kind of interactions from their mobile such as purchase, renewal of mobile phone, change plan, bill consumption… through a fast, easy and useful experience.

    As for the company´s secret ingredient for success, I would say it is to place customer experience at the center of the strategy of the company. This shows the priority is clear so the whole organization is engaged and moves towards the same objective. It is the case at Orange where customer experience is the main priority with an ambitious Customer Experience Program at a Group level.

    “Negative experiences are unique opportunities for companies to change them into memorable moments, increasing customer satisfaction and recommendation.”

    What is your most memorable experience as a customer?

    I have lived both positive and negative moments as a customer. To give an example, I had recently lived a negative experience purchasing at an online store for natural products. The package arrived with some products damaged due to the impact during delivery. I went to the sellers’ website to report the issue sending some pictures as requested. In less than 48h, I received the confirmation that the products were going to be sent again. My issue was dealt 100% online and fast.  Simple, efficient and trustable.

    Customer appreciates agility, especially when a negative experience occurs. These moments are unique opportunities for companies to change negative experiences into memorable moments, increasing customer satisfaction and recommendation.

    As the leader of Customer Experience and Process Transformation, you are right on trend when it comes to digital transformation, which is a big topic today. How will the “Big Data” and “Customer Analytics” impact customer sales processes and what is their added value in the management of customer relations?

    Indeed, Big Data is a big topic today and it is playing an increasing role for companies that want to keep on the successful path in the coming years. To collect, analyze and understand customer data is extremely important but the great challenge is to make the most of this data in order create added value for the customer.  This means that learning how to use customer data will have a big impact on customer sales processes as it will improve segmentation and the possibility to offer personalized products and services  based on their usages and preferences.

    “Advanced analytics will reveal what is working and what needs to be fixed in terms of the customer journey and user experience, which will have a positive impact on our customer relationship.”

    Besides, understanding customer insights through advanced analytics will reveal what is working and what needs to be fixed in terms of the customer journey and user experience.

    This will have a positive impact on our customer relationship and we will be able to anticipate issues before they start or to respond to them more rapidly.

    You have moved from Madrid to Paris, where you worked for Orange for five years, and then back to Madrid. I guess you might have needed to get a mobile phone for yourself – how did you perceive the differences in customer experiences, if any? And what about between the two working environments?  How valuable was this international experience for your professional career?

    I have always enjoyed working in international environments and it has been extremely valuable for my professional career.  In Paris, I worked at Orange Group in Customer Experience Department, so I had the opportunity to build an international network and to work hand in hand with other European countries sharing best practices. As for customer experience, I have experienced similar customer issues in both countries when dealing with mobile or broadband services.  However, I perceived some differences in customers’ behaviors and interests, so the offers are adapted accordingly.

    I find myself conformable in both working environments. Respect and flexibility are key elements to adapt yourself, as the main divergences are more related to cultural aspects.

    You were a very active participant of WIL’s 3rd edition of Woman Talent Pool programme. What are your impressions from this 18-month experience, what did you learn?

    WIL WTP programme has given me the opportunity to meet international senior women leaders from public and private sectors and to learn from their experiences. To be part of this community has been a big source of motivation and inspiration for me.

    “There is no single path to success and each of us has to define their own and be comfortable with it.”

    I have appreciated the conferences and debates with great speakers and the seminars have helped me to improve my leadership, to think out of the box and to grow in confidence, in order to face new professional challenges. I have understood that there is no single path to success and each of us has to define their own and be comfortable with it.

    In one of the women talent meetings, we received a copy of Dr. Carol Dweck bestseller, “Mindset: changing the way you think to fulfill your potential” greatly introduced by Elena Bonfiglioli, Senior Director Health and Life Sciences , EMEA, Microsoft. This book has been a big discovery and extremely inspiring for me as it draws your attention to the power of the mindset on how to succeed. I have understood the need to adopt a growth mindset approach free of fixed patterns and negative beliefs as a way to reach both personal and professional goals.


  • 25 Oct 2017 15:55 | Deleted user

    Artificial Intelligence and Cloud computing - What do they have in common with the Healthcare? The WIL had a fruitful discussion on this topic with Racha Abu El Ata, who, only a few years after participating in the first edition of our Women Talent Pool programme (WTP) in 2012, has recently been promoted as Health Industry Sales Director at Microsoft. Racha has been with the IT company for more than 15 years and is passionate about innovation, predictive analytics, and data science. If you are skeptical about artificial intelligence or would like to learn how it can act as an enabler for changes in medicine and healthcare, take 5 minutes and read our interview with her!

    After 15 years at Microsoft, you have recently been promoted to a Health Industry Sales Director. How will technology transform healthcare and where are companies like Microsoft focusing?

    Healthcare is an important industry to be transformed in France and other developed countries in the next few years, as the costs for healthcare spending, fueled by the aging population and chronic diseases, are projected to rise from currently 12% of GDP to nearly 18% of GDP in the next 10 years. There is thus a good opportunity to change the industry and technology is at the heart of this transformation.

    Microsoft has also gone through a reorganization in the beginning of last year and has decided to focus on the following priorities: manufacturing, financial services, retail, education, government, and health being one of them. In order to assist the healthcare transformation, Microsoft is building specific offers and solutions such as engaging patients and empowering care teams.  

    “The costs for healthcare spending, fueled by the aging population and chronic diseases, are projected to rise from currently 12% of GDP to nearly 18% of GDP in the next 10 years.”

    What is the most exciting development that you are seeing within the field of e-health solutions at Microsoft?      

    The mathematical algorithm to analyze the health data and the power of cloud computing to simplify the analysis and make it faster. Without the algorithm and cloud services, we could still perform the analysis, but that would be very costly and would take an unimaginable amount of time.

    In particular, what role does artificial intelligence (AI) play in health sector today? Leading thinkers have attacked the concept—such as Stephen Hawking who voiced his concern. Do you think we should be scared of Dr. Terminator and why ?

    Artificial intelligence (AI) enables society to have a good understanding and analysis of what has happened in the past and what may happen in the future. To give an example, currently,  a patient receives a treatment and is sent home with no further analysis if the treatment he has received was the right one. Technology can help us customize the treatment with the patients’ data such as age and lifestyle, which can be analyzed in a short period of time (see the previous question).

    The above example shows that if we anticipate and prepare for the change, AI can be an opportunity for the society as a whole. It is true that AI and improved automation will disrupt the job market and will indeed contribute to a job loss, but it will, at the same time, create job opportunities that never existed before, such as data scientists.

    Education thus plays an important role in anticipating and addressing these changes, therefore governments and educational institutions should work hand in hand with industrial leaders such as Microsoft and others to train the next generation(s) and prepare them for the future employment market.

    “Technology can help us customize the treatment with the patients’ data such as age and lifestyle.”

    You have joined Microsoft in 2002, while many people were and are still knocking on the company’s door. What makes it so attractive and how does it foster innovative and creative thinking among its workforce?

    Microsoft is a very emphatic company and while it is very demanding it is also extremely rewarding. There is a possibility for an employee to stay with the company until his/her retirement while taking up diverse roles. I have changed six roles since I have joined the company,  but I have the feeling that I worked for several companies and on many different topics.

    I also truly appreciate the fact that our top management is constantly questioning its model, innovation, and organization. As said previously, we went recently through a significant reorganization into six vertical industries, which shows that management is not afraid of changes and this gives me confidence for the future.  

    Microsoft is playing a big role in society and citizenship, which is of great importance to me, as I could not work for a company that would not care about making the world better place.

    In 2012, you have participated in the 1st edition of our Woman Talent Pool Programme and only a few years later, you have reached a leading position. Could you share with us how the Programme has benefited you and what advice would you give to other participants?

    The participation in the Programme gave me an opportunity to network, travel, meet leaders and learn from them. The example of leaders as role models is important for young women, so they can witness the possibility of having a leadership position beside a balanced personal and professional life.

    “I have particularly enjoyed the training session about the “Good Girl Syndrome”, which made me aware that men are not the only one responsible for the lack of diversity and inclusion.”

    I have particularly enjoyed the training session about the “Good Girl Syndrome”, which made me aware that women often have fears about promoting themselves and do not seek for a promotion, because they think, that as long as they accomplish the necessary requirements, the opportunities will come along. For example, if they receive an opportunity for another job, they express doubts about themselves, even if they have 85% of all necessary competencies and skills.

    This training was extremely insightful as it changed my perspective and helped me to say that “I can do it” and that I have the right to ask for something. Moreover, it helped me in my management and leadership position towards others. I am now coaching other young women in Microsoft and I always try to make them aware and change these behavioral patterns.

  • 20 Oct 2017 11:53 | Deleted user

    Beyond our members and the participants to our Women Talent Pool programme, other great women are doing a fantastic work. At only 28, the brilliant Chloe Jones, EMEA Brand Advocacy Manager at Lenovo (UK), has already made her mark. Chloe is the finalist of the PCR Women of the Year 2015, an award recognizing the contribution of women in the UK PC & Technology industry. A “writer, creator and thinker”, in her own words, Chloe is also particularly active on social networks where she shares her views on a wide range of interests such as environment, education and equality.

    A great support of WIL, Chloe participated to our annual gathering in London on May 15th and 16h 2017, where we had the chance to meet her and learn about her already impressive credentials. 

    Want to know where Chloe gets her inspiration from and how she uses it as Brand Advocacy Manager? Read our interview!

    You graduated in English literature and drama and describe yourself as a “writer”. What prompted you to then specialize in marketing? How does your literary background help you in your current position?

    The skills that I had developed during my degree like self-presentation, analytics, creativity and writing really lend themselves to the world of marketing. I was keen to further these skills and use my creativity and my passion for people to create connections between a brand and consumers and really understand what makes people engage and react.

    Relationships with our “super fans” are important for improving customer loyalty, which helps add muscle to our brand’s customer acquisition and retention efforts.

    I started at Lenovo by managing and writing the EMEA email marketing campaigns and was recognized for my abilities to write engaging copy. This was a fantastic starting block from which to learn about the different audiences around Europe and how to engage with them. At the same time, our Vice President of Marketing was looking for new ways for Lenovo to have one to one relationships with our customers, and that led me to launching our first brand advocacy program, designed to create meaningful relationships with our brand’s “super fans”. These relationships are important for improving customer loyalty, which helps add muscle to our brand’s customer acquisition and retention efforts.

    Is there any English author that you particularly appreciate or that you consider to be a great inspiration?

    There are a lot of remarkable English authors. I could list some classic inspirations, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien and Virginia Woolf. A modern day role-model has to be J.K. Rowling : she has inspired a whole generation to love reading and has written strong and independent female characters in her books. She embodies that having both passion and an idea can transform your life. Currently, I am reading ’Swing Time’ by Zadie Smith, she’s an amazing inspiration, who won prizes for her first book at just 25 years old. She writes beautifully and comes across as a very well-grounded woman. For example, she has no social media accounts because as she says, it gives her “the right to be wrong.”

    For more than two years, you have been the owner of Lenovo EMEA’s first Brand Advocacy Program, an online community aiming at turning customers into brand advocates. Why do brands need advocacy programmes?

    In a really crowded market like technology, where companies are producing similar products, brands and relationships are keys to ensuring we can move beyond a one-time purchase. Social brand advocates are incredibly influential. As brands like Lenovo seek to reach new and wider audiences it’s imperative they engage their advocates and nurture those relationships. Brand advocates add a depth to brand marketing; due to their loyalty and their satisfaction in a brand they go deeper with their networks to share their positive brand experience. This helps to create and increase brand awareness.

    Sometimes, a positive experience with a brand can simply be a successful customer service experience. Going a step further, dedicated advocacy programs help build trust and loyalty, foster valuable relationships and develop online and offline engagement. Providing this positive brand experience, in any capacity, is essential for brands who want to be customer centric.

    What makes a good advocacy programme? Could you tell us more about the actions you are implementing?

    There are two key points for a good advocacy program : first, a good advocacy program should empower the customer by being a dialogue between a brand and its advocates. Secondly, advocacy starts inside the company. Thus brands who want to make a significant impact should have employee advocacy programs as well as super fan programs.

    A good advocacy program should empower the customer by being a dialogue between a brand and its advocates.

    Bringing the brand story to life in a relevant and meaningful way is important to do both online and offline. I run hosted programs for top advocates and influencers at European trade shows to give them ‘insider’ experiences with our brand and products. These face to face interactions and experiential activities really help to foster lasting relationships and they complement our efforts to create online social engagement. Giving our fans these experiences also shows them how we value them and how we want to have their feedback so we can improve what we do and how we do it.

    Steve Jobs had predicted a post-PC era due to the rise of smartphones and tablets and it’s true that the PC market has been going through a few years of declining sales. Where do you see it heading over the next few years?

    Tablets haven’t really evolved since they first hit the market, but consumers want more and more from them, but the form factor doesn’t always support. There are more and more apps developed to support productivity, but the form factor of tablets doesn’t make it a pleasurable experience. At Lenovo, we spent time watching people using their devices, using pen, detachable keyboard etc and decided to bring something revolutionary to the market: ourYoga Book. The Yoga Book gives the user the same paper-like writing experience but also has a fully functioning and responsive keyboard. In terms of forward thinking and innovation, this “PC plus design” is where we need to focus our strengths and keep ahead of the declining PC area.

    Coming back to your love for literature and passion for education, do you think that the digital transformation of the classroom has a real ability to improve student learning outcomes?

    The education sector is on a trajectory to reducing the digital divide. The continuation of compulsory computing skills within the curriculum has opened up a range of digital careers for students that were previously inaccessible. Today’s students require more than textbook learning and memorization. They need digital tools that allow them to do more than ever before. Lenovo has pioneered the way in purpose-built educational devices : we recently launched the updated Thinkpad 11e family and Lenovo N23 Chromebooks.

    Allowing these new methods of teaching represents a lot of capability and potential for improving student learning outcomes.

    Although many classrooms feature tech, most are still teaching from the front of the class with an electric board – it’s not that different from how we’ve taught for hundreds of years. Technology can bring new possibilities to the classrooms such as flipped and blended learning, and over the next 6 to 8 months we are likely to see an increase in the adoption of augmented reality and virtual reality within education- technologies such as Google Tango on the Lenovo Phab 2 have a range of use cases in the classroom. Technology allows the gamification of the teaching experience such as manipulating objects in a virtual environment, allowing pupils to try out future careers or test themselves in virtual scenarios. The new generation of 2-in-1 devices gives teachers more versatility within the classroom. Allowing these new methods of teaching represents a lot of capability and potential for improving student learning outcomes.

    However, when it comes to literature and reading, I am still an old-fashioned advocate of picking up a good old book and turning real paper pages!

  • 14 Sep 2017 17:51 | Deleted user

    From Cluj-Napoca (Romania) to Brussels, from the private to the public sector, the talented and dynamic Raluca Anghel, one of the participants of our Women Talent Pool program, seems on track for a promising European career.

     After starting her professional journey at AIESEC, a youth-run international organization, she occupied several positions at Microsoft (in Brussels) in the field of corporate and political communication, as well as EU policy. In 2015, she became Head of Office at the European Parliament for the Romanian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Emilian Pavel.

    If you ever wondered what it means to work for a Member of the European Parliament and to shift from the private to the public sector, then it is time read our interview!

    The city of Brussels is a desirable location for young Europeans searching for job opportunities in Belgium's European hub. Yourself, how did you land in Brussels? What attracted you to the European Affairs?

    I came to Brussels to work for Microsoft through the AIESEC international internships programme. I actually studied a combination of European affairs, law, management and marketing, so as soon as I saw this position at Microsoft in the Legal and Corporate Affairs team, I felt it would be a great choice. It combined some of my greatest interests: technology, CSR and entrepreneurship, communication and EU affairs.

    Learning how to work with the EU institutions and the EU legislation process on behalf of the private sector was a fantastic opportunity. The private sector is largely impacted by various EU policies, so contributing to this process is extremely valuable. Added to that, the private sector, with its various resources and expertise, can be a fantastic partner and can help implement the EU Agenda. I therefore loved working on behalf of Microsoft, on issues like entrepreneurship, innovation, education and training, and partnering with various organisations and institutions.

    Since 2015, you are Head of Office of a Member of the European Parliament, probably the first dream-job of many young Europeans. Can you tell us more about what it means to work for a Member of the European Parliament?

    As the Head of Office of a Member of the European Parliament from Romania, I am in a very fortunate position to be part of the EU legislation process and have a positive impact in areas I am very interested in. I work and advise on EU policy making, I manage the team in Brussels, as well as our local teams in various cities in Romania, I lead the image building and political communication, including PR, as well as run projects and events both in the European Parliament and in Romania. The Member of the European Parliament is part of the “Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs” and “Employment and Social Affairs” committees, and most of our projects touch upon related topics to his work in these committees. No day is the same, our work is extremely fast paced and requires a proficient level of multitasking and attention to details :-).

    The digital transition fosters creativity and innovation, so it’s the best tool for anything any woman might want to do!

    You worked in the Private, Public and Non–Profit sectors. What do you think you have gained from this diverse background? What did you enjoy about working in each of those fields?

    I have been really fortunate to work in all these different sectors. I have firstly learnt that I can always bring a contribution to the areas I care for, and I can do that from different perspectives. I also learnt how various organisations work, as well as how to manage people in these organisations and apply different leadership styles.

    Working in the non-profit sector, I enjoyed giving back to the community, I loved interacting with extremely passionate and motivated people, but I especially appreciated learning how to do my job with limited resources.

    Within the private sector, I really enjoyed learning - as I was part of a very dynamic company, I learnt new things every day. I had the chance to improve my management, communication, “intrapreneurial” skills and expertise, and interacted with so many brilliant people. But most importantly I also saw the positive impact that a large company can have on the society and I really enjoyed being part of their projects.

    As for the public sector, I really love being part of the policy making. As I have worked in the private and NGO sector, I know how important it is to develop policies that are anchored in reality and support the true development of the economy and society.

    Women must help other women, so coaching, mentoring, sponsoring are crucial.

    In your wrap-up at a WIL EU Breakfast Debate, you mentioned that in an increasingly digitalized world, women’s tech-literacy is becoming a key challenge for the future. How do you think women can increase their participation in STEM and be part of the digital transition?

    I am very passionate about this topic. I think a mind shift is required and the entire society needs to be involved in a raising awareness campaign about STEM studies and professions being gender-neutral. Women also need to have role-models and see what brilliant careers other women have had in this sector. Women must help other women, so coaching, mentoring, sponsoring are crucial - which can be done either in the context of their work, or through a volunteering programme that they could be part of or even set up.

    At school, from an early age, girls need to be given the same chances as boys and be tutored to truly believe that they can become anything they want. Stereotypes must be avoided starting from school!

    More than that, the digital revolution also brings a lot of flexibility, which is something that women (but not only!) can make the most of, so they just need to embrace it, learn how to make it work in their favour and demand their rights. The digital transition fosters creativity and innovation, so it’s the best tool for anything any woman might want to do!

    You also believe that another major challenge is Global Warming, and that it can only be addressed through international cooperation. As an expert on innovation and environmental sustainability, do you think the EU can coordinate a solution for climate change and that it could be driven by innovation?

    Innovation and technology are definitely key to fighting global warming. In times when the idea of climate change is challenged (sigh...), I definitely think the EU must and does take a leadership role in setting an example of how to combat it and reverse it. But the EU needs a lot of partners, not only other states but also various industries that can provide technologically innovative ways to tackle global warming.

  • 27 Feb 2017 15:49 | Deleted user

     Ana Crespo Parrondo is a Communications and Press Specialist in European and International Affairs. She is currently employed as the Assistant to the Director for Media & Communication at the Council of the European Union (EU) in Brussels.

    1.       Why did you want to be a talent in the Women Talent Pool program?

    At this point of my career, I very much value being part of a network where I can learn from others – in this case young talented women - who perhaps encountered the same type of difficulties in their own professional lives and who also want to break the glass ceiling, get a new job or evolve in their careers. I have the feeling that we are empowering, supporting and helping each other through the WTP.

    I am a member of several networks that are based in Brussels where I live and elsewhere as well, but I was very much looking forward to applying to this program because I knew that I will have the opportunity to meet incredible European talents. 

    2.       You mentioned that you are part of several networks. Is the WTP different from the others? If so, why?

    The WTP is standing out for two main reasons. First, it is an international and crosscutting network dedicated to women talents working in different sectors, whereas the other networks I am part of, are open to male and female members, but are mainly focus on a very specific area of interest. So, the women talent pool offers a broader perspective thanks to the talents who have diverse mindsets, academic backgrounds, and work in so many different fields, and this is for me very enriching. 

    I for instance work in communications in a European institution but I met emerging leaders who work in telecoms in London or Paris or in other EU institutions in Brussels. This is the added value of this program.

    Second, I am attending numerous conferences, receptions and network events throughout the year, and I realized that the content is in many cases repetitive and you ask yourself what was the real added value of this evening. Therefore, what I value in this program is that you get to know your peers and the WIL members and even build a relationship with them. Each gathering is different. This way, you get to have and be part of a community that will last longer than just the duration of the program. You don’t get this by simply attending other individual events.

    3.       Talking about the value of this program. We are now half way through it. Could you please tell me what you liked so far and share an example of a session that you enjoyed the most?

    The Public speaking workshop at Hill & Knowlton in London was one of my favorite sessions. The workshop was very focus, well organized and synthetized in a way that all of us could get food for thought out of it.

    I also very much enjoyed the speed dating sessions with the WIL mentors. I had the opportunity to discuss about future career plans and many other topics with my peers and various senior members. You don’t have this opportunity very often, therefore I really appreciated it.

    4.       What are your expectations for the future? What would you like to see in the second half of this 18 months’ program?

    It would be great to have a session to teach us how to be more confident and resilient; a workshop on mindfulness for instance. I also think that another session should be dedicated to improving soft skills such as negotiation or leadership.

    5.       What do you think this program brought you personally and professionally?

    I think that personal and professional are mixed here because this network doesn’t really make a distinction. When you meet your peers, you also get to know them personally: where they work and what they do. It is not a question of what they can give you but more about exchanging human values on a different dimension. Thus, I gained a lot of learnings to apply to my professional career and personal live. I also hope to keep in touch with as many as I can through WIL social media outlets and more specifically the LinkedIn group, to start building a real community and relationships that can last for longer.

    6.       On a more personal level: could you please describe in a few words your current position and what you like about it?

    I currently work at the office of the Director for Media and Communications at the Council of the EU. I’ve been working for that institution for the last 5 years, holding several positions within communications.

    This work experience has been tremendously valuable for me. It is a privilege not only to work in the fields of my studies and the ones I’m passionate about, Communications and European politics, but also to do it inside the General Secretariat of the Council serving two of the most political EU institutions: the Council of the EU and the European Council. My work during these last five years has been extremely diverse, from dealing with media relations, analyzing the daily news, speaking to visitors’ groups to publishing press material on the official website or on social media accounts. I enjoy very much what I do.

    I have been fortunate to be part of the press taskforce teams covering the last two multilateral summits (Africa 2014 & CELAC 2015). I enjoy very much greeting external visitors (media, citizens…) to our premises and explaining to them what we do and how we work. Those two times were exceptional and a real boost of energy. I remembered running across the corridors to ensure official press from different delegations were reaching the photo opportunities with their leaders. Those moments are difficult to forget you see how their national TVs used their footage on that day.

    7.       What skills do you need to be successful in your position?

    My main role is kind of “a chameleon”. I need to adjust and adapt myself quickly to the different positions, facilitate the job of my superior and be a team builder among my colleagues. My role is to solve the problems, give information, move things and communicate in the most effective way across all the teams. Be open to new challenges and don’t be shy, speak up your mind.

    My motto is to preserve the image and reputation of my institution and my communications service, so I take that as my daily responsibility.

    8.        How do you see yourself in the future?

    I always say that there is a lot to learn and with perseverance lots of things can be achieved. My experience working with many highly professional colleagues, and especially next to managers, has been of extreme value for my future career. I would like to progress in the field of communications managing projects and specific policy portfolios and those leadership and negotiation competences will certainly help to that end

    9.       Any piece of advice?

    Be open to change, don’t be afraid of failures. Persevere in what you do. The most valuable thing you can tell yourself is that you have done a good job and that you are the only one who can value and credit that. Never stop fighting to get what you want.  And if you fail, always tell yourself that there will be an opportunity standing behind if you keep on working.

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