What do you do?
I lead a cross-functional Product team of Software Engineers. I have many different points of focus as a Lead, but my main priority is the people. I am a first point of call for anything they need — mentoring, coaching, or discussing things they might need day to day, as well as tasks of line management. We have a strong learning culture and the budget to back it up at Paddle, so I can also be a sounding board if people want to consult on what to learn next.
Why did you choose this field?
Both of my parents are accountants, and I have two older sisters, both of whom are Engineers. I think an inclination towards maths and sciences runs in my family, but my mum also imparted in me her love for reading and literature since I was young. I have always had a passion for stories and a big fascination with the human mind and that's where I get my inclination to work in a people-focused role.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Born and raised in Venezuela, I never imagined I'd end up living in London and let alone in a leadership position. I'm half Portuguese, so due to the political and economic crisis, it made sense to get a one-way ticket to Europe and make a new life.
Why do you love working in STEM?
Good tech companies offer out-of-this-world benefits. They treat you as a person, and ensure you have everything you need to make work a part of your life, as opposed to a burden. You will be more energised and able to provide your best work, you will feel that you have autonomy and power of decision, and so you will learn more, and much quicker.
Best advice for next generation?
A bit over a 100 years ago, women had no right to vote. A bit over half a century ago, there were little to no women in the workplace. The reason we are where we are is because some of them decided it has to stop. And so let's decide this has to stop now. If you're someone who likes math and science, dive into it wholeheartedly. Technology is absolutely limitless. There is so much opportunity in it, always more to learn, to improve, and so many interesting people from endless backgrounds. For every person who is insensitive, there are a hundred who are willing to mentor you, and even motivate you to pursue what you never thought you could, such as leadership in my case.
Every passing day there are more allies. Every day diversity and inclusion are more of a priority. And the abundance of roles in technology gives you an advantage no other industry does - if you are good at what you do, regardless of gender, companies will be competing to hire you.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
My role model is Maya Angelou. Coming from a difficult childhood, and being black and poor during a time of racial segregation in America, she managed to overcome it and become one of the most respected poets of all time, aside from all her contributions to the civil rights movement, her singing, producing, directing and acting. In spite of all her personal tragedies, through her poems she always displays a deeply positive and optimistic view of the world and life, and the beauty that can stem even from damaged places.