Early years and where you came from?
As a kid I always wanted to grow up to be a teacher. I loved to write and I loved Maths. I wanted to go do a degree in Humanities or Mathematic. My parents got me to talk with different people in those areas and they all painted a very bleak portrait of employment and career options in those areas. I ended up going for Computer Science. “You can always be an Engineer and write on your spare time,” my parents used to say. And they were write (they usually are). And I do not regret my choice, not for a second.
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
My first job, right off University, was as a Junior Consultant at Unisys. I learned loads, not only about working in a large multinational, working in different clients, and dealing with different personalities in the office ;)
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
Above all, I see myself as a knowledge management consultant. I work with organizations to improve the way they access, share, retain and use knowledge. Very often it involves looking at their digital platforms. Sometimes I help clients choose a good platform, or spec it, or configure it…
This made me realize that it is very hard for companies to relate to what internal platforms can do for them. And 6 years ago, I created Social Now, designed to help organizations see what an “social intranet” could be and how it can become part of the way people work, day in, day out. The event has a very unique format as most presentations are based on a fictitious company I set up and which feels the common pains I see in my clients and used to see in the companies I worked for.
Besides I co-organized 4 editions of Cidadania 2.0, an event created to share practical examples of how social tools and open data can improve dialogue and civic participation. On the back of that, I maintain an online platform to help promote such projects - at the moment there are more than 100 projects, all in Portuguese.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
I love getting to know an organization, by listening and observing to the way people talk, the office layout, the people they bring to meetings. I love to be able to narrow the gap between business and IT speak. I love making things work and making a difference.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
I have worked as a consultant for quite a few years now, but I have also worked inside organizations - I was a Cultural Change Manager at Abbey National and Knowledge Network Manager at the NHS Modernization Agency, both in the UK. So, I know how things work on the inside: that gives me a better understanding and makes me totally respect my clients.
The fact that my mum was a social worker, has probably contributed to me being a good “listener”: that helps me to connect easily with people and work well with them.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Young women can start into tech exactly in the same way they start into any other career. The issue here is “wanting” to start into tech. But that is a much longer conversation :)
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.
I work from home. I go out for meetings and events. Working from home allows me to be very productive and reduce the stress of commuting. It also frees up time to be with my 2 kids when they get from school. That is priceless.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Probably my parents’ encouraging me to go a Computer Science degree :)
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Remember The Milk, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and email (the latter just because I have not yet figured out a way of replacing it).
Links that you want to share?
My company website - http://knowman.pt
Social Now: Getting Results from Enterprise Social Tools - http://socialnow.org
Cidadania 2.0 - http://cidadania20.com
Estudo de Gestão de Conhecimento em Portugal e Espanha - http://gc.knowman.pt
Anything else you want to share?
I have recently just joined the Managing Board of APDSI - Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade de Informação. Together with the other members, we will make sure Women in Tech is on the agenda. Does anyone cares to join us? ;)