Early years and where you came from?
I was born in Porto, but I grew up in a small town in the north-center region of Portugal. After some troubled years during high school because I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with my life and was accepted in 3 colleges for 3 totally different courses, I went for Management and Industrial Engineering. In case you are wondering about the other courses, they were Architecture and Microbiology and Genetics. I specialized in Lean Manufacturing and worked as a consultant for some time, but I ended up going to London School of Economics for an Entrepreneurship course. When I came back I started doing some design work, then future studies, Startup Weekends diversity initiatives in between, and in the past few years social media marketing.
P.S.: I just want to say that I am not confused, I am polymath.*
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
I wondered for years where was my tribe here in Portugal. I was away from Portugal for some time and when I came back I saw an article about Karina Martins da Costa who had just won Startup Weekend Lisbon 2010. I knew that it was it. When Startup Weekend Porto 2011 showed up, I just went and it was like I had found home. Startup Weekend Coimbra happened 2 weeks later and I had to be there and pitch my idea and then we won! \o/
I’m still very thankful to Inês Santos Silva, André Magalhães and Pedro Santos for organizing these events! They changed my life.
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
I am currently working as a freelance social media strategist and multimedia designer. Besides that I help with the organization of Rails Girls Summer of Code and coordinate Geekettes projects.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
I love that I get to do many different things and that my work has a purpose.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
Having jumped from Industrial Engineering to design and then marketing, dabbling a bit in future studies I hope to bring the bits of innovation that spark from mixing all of these fields together.
Over the past few years I have had health issues which lead me to studying biochemistry and molecular biology more thoroughly. I hope that soon I can use what I am learning and make a difference in health tech. Also, and this is really important, diversity and inclusion are matters that need to be discussed and worked more carefully in our country. Maybe I can help with this too.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Ok, so if you don’t mind, I am going to speak directly to them:
Hi there! Nice to meet you and welcome to tech! Please rest assured that there are no perfect ways to get into tech, nor perfect advice and especially no perfect timings. You deserve to be in tech as any other person and no, you don’t need to code, there are other ways to be involved in tech beyond coding. Use social media to your advantage, follow people and tweet at them them to be up to date with events and ask for help if necessary. One of the best things about tech is that people here are usually very nice and helpful. Whatever project you have in mind, go for it! I hope to meet you sometime in a tech event or read about something you did that made tech and the world even more awesome!
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.
I am the most boring person to answer this! I am a night owl and I work from home, so I basically wake up around 10, feed my cats or they will just keep following me throughout the house. I then make a green smoothie and nowadays I am trying to write an hour and meditate before work. I work and I cook and I work, and sometimes I leave the house for work, or I’ll just do errands. I get back, I cook, I clean, I work and I read books.
Hopefully, throughout the day, I made someone’s day better, including mine.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take care of yourself first. You can’t pour water from a cup that is empty, nor do people want to take from you what you can’t give. Be full!
In order to know what you can and can’t give, establish your boundaries, as limits should be the last resort. Limits come from a space where you were hurt or felt distressed, and you push back. Boundaries come from a place of clarity and serenity where you know what makes you happy and what does not, what helps you grow and be the best you can be.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Pinterest, instagram, dribbble, behance and youtube for work and to get inspired. Twitter for news. Facebook for getting in touch with the Portuguese startup scene. Slack for RGSoC, Geekettes, anything work related and other projects I am working on that I can’t talk about yet. Medium, scribd and my kindle to read. My infinite books for notes (I’m trying to be more eco-friendly) and 1⁄1 handmade notebooks for my thoughts.
Links that you want to share?
You can check my website here: www.anasofiapinho.com
More info about the diversity and inclusion initiatives I work with:
Anything else you want to share?
I wish I had known what a polymath was when I was growing up and especially when I had to start working. We as a society have been focusing too much on becoming experts in a certain field, but there are people like me who feel miserable doing that. Polymaths shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to learn more and do completely different things. If in any moment anything I have written sounded like I was bragging, I want to say that I was not. I am just trying to show how I am so that other people can be themselves too, whether they are polymaths or experts. Be yourself!