Early years and where you came from?
I’m from Vidago, a small town up north. I was very involved with my community and that grew on me the need to always be part of something. When I was 17, I came to Porto to study Industrial Engineering and Management at FEUP. It was not my calling or anything! I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do and tried to keep my options as open as I could. As soon as the classes started I thought about switching but a professor told me that after I graduated, I could do whatever I wanted. I had 5 years to prepare myself and to figure out what that was. That was the right choice for me and I’m glad I took his advice.
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
It was 2007 and I was looking for something to do, aside from college, that I could be passionate about. I decided to join CEdUP (Entrepreneurship Club of the University of Porto) just to check what they were doing. When I arrived to the first meeting I was challenged on the spot by 3 amazing guys to join the organisation of SPIE UP, the largest event about entrepreneurship in Portugal, to that date. That was the beginning of a journey that took me to organise several events, volunteer to different organizations, work in a few startups, co-found Startup Pirates and get to know great people that helped me trail my path until this day.
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
I’ve been working at NOS for 2 years. I started as a project manager in the Customer Experience team and I’m currently a product/project manager in the Services and Business Development area. We are focused on creating and developing innovative solutions for the mobile and convergent market.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
Making things happen - whether it’s a project or a product. And I love the people I work with for encouraging me to question the status quo and help me challenge it and change it.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
My genetics and background made me a “Hands on” and ”Let’s get things done” kind of person. Along with structure and empathy (either for the customers and colleagues), that really helps to make things happen in an environment that is constantly changing.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Don’t try to find all the answers and decide your future at once! Take a breath, be patient and travel the path of getting to know the tech ecosystem in Portugal and other countries - the books, the gatherings, the projects, the startups, the companies and most important the people behind all of that. If you’re committed to that path and work passionately, opportunities you never dreamt will present themselves in your mind or right in front of you.
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.
I don’t have a typical day and I love it. The only routine I have is to look at my calendar at the end of the day and guarantee that I’m prepared for the following days. Apart from that, depending on which projects I’m working on, my due dates and issues that come my way, I can spend a day jumping from meeting to meeting or just sitting in front of the computer preparing a presentation or reading reports and studies. I leave the office when I feel like I’ve done everything I needed to do that day and after that I try to go to the gym, hang out with my friends and family or catch up on my series.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To focus in the improvement of my strengths rather than my weaknesses.
Your strengths are the things that can make you stand out. If you only focus on improving your weaknesses you will be playing for average and forget what makes you special. Just make sure that your vulnerabilities don’t stand in the way of your growth and compromise your all performance and if they are, improve them enough until they don’t get in the way of your success- after that, you’ll be ready to excel your own expectations about yourself, as well as everyone else’s.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
OneNote and Airtable (and my notepad to quick notes and small tasks), WhatsApp, Messenger, Uber and Splitwise.