Catarina Runa

Catarina Runa

Profile

Time in tech 12 Years
Current role Senior Specialist @ Deloitte Digital
Place of origin Torres Vedras

Tell us more about you:

Early years and where you came from?

I was born in 1987 in a small village of Torres Vedras and since young I’ve been a science lover. Physics is one of my passions and, even now, is part of my daily readings. Computers, books, videogames and science fiction were my hobbies and now is my work. My father, a tech man, was one of my main inspirations and, thanks to him, I learnt to be a full time hard worker and fearless person. 

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

When I left my master degree in biomedical engineering I jump off to a small research group at University of Porto where I learn most of the things about tech in Portugal. The group was called Porto Interactive Center and there I met wonderful persons that teach and mentor me into be the person I am now.  There I did my PhD in Computer Science,  worked with big companies and names from videogame’s industry and well known virtual reality experts in incredible European projects and was one of the founders of the startup Didimo (now run by Veronica Orvalho).

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

Currently, I’m the deputy leader of Center for Disruption (C4D) at Deloitte Digital. I’m coordinating the operations of this small group, making innovative solutions to disrupt the financial systems industry.  After finishing my PhD, I decided to accept this challenge. I usually like to make this jump between fields in science: I jumped between Imaging in Biomedical Engineering to Computer Vision, Graphics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality applied to Videogames and, now, I’m applying this knowledge to Finance and Insurance. Fintech has been a great discovery and a recent passion. 

What part of what you do, you love the most?

Like all the women here: technology is more than passion, it’s a way of living. Even at home, I always surround myself with technology. Though, recently I’ve been learning a lot regarding innovation strategy and management and I’m in love. It’s great to work with a high variety of cutting-edge technologies and brilliant minds.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

I really hope that my work and way of looking into tech inspires other woman in the field. We should be fearless and strong. Off course it’s hard and requires a lot of focus in our professional life, but one thing I can ensure: it’s amazing and we deserve it! 

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

Never fear the change and failure. Success is only the 1% of the time. It happens and it’s great, though, we have to fail and work really hard to have that 1%. My advice is: have fun even when you fail: learn, learn and learn. 

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Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.

I wake up really early: at 6am I jump from the bed to make some sports: 30min/45min to clear my mind. Then, at 8am I’m at Digital Studio looking into my e-mails and finishing things that do not includes team work. At 9am, when everyone arrives, I go drink coffee with my team and the day starts: brainstorms, meetings, operations, bureaucratic stuff (bah bah bah… but has to be done!), ideation, problem solving. At 7pm I’m leaving my office and walk home. Talk with Alexa and make dinner. Then I spend some time playing in my guitar or drinking tea with my boyfriend or friends. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do not spend energy thinking of what’s going to happen tomorrow. Focus in the present, because worry in advance does not take you into anywhere.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Voice chatbots and Virtual Reality headsets.

Links that you want to share?

Porto Interactive Center - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIUs4TG-WRI-2cYL3QtYwlQ

TEDx University of Porto - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzuteIlVHOM&t=270s