Early years and where you came from?
Although my family was all from Porto, I was born in Lisbon and I’ve always been an extreme fanatic of my city. I’ve ended up living abroad in New York, Budapest, Brussels and even Jaipur but I just decided Lisbon is where I feel more in contact with myself and where it makes sense for me to be full-time.
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
I had just landed from India where I had been working at an NGO in Jaipur as a volunteer for 3 months, when I suddenly get an e-mail from someone from Microsoft whom I had met some months before at an AIESEC conference. This person was Vitor Santos who later ended up being my boss and, until today, my life and work mentor. At that AIESEC conference he had asked a group of around 60 people to write down why we would never work at Microsoft. I wrote an entire sheet. Handed it in to him. Left to India 2 weeks later. Months later Vitor’s e-mail said: “Why wouldn’t you work at Microsoft? Can you please come to a meeting with me?”. I did. Reluctantly.
The position offered was to be a BizSpark consultant – acting as an evangelist, talking about Microsoft technology to startups, being present at events, building bridges, and being a friendly Microsoft face. That 1 year at Microsoft was one of the best experiences in my life. I learnt and grew so much as a professional. Would not change it for anything. After 1 year I was accepted to be a Trainee at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC. But I would eventually come back to tech…
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
After having spent years abroad I ended up coming back to Lisbon. João Vasques, currently at TalkDesk, introduced me to Uniplaces. The startup tech scene was just starting to boost in Portugal and being in the centre of it all, right in the beginning, gave me the opportunity to meet the right people and build the right relationships.
Later on, I joined Beta-i and I am now at StartUP Portugal. I have gone from multinational to startup to incubator/accelerator to the government. All linked to entrepreneurship and startups. This gives me an entire overview of the community and the size of my network is constantly growing incredibly. This takes me to what I do… I am the friendly face, the community person, the one building bridges and relationships online and offline. I am currently responsible for the social media strategy at StartUP Portugal as well as being a point of contact for the community, being present at events, keeping an eye open for growing startups and working as a key account manager to some of our partners and stakeholders.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
Connecting people with each other so that great businesses and partnerships can flourish from out of that. I am fascinated and obsessed about getting people’s stories out to the World, focusing a spotlight on top of what absolutely has to be seen by the community. This takes me to my natural way of building partnerships. To build partnerships inside any organisation you need to transmit empathy and trust. You have to be trustworthy and you definitely should have the ability to bring a smile to every agreement. That’s what moves me. The ability to continue to bring the “human” side of things to the tech world. Not everything is possible to be substituted with technology.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
Having studied at a bi-lingual school since 3 helped me on developing a sense of adapting to several cultures and types of people. Also having grown-up in a women’s family and having all these “women” instincts working all the time! That realllllly helps…
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Connect. Be present (in person) at events. Keep updated with news feeds about tech. Have a super Linked In profile and don’t be afraid to set appointments with top influencers just to pick their brain and talk. Build your network. Create a movement about Women In Tech within your community, or simply about women who work and are powerful, while they take care of their kids and animals and husband at the same time! Create a women movement. In your city, at your company, within your spanish class. Whatever. Just move. Don’t settle. Bring out your “guy side”.
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.
From 8 am to 9 am I’m usually either having a long breakfast while reading the news or at the gym (it’s been quite an experience to teach myself about the importance of working out…not for the body, but for the mind). From 9.30 am to 7.30 pm I’m with an amazing team at the basement of the Ministry of Economy, making my Portugal a more open and international one. In the evening I usually take some time to work on my side project Discover Walks Lisbon (Tours in Lisbon. I’ve expanded it from Paris to Lisbon back in 2012 and manage a team of 8 guides).
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“You are not special.“
Which translates to: if you want something, you better work for it. Magic doesn’t happen by itself. You have to create it. Work for it. Sweat for it. Strive to be the best version of yourself every-single-freaking-day. Is it tiring? Yep. No one said it would be easy.
I’ve been working since I’m 16 years-old just because I wanted to be independent. I worked and studied since then, until today. My parents could pay for my stuff but I wanted to build my own independence. Working should be something you love to do, naturally.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Oh…I’m definetely a gadget girl. Can’t live without my Fitbit, my iPhone (I love my iPhone), my Mac.
Regarding Apss: Clue, Flying Calmly, Cabify, Pinterest, Buffer, LinkedIn (big one), and Google News!
Links that you want to share?
Anything else you want to share?
Stop being princesses. Be WW – Women Warriors.