Naidalid Varela, BAT RTD Services Manager

Name: Naidalid Varela
Status: RTD Services Manager for Southern Europe at BAT
birth date: July 11 Sons: one
Interests and Hobbies: Reading, yoga, running
Studies: Systems Engineer, Universidad de los Andes / Specialist in Telecommunications Management and Technology, Universidad Metropolitana de Caracas

Interview with Naidalyd Varela, RTD Services Manager for Southern Europe at BAT

How did you enter the ICT world?

I have always loved math and science. In high school I had close guidance on possible career options that suited my interests, either through vocational tests (where I was amazed to see that the results indicated areas in which I saw myself as a future professional and gave me confidence. in the decision-making process), and through the advice of my family, always positively reinforce my abilities in the field of science. In the last years of high school I was already clear that I wanted to study engineering, but I didn’t know which option to choose, so after a conversation with my brother, an electrical engineer, we decided that I would go into systems engineering because systems and technology fields A basic conversation to get here, about the promising future at that time (which continues to be in full swing of development more than ever).

What do you value most about your job?

Mobility in every sense: Every year you face new challenges that take you out of your comfort zone; Additionally, I value cultural, generational and gender diversity, but more importantly the diversity of thought we have in the company. Knowing that you face these challenges with the best professionals and that you learn new things every day. , is very motivating. That mobility has allowed me to pursue an international career through the opportunities presented, which have enriched me professionally and personally and for which I am very grateful but for which I have worked with great passion, dedication and commitment.

In your opinion, what is wrong so that women do not bet more on studying STEM careers?

Numerous factors, first social and cultural factors: the issue of prejudice and stereotypes about the female gender and although this is slowly changing, there is still a lot to be done. Awareness of these biases is essential for everyone, especially so that girls with vocations for STEM careers are not discouraged if they encounter them in their path. Second, personal factors such as self-knowledge, this is understanding yourself as a person: your own biases, interests, where you see yourself in the future, etc.

Family support is also essential: As a personal anecdote, during my second semester of engineering and after I didn’t do well in one subject, I had my doubts whether engineering was really my thing. When I arrived home with the news of my desire to change careers, my sister, already a business administration graduate, helped eliminate that possibility by stressing the importance of effort, discipline and perseverance to overcome obstacles and not give up. Another key conversation to get here.

Do you think there is a “glass ceiling” in ICT companies? What should be the solution?

Yes, of course it is. The first solution, especially aimed at girls starting their careers who cannot break the glass ceiling when they find it, is a solution based on personal empowerment. Here I would like to quote John Maxwell and his book Limitless: Unleash the Most of Your Ability, where he talks about the various limitations we find in our lives and the awareness that we must face them. What limits us most is what we impose on ourselves: seeking the approval of others or living/working in a restrictive environment.

However, the solution from a business point of view goes hand in hand with the priority given to resource management from a strategic point of view and how the company’s own culture allows the development and high performance of its employees with equality and inclusion policies and adequate stimulation. Opportunities for all.

Can a quota policy solve the problem?

Of course, the quota policy is part of the measures to close the gap. Having a quota, an objective that measures progress is essential and also shows companies’ interest in tackling this problem, which also directly affects them: the numerous benefits of having diverse teams and the presence of women in leadership teams.

More important than the quota is deciding what the actions will be to achieve and maintain it.

What difficulties did you face to get to where you are now?

In the beginning, the difficulties I faced can be classified within the barriers of frequent prejudice against women and which have been shown in various studies: I have always had the desire to develop professionally, but my confidence as a professional was probably low at the beginning. was low and I had a tendency to reduce my contribution. It took me time to understand that bias and while it doesn’t mean that my confidence and the way I show my contribution is currently at a perfect level, I know it’s something I have to strengthen. The opportunity to lead important projects and demonstrate results with each deliverable and each role has allowed me to build that confidence and project myself better in my career. In addition, finding other women who served as role models for me to navigate corporate complexity helped me overcome these difficulties and ensure that nothing is impossible when you have a plan and the discipline to execute it.

What do you value most about your company regarding the integration of women?

I am very proud to be a part of such a diverse workforce. Throughout my professional career I have had exceptional mentors, participated in programs such as ‘Women in Leadership’ and been part of diversity and inclusion committees in several of the countries I have lived in.

Did the studies you did help advance your current work?

Of course, they have been the basis for understanding which areas of IT to focus on according to my strengths and interests. However, not everything is left with formal university and postgraduate studies, moreover, the additional studies and specific certifications I have undertaken have helped me a lot and have allowed me to learn and keep updated with the latest trends in the field. Curiosity to continue learning is one of the fundamental aspects of strengthening our employability (the set of skills that enable us to find, keep or advance in a job).

If you had to advise a young person on what to study to get a stable job in the future, where would you guide them?

The first thing is to understand your interests, what fields you are passionate about and accordingly I would advise you to talk to people in that field to get more information that will help inform your decision making. I would also advise you to understand the labor market, using that personal insight, understand trends and areas of focus. Finally, it is also important to have a future vision of where you see yourself as a professional, paths are made and goals are adjusted as you walk, but a future vision helps maintain the aspiration and motivation to create and obtain job stability.

Where do you think the ICT sector is going? In your opinion, what are the trends that will really change society?

In the last two years and with the acceleration due to the pandemic, we have seen the digital transformation tangible: changes in the way we do our work or study (from home, or more recently the normalization of hybrid work) buying trends through e-commerce of all kinds of goods and services. Technology is present in every aspect of our daily life and the trend is upward.

Technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence come to change our everyday life. Companies will continue with digital transformation and topics like automation, hyper-automation of processes will come up more frequently in corporate parlance because of the business benefits this brings. UX improvements for both employees and consumers of services will also continue to grow through virtualization and augmented reality. Additionally, Metaverse’s growth complements increasingly disruptive and engaging user experiences.

It is clear that there are key issues that will need to be cleaned up a bit more, such as the management of personal data that is used to understand customer behavior and personalize services. Perhaps a paradigm shift will be required in the way this data is captured, with personalized services vs. The risk users see in sharing private data…

AI, automation, robotics, do you really believe that the future goes through people?

Of course it goes by people. AI, automation and robotics are there because they represent an improvement, an advantage to use. For me, the value behind the use of technology is paramount. In this sense, the value that (people) place on the use of technology determines the success of a particular solution. My counter question to reflect on would be: What values ​​motivate our society to determine how we use technology and its future?

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