On the lighter side of things, we ask Maritza Hernández, CTO of Taxis Libres, what makes her tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
At the age of 15 I left my country and my family since it was my desire to strengthen my English, so I traveled to the US to finish my high school there. At 23, I wanted to start a business and I went to live in Mexico for five years to implement new technologies for the taxi sector. This brought great lessons to my life.
What made you think of a career in technology first?
At first, I really did not think about careers associated with technology, I was thinking of studying design, but I did pre-university training where the tests indicated that my profile matched with electronic engineering. I thought perhaps it was not for me, I was influenced by society, but I wanted to demonstrate to myself that I was capable of being an electronic engineer and I showed it to myself. I enjoyed studying and now I enjoy being an engineer and applying my skills to real solutions that benefit society.
What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?
1. Work as a team, constantly training, sharing knowledge and supporting other women as well as men since we all have abilities.
2. Constantly reinvent yourself, review what has not worked in the past, and try any new idea or solution as quickly as possible, counting on budget.
3. Promote integrations, automations and always have a plan B.
What do you think is the current hot technology topic of conversation?
Quantum computers and what this could do with Big Data. I think this will change our history.
How do you deal with stress and relax outside of the office?
My catalyst is my family, spending time with my family is what brings me back to earth, especially when situations are not easy. I also enjoy diving with my husband and racing.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
Sometimes I get carried away by shyness or by not believing in myself and stop doing things I wanted: I think we should trust ourselves because the worst that could happen is getting a ‘no’ for an answer, the rest is profit, even failure.
What do you currently identify as the main investment areas in your industry?
I see that there is a greater investment in digitization and Digital Transformation that are the first steps to continue advancing in other topics such as Artificial Intelligence and data analytics.
What are the specific challenges of the region when implementing new technologies in Latin America?
We have big challenges but I consider the following as critical:
- Promote gender equality in terms of professional opportunities and salary conditions
- Improve the offer of training in STEM areas for both women and men
- The inclusion of technology in remote places with scarce resources
What changes have you seen in your job role in the last year and how do you think they will develop in the next 12 months?
In this last year I have evidenced a greater willingness for companies to embark on Digital Transformation. I see that there is more confidence in technology. Digital Transformation really depends much more on people, on leaders in organizations, than on the same technology, and taking the step towards transformation I think will allow us to evolve in various segments of the industry.
What advice would you give someone aspiring to a C-level position in your industry?
Believe in yourself, clearly express what you want, work for it and be persistent.