Founder Focus: Latinas in Tech!
As a closure for the LatinX Heritage Month of 2021, in this CFTV segment we will have a panel of 3 successful women who have founded their own tech companies, and that will be sharing stories about their journey and the challenges they faced!
All right, hello everybody. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. My name is Francisco, I'm based in London and I work at the customer success team at Cloudflare.
Today we're here as I'm also one of our global leads for Latinflare, which is our employee resource group at Cloudflare where we have the mission to first of all create a more diverse workplace, to build a sense of community and belonging for Latin employees and to connect with the communities where we work.
With no further ado, as a closure for the Latin Career Cashmantle 2021, I would like to introduce you to these three very successful women who have founded their own tech companies and who will be sharing their stories and adventures about their journeys and also the challenges that they have faced.
So can you please introduce yourself and tell us about what your company does?
Sure, I can get started if you like.
My name is Veronica de Santiago. I am the CEO and founder at Desanti.
We're a talent acquisition firm really specializing in IT and engineering with a strong focus in aerospace and government contracting and it's wonderful to be here today.
I can go next.
My name is Paula Martinez. I am based in Uruguay. I'm an electrical engineer and during my master's degree I met my co-founder and we founded Malvik.
Malvik is a consulting firm that specializes in machine learning.
We work with computer vision, natural language processing, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence in general.
Hi, I am Mara Rubalcaba.
I am co-founder and CEO of Software Guru. I never know how to describe my company.
I would say a software developer's agency but we don't do talent acquisition exactly.
We mostly do whatever the software developers need to improve, to work better and to get in touch with their main companies.
All right, thank you everyone so much for introducing yourselves and the way we would like to do this panel today is that I will be asking you some questions but as you are the entrepreneurs here if you also want to follow up on somebody's story by all means tag along and do the follow-up question that you may have in mind and also if we have anybody at our audience who would like to make any questions you can drop an email to livestudio at Cloudflare.tv and then we'll cover those questions later on in the segments.
So now that we have these introductions done, another thing I want to do is to thank you once again for being here.
It's really great to see that we have such a great panel in the segments.
So first of all, I would like to ask how far along are you on the startup adventure?
For instance, it could be how many years have you been around?
What were your milestones? How did you do with your customers initially and what are you doing today?
Anything that you would like to share to the audience would be fantastic.
I can go first.
We have been three years in business now. We have 20 employees and we have our headquarters here in Uruguay but we also have some employees working remote from Argentina.
We are working with US clients like Stanford University, Procter & Gamble and also with some very interesting Latin American companies like Payusha for example.
We also have received an investment in our company last year. We actually weren't looking for an investment but we got an offer for a very interesting software company here in Uruguay.
So we decided to accept that offer. We also received some funds from an Uruguayan agency that is like a research and innovation agency from Uruguay.
So yeah, I think that that's our journey for now. Thank you.
That's amazing. I'll probably follow up on some things there but yeah, I'll let Mara and Veronica as well to introduce their companies a bit further.
You want to go ahead Veronica?
Sure, not a problem. First of all, that's so impressive three years.
That's a lot accomplished. So kudos to you. That's pretty awesome.
I always say we but I started the company six years ago. I don't have a founder.
I started the company with my laptop and a LinkedIn account. I haven't received any funding.
I somewhat started looking for it and then I decided to just kind of take my time and do it this way but I'm the only founder.
It's been challenging but we've been very blessed because we support government contracting.
It's a little bit of a longer cycle but we've been very blessed to have contracts at an early stage.
I want to say our second year we got our first contract of supporting the Mars 2020 mission with JPL which is one of NASA Center.
So I'm pretty proud of that.
We've been a client since then. We also support some other large aerospace companies such as Raytheon, Mantec and a few others that are in cybersecurity and also aerospace along with some local agencies.
So we haven't been in business for that long.
Unfortunately, we were pretty affected by COVID.
Obviously, lots of companies don't hire and cut back on budget so that really affected us but we're surviving and we're looking forward to the future.
Six years, we have 14 employees.
Some internally, some with our clients but excited because there's a lot of activity finally and starting to grow again.
First, I have to let you know that I get pretty excited when I meet women that have achieved those accomplishments and these kind of companies.
My company has 18 years now.
So that is much. And my co-founder is my husband.
So it's a very strange relationship let's say. But we know how and some reason, I mean some way we know how to handle things and to, I don't know, give to the company whatever we do better.
Since we started as a magazine in Spanish for software developers but since we started, we knew that the magazine was not a good business.
The good business is what you can do around the magazine, around the contact database and always focusing on what the software developers need.
Actually, I am a software developer and that's my career. And my husband's too.
So we are a bunch of software developers like creating a magazine and then we move to the conferences, to the events and now we do streamings, of course, online events, hackathons, on-site events and everything that you can imagine that really helps the software developers to try to move them or actually not move them, move the content and the knowledge that is available all over the world and mainly take that to the Latin market.
Well, we started like focusing on Latin market but right now we are doing like global events and so we pretty much cover audience all over the world in actually different languages so that's also a really big challenge.
That's amazing. Yeah, it's very impressive to hear from the three of you and everything you have achieved.
Yeah, I can't really express myself that well but the three of you have done amazing things for the looks of it and I'm really curious to know even further and you mentioned some customer names.
For instance, Pablo mentioned Stanford, Veronica mentioned NASA and Mara for you with the magazine must have been a bit different.
But I'm curious to know, how did you get your first customers?
What kind of challenges did you face when you first started?
Like how did you start convincing people like, hey, would you like to talk to me?
Is there any particular challenge that you faced there? I can get started.
Gosh, lots of lunches, lots of networking events, lots of phone calls, lots of council meetings and lots of persistence and much results.
I think as far as for me, it was a little like everybody else, a little bit challenging.
You go into meetings and you introduce yourself as the CEO and a lot of the times, now it's a little bit different, I think.
But at the beginning, there was a lot of questioning around it.
Well, who's your founder or who's your partner or where's the CEO?
It was a little bit interesting and in government contracting, just like in other industries, you can have the credibility, you can do the job.
But if you don't have a relationship, it's extremely, extremely hard to get that contract.
So building that relationship and building the credibility, especially because you're so new, was key.
There's obviously a lot of hard work around it. But I just focus on building that credibility and building a strong connection, a strong network, a lot of trust and credibility behind it to be able to get that one first contract.
That's really what it took for our first contract.
I can relate with what Veronica was telling us, actually.
It's funny because our first clients, we weren't even planning to find our first client because we started teaching courses here in Montevideo, machine learning courses, because we saw the opportunity, because there weren't these practical courses about this technology here in Uruguay back then.
We started to do this because we thought, well, okay, if we teach people, these are going to be some developers that are interested in working with machine learning, so we can build a team and we can get to know people that can, in the future, work with us.
But actually, we didn't find anyone who wanted to work with us, but we did find our first clients.
So, I think, yeah, it was very good for us because we found our very first clients that way.
I think that when you have some success cases and some people that can introduce you to another one, and you think that the networking, it's very important to build relationships and really work on that, really try to build a network and that kind of stuff.
I think that that way we started to find clients and that kind of stuff.
Also, I think that we're working a lot with the US, the UK, with clients from there.
I think that COVID and all this remote scenario, we are all involved, actually helped us because all the providers were working remote.
So, I think that the distance from Uruguay to the US actually was not so big because, yeah, we were all remote.
So, everyone was used to having all the meetings by Zoom or whatever.
So, I think that helped us also.
Well, I can share that our first clients were huge software development companies like Microsoft or IBM.
When we showed them the idea, the project of the magazine of organizing these neutral events, because in that time they were only branded events.
So, they were like, yes, we need that. We need a neutral media where we can all talk and share this knowledge with the software developers.
So, I think we were lucky in that way, and I also want to share that we got to these clients because we were working.
I was working, well, I can't remember if both or only me, in a Mexican company, and I was a project manager giving software development classes, and I talked with the owner.
He was my friend, and when I told him about the project, the first thing that he asked me was, how are you going to create a company?
You don't have, like Veronica said, what is a CFO? What is a CEO? I mean, what do you know about creating companies?
And I was like, well, I might not know, but I am a software developer, and I know what my audience needs.
So, based on that, we have created everything.
You know, always, I mean, we are what the audience is.
We are trying to solve the needs and to sell something, and everything from the creativity, the image that we use in the magazine, all that we do is based on that.
So, I think that is really our added value and what we can provide because probably any agency can organize an event or any company can.
I don't know. For example, one of the things that we do is we do a salary survey focused on information technology, and we do an accreditation for companies, and we call it Best Place to Code, and so, based on that and getting these needs and letting the developers talk by themselves, we can achieve that, and something also very important to share is that we are not a huge company.
We are like fifteen, twenty employees. I don't know. Some of my projects, some half-time.
We are located in different places, most of them in Mexico City.
That's where we started, and the thing is that we work with a lot of collaborations, so for every content, for every event, all the conferences, we work with experts.
For example, we organize a data science event and we invite the data science gurus that we know, so we are not the gurus of anything, and we don't want to say that.
We invited people and we collaborate with people that are really the experts in different topics, so that's also the key, so I can tell you that we have a huge database of contacts, like readers and followers, but also a huge database of participants, collaborators, speakers, editors, writers.
Well, I don't know, and this has been a huge experience and a huge opportunity also for all the different developers who want to collaborate and participate in different ways, and I can tell you later how we have the women in tech here.
Yes, definitely. Thank you again for sharing all of those stories.
I love them, and actually, yes, there were two questions I wanted to follow up with.
One is related to geographies.
The other one is about being women in tech and women in business. We can start with women in tech, as that's the main topic for today's panel, so given that there currently aren't as many women in the IT industry, actually today I think there are slightly more than a few years ago, but still, there is a big gap.
What challenges have you faced for being a woman or even from being a Latin person with Latin roots, and how do you see the industry shifting there?
I can start.
I think that I have been very lucky, actually, because I always have my family support and friends, and they have supported me to pursue a technical career, actually, and also later, a few years ago, to pursue an entrepreneurial journey, actually, so I really feel really lucky because of that.
Of course, at my university, for example, or even in the tech ecosystem here in Uruguay, there are way less women than men.
I think that, yeah, you can kind of get used to that, that we are less women than men, but I think that the culture is starting to change, and we are seeing that more and more women are pursuing this type of careers, and I also feel very lucky because in the company I was working previous to starting, to founding Marvic, there were a lot of women in leadership positions.
Actually, more than 50% of leadership roles were filled by women, so I know that it's a rare case.
It's not the normal, actually, but I think that was actually great, and I had the opportunity to be in a leadership position and gain that experience and that kind of exposure to other type of responsibilities, and I think that, yeah, we need to push forward that and try to generate that opportunities for other women.
I really want to do that with my company, actually, and I'm trying to hire more women.
It's not easy because you need to find the candidate, the women candidate to fill the roles, and it's not easy because there are way less women than men, but I think that, yeah, that something is starting to change.
We need to support that and, yeah, encourage other girls to pursue this type of careers.
Thank you so much for sharing that.
Yeah, I'm curious that also, yeah, sorry, I have a few more follow-up questions for that, that I will ask the three of you, but, yeah, Veronica Romero, if you also would like to share your experience there.
You have amazing background, Paula.
Well, interesting enough, I am not an engineer, and I don't have, I didn't have a technical background before starting my company, so, you know, I was in staffing.
I've been in staffing for the last, you know, over 15 years, and a few years before starting the company, a recruiter reached out to me and said exactly that, hey, we need more women in IT, in technology.
Why don't you transition into tech? I was, you know, supporting companies, but more on the administrative side and general labor, and, you know, for two years, I kept saying, no, I'm not a technical person.
I don't have a technical background, and finally, one day, I said, wait, why?
If someone else is believing in me that doesn't even know me, knows a little bit about my background, why wouldn't I transition into IT?
And as a salesperson, I was a salesperson, right? It was kind of changing that mentality and going into tech, and, I mean, something that I always admire, so I transitioned into tech, and I loved it.
I loved it. I saw that, I saw it as a challenge, the fact that there wasn't a lot of Latinos, and also especially women in our industry.
I started to, you know, before my company, I was running a government program for an IT firm, and it was very interesting.
It was very interesting because they never really wanted to speak with me.
You know, they were okay with me being, having the first phone call, introducing, you know, myself and the company, but then they wanted to speak to a more technical person, and they always asked for the men or the male person, and when I decided to start my company, I honestly just saw it as a challenge, and I thought we need more women in tech.
We need more Latinos in tech, and why can't I do it? And that's the reason why I really started the company.
So, interesting, right? People will ask me for my technical background, my technical degree.
I don't. You know, I'm an entrepreneur.
I'm an entrepreneur that just believes the sky is the limit, and we don't have to have a technical background to be able to do what we love, right?
Running my business has brought in, I mean, so many challenges, but the technical piece hasn't, I haven't really seen it so much as a technical challenge.
Just a little bit, but you surround with people that are, you know, that are, we always say that are smarter than you or that are more technical than you, and now it's not so much of a challenge.
At the beginning, yes, perhaps a little bit of my, maybe a little bit of that insecurity, right?
That, hey, I don't have a technical background, and I'm starting a technical company.
Now, you know, I don't see it as a challenge.
Things are definitely changing, even five years from now. It's a little bit different.
We see a lot more Latinos in women in technology. Very much different, but I love it.
I love diversity within my company. We try to also always push for women and Latinos.
We have right now, I'd say probably 40, 60, 40 percent women.
We try to hire as many women as possible. When our recruiters are doing hiring for our clients, we really, really try to advocate for women.
If they don't meet all the qualifications, then, you know, maybe they meet three or four out of five.
We still try to really advocate for them, and I think there's a lot more awareness around that as well, which is great to hear.
Things have changed a little bit, right, with the pandemic.
A lot of people, a lot of women decided to kind of quit their jobs and perhaps stay home, take care of the family, but, you know, there's so many jobs also remote that hopefully that will, you know, continue to change, but, yeah, starting the company, not having a strong technical background was a bit of a challenge, but I love challenges, and I think we all do.
I think that's why we're in business.
We love to be challenged, and, yeah, I love being in tech.
I love the fact that you have 40 percent women in your company. It's awesome.
Thank you. Yeah, kudos for that. Well, in my case, it was a personal challenge to be a woman.
Of course, since the university, we were three in the classroom, and I don't think those things have changed a lot, but, for example, I can remember when meeting with some clients, and if I was the only woman in the meeting, for example, or the only woman from my team, they never thought that I was the decision-taker, you know, so they were like, they didn't even look at me.
It was awful. I'm like, hey, I'm here.
Yes, whatever we are doing, I'm taking the decision. Hey, you know, so I think it was a big challenge, and I had to figure out how to change that perception, but, I mean, that is tired, because we, as a woman, we have to deal with that.
We have to fight with that all the time, and really, in these 18 years, it's been a challenge all the time, so what I'm trying to do is, of course, at some point, we were like, hey, we need more women, and we started, and we realized about this when we organized the first event focused only for women in IT in Mexico, and this was a request in that time by Intel, who was our client, and after we had this event, we were like, oh my gosh.
I mean, there is a huge opportunity there for helping these women, and including them in the industry will be a key factor, so after that event, it opened our eyes, and we, after a couple of events requested by Intel, we decided to continue with the event and include more sponsors and more partners, and it became a very, I would say, a very expected event for all the women in tech that we can reach, and now that we can have these events online, we can include even more, but actually, before COVID time, we started doing the on -site events and streaming the events, so we were able to reach women all the way, and our stopper was the venue size for the on-site participants.
It was also, I mean, always a stopper, but I mean, if I could have like a thousand venues, I'm sure that we could fill that, and it is very exciting.
After that, we decided to create the initiative that not only organizes the events for women, so we are also worried about having women in other events that we organize, and that is a huge challenge, and this is not only for the Latin market.
This is for global events.
I mean, we organize an event and we are always suffering of we only have two women speakers.
What are we going to do? So, we have to invite them directly.
We have to convince them to be there, and it's a huge, huge challenge, and a lot of work, but at the end, I think it works, and I love all the speakers and all the sessions that I have attended that are held by women.
They are great. Sorry, guys, but you have to accept that. No, thank you for sharing.
I was going to say here you may have two amazing speakers as well, Paula. Yes, I'm already, yeah, I know.
No, no pressure, and sorry for putting you all on the spot, but yeah, why not?
That could be something really good, and actually, the three of you touch base on something that is really interesting about trying to hire more women or to attract more women as well, and also, Veronica mentioned diversity.
At Cloudflare, something that we do is to have a D&I strategy, so diversity, equity, and inclusion, and for that, every single hiring manager has to set annual goals, and how are they going to achieve it?
One of the ways or strategies that can be adopted, for instance, is to say whenever you have an open role that you would interview at least five to ten women or somebody with another diverse background before you actually decide for a candidate.
It doesn't mean that you would necessarily hire a woman, maybe it's a man, because maybe there's a better fit that could be, but before you actually decide on a man, because there are more men in the industry, you will interview five to ten people from a specific background, so I'm curious to know, is there any similar strategy that either of you are applying or any tips that you would like to share?
I can start.
So it is, you know, obviously what we do for a living is hiring. I do have to say that it's a little bit challenging at times, right, because a lot of the times, unfortunately, there's not a lot of women out there.
We try to apply some of the same concept.
Times, it's a little bit challenging, right, with our clients when we're on the deadline and we need to present good talent and good technical talent, especially say, you know, one of the clients, as I mentioned, that we support is JPL.
They're big advocates on diversity as well, but the technical background is so key, right, and unfortunately, not a lot of women are in space, which ironically enough, yesterday, your company had a streaming on women in aerospace, which was amazing.
I listened to it and already contacted all three ladies.
Anyway, but you know, we just need more women. So internally, what we do, I'm also a veteran, so and I advocate for veterans.
So one of the things that my team knows is that if we see a woman or we see a veteran, you know, applying for a position or someone that we're considering, that's a priority for us.
We try to go the extra mile.
We're not discriminating against men, but we try to do everything to just really help that process.
The other thing sometimes with the resumes, you know, sometimes veterans and I know, you know, we're talking about a little bit more on the Latina side, but even with veterans, they get out of the military and not many people advocate for them.
They have amazing backgrounds and they have amazing experience that they gain in the military, but sometimes they don't know how to transition it into paper.
So we try to focus on on really uncovering those skill sets that maybe others are not seeing for women and for veterans.
So that's that's how we try to to really do our advocacy when it comes to diversity, really women and women, Latinos and veterans.
I never heard that before. Yeah. Thank you. I think that it's something that I'm personally involved and concerned about how I'm going to hire more women, actually.
It's hard, as Veronica said, because there aren't as many women as men.
They are technically qualified and also you have, yeah, client pressures to fill some positions or whatever.
So it's not easy. It's not always easy. I am thinking about like setting, for example, a percent, yeah, like a gold percentage of women in the team, for example, for the following months.
And also we are exploring and contacting like different women groups, tech women groups here in Uruguay or in Argentina or whatever in LATAM.
So we can work with them and maybe find people that want to be involved in machine learning, or maybe there are some women that are working in tech but want to transition to machine learning and we can help them to do that.
So, yeah, we are like looking for strategies and trying to figure out what is going to work best for us.
But, yeah, it's a topic that I I personally care about and, yeah, I'm trying to push that, yeah, move forward that in my company.
Well, I want to share two things and I want to step back a little bit.
I just want to mention why do we need diverse teams and focus on that.
And I would say a diverse team not only adds, but it multiplies.
So to have women, you have different way of thinking.
And to have Latins, it's also different. So it is much more diverse.
And what I want to recommend to the companies that are looking for women, and it's like an open mistake that I've seen, is not to accept that the women have different needs.
For example, they might need to do more home office. They might need to get out because you have to run to the school, or you have to take your son to the doctor, or you just feel tired because you're on your days and you cannot go to the office.
So those are really real needs that the women have. And if the companies accept that and they think in that way, they will have more women who want to work with them.
For example, I have friends who are very capable project managers, but they have a small kid.
So they are looking for a part -time job or a flexible job who allows them to deliver and to take care of their house and their kids.
And if they don't find those opportunities, they won't apply to those jobs, even if they are really capable.
I mean, in these situations, probably those needs are more important for women than the salary.
To have those benefits, it's in some cases, in a lot of cases, more important.
Yeah, thank you all for sharing that.
And also having diversity. There are many studies that show that with more diversity, as you have more perspectives, companies actually grow even further away.
So from a business perspective, it's also beneficial there, although some people still do not get to see that.
And something that really on what Mara was saying there, something that companies should definitely look into is maternity leave and paternity leave.
Because if somebody has a baby, I mean, if the father can also take some extra days there, they can also support their family further.
I mean, it's a team job. Well, job. You don't get really paid, at least not with money for that.
But yeah, revising maternity leaves and paternity policies is really important for that matter.
So thank you for sharing that.
And something I wanted to follow up on, something that Mara mentioned in the previous question, you were saying that sometimes it was very challenging to say, hey, I'm here.
I'm the decision maker. Yeah, I want to have a say on this.
So I'm curious, how does that look like for you today? Maybe how did it look like before?
And do you have any particular tips that you would like to share with any other women or actually anybody from the audience so that they can implement other strategies to be heard?
Well, I can start.
At the beginning, this was a world coming that I wasn't expecting, you know.
So it was really confusing for me. And it also made me think and question myself, you know, is this the right position for me, for women?
And now working in global projects, is this for me to be Latin, Latin women here?
But now that I know that may happen, I know what to do and how to respond.
And I know I have to, you know, this is going to be happening for a while.
Sadly, I don't expect this to change tomorrow.
We are giving good steps, but I think there is a lot, a lot needs to be done for accepting, you know, women in front of companies or just women.
Blacking women is more challenging. So now what I do is I just know that it may happen.
So it doesn't scare me anymore. I just need, I just know that I need to show what I can do.
And that's it. Um, I can go next.
Yeah, you know, at the beginning was there was a lot of self -doubt.
Um, there was a lot of self-doubt, uh, you know, questions as is, you know, am I good enough to be CEO?
Am I good enough to be in tech? Am I good enough to have my own company?
Be an entrepreneur. Um, because people questioned it, um, you know, especially as I mentioned earlier, right.
When going into very technical meetings with some executives, um, that have many years experience and, uh, you know, they, they would do at the beginning, they would do the same thing that Mara, you know, just mentioned, they would question, they would ask me who the decision maker maker was or who my partner was, um, on the technical side or whatnot.
Um, so it was, it was challenging and because you're starting out, you know, there's a lot of self-doubt, right.
Um, there's questioning, um, but things have changed.
Um, there's, you know, I, I feel a little bit, a lot more secure now than I did when I started the company, right.
Um, I, it took me some time to be able to embrace, uh, being an entrepreneur and embrace being the owner of my company and the CEO.
It took a little bit of time. It took some time and it took lots of classes and lots of readings and, and, uh, lots of meditating.
Um, but I was embarrassed to say that I was CEO.
Um, it just, I, I, you know, I, I'm not sure why, I don't know if it's culturally, um, but it was, it was a bit of a challenge at the beginning.
Um, and now I embrace it.
You know, I, I love being an entrepreneur. I love having my company.
I love being in tech. I love, love, love being a Latina in tech. I have to tell you.
Um, so yeah, definitely, um, very challenging at the beginning, but I think the most important thing, um, is that we believe in ourselves, that we believe in ourselves, that we believe in our mission, that, um, you know, we're powerful.
Women are powerful. Everyone is powerful, but, you know, we can really achieve anything that we want to achieve.
Um, and, uh, once we have the confidence, you know, we're Latinas, right.
With a lot of passion and no one says no to us. Right.
And if they say no to us, we keep going. So, um, I personally took that approach, right.
Uh, very passionate about what I wanted to do and, and, uh, and I just wanted to keep going.
Um, so yeah, things have changed, but it was definitely a little bit challenging at the beginning.
I'm not going to say that it's not challenging now.
It is still a challenge. Uh, but you know, it's been a little bit of years now and things are, are a little bit more diverse.
Now we see a lot of more women.
So, um, makes things a little bit more comfortable or easier. That's awesome, Veronica and Mara.
Uh, I don't know if there is too much left to say, but, um, I'm aware that, um, yeah, some people might be surprised when they found out that, that I am the founder of my company or that I am a CEO or that I am tech or, yeah, whatever, or making decisions actually.
But, um, yeah, I think you need to embrace it and, and you need to build and, and, and to build your confidence and trust in yourself.
And it's not, uh, something that, uh, you build one day to the other.
Uh, I think that it's a process you need to, yeah, to realize that to, to, yeah, be grateful and, and, and to recognize, uh, what you achieve actually, I think that that's, it's very important.
Um, yeah, and yeah, just embrace it and pick up for yourself actually sometimes.
Thank you all so much for, for your answers.
Um, it's really great to hear from, uh, your different experiences there.
Um, something I would like to cover next as well as a different challenge. Uh, it's about the geographical location.
Uh, Paola, you're located in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Mara, you said that you started, you are in Austin today, but you mentioned that you started in Mexico.
Um, Veronica, uh, you are in Los Angeles. I'm not really sure if that's where you started as well with your company, but I'm curious to know if there were any intrinsic challenges that you based on your, um, that you faced based on your geographies.
Um, I, I can start, uh, for sure. Um, Uruguay, it's a very small country, uh, between Argentina and Brazil.
And we have 3.5 million, our population is 3.5 million people.
So, uh, it's a very small market. So when you start a company based in Uruguay, you need to, uh, yeah, you need to start the company, uh, thinking about, uh, uh, selling and, and, and, and, and exporting services or whatever you're building.
Uh, so I think that that might, we, we had that mindset right from the beginning.
Uh, I think that helped us a lot, uh, to start looking outside our country, uh, right from the beginning.
And you have some challenges because your network in general is where you live on, where you started and, and that kind of stuff.
So, uh, I think you have, uh, some challenges, but also, uh, I think, uh, we are in tech and the tech people in Uruguay and in Argentina and in LATAM, it's really good.
It's, uh, I think we have really good professionals.
Um, um, yeah, and we're, we're up to the challenge and we can sell services to the US or whatever, or whatever you want to do it.
So I think it's challenging, but, uh, I think we have very good conditions to, uh, export services, for example, and being such a small market, it's like it, uh, yeah, you need to do it.
Uh, you can, you can survive otherwise. So, uh, yeah, so yeah. Yeah.
Uh, for us, my gosh, no, we tap into talent all over the world. Really. If the client wants, you know, if we're going to have, um, candidates work remote, it doesn't really matter where they are, which is the beauty of it now.
It, it, it really had all has opened the doors, you know, COVID, um, changed things a lot.
Um, um, and it really did open some doors for a lot of companies.
Obviously it's been a lot of challenges, right.
But, but, um, I think it really opened our eyes, um, globally.
And, uh, yeah, we, you know, if, if the client needs talent locally, we focus on that.
But if they're open to, uh, remote employees, then it doesn't really matter where they're located anywhere in the world, they can be located, which is the beauty of it.
Not anywhere, literally, but pretty much as long as they have the conditions to work right.
Um, from a remote location. So it's actually a beautiful thing, um, that we can, you know, we can tap into that talent internationally.
Well, for us, uh, I work here at the U S before starting the company, and then the company started at Mexico city because we are, we're living there.
And also because we wanted to create a company that helped other Mexicans and other Latinos, you know, to, to get better and create employ employments.
And for some, uh, personal reasons, and also because we wanted to, you know, work more globally and more closer to the, to the U S companies.
That was the, the, the first market that we were wanting to have.
We moved to Austin, Texas, and we've been here for like 10 years.
And what I can say is when we started, uh, with the events, we had to invite a speakers from all over the world to go to Mexico.
And as, as we, um, as the gears passed, we were able to create also our own speakers, you know, and I'm really proud of that.
I mean, I don't want to say my speakers. I want to say, uh, Latino speakers who can give very good content and then, uh, now working globally.
It's been also a very good opportunity, you know, to put the Latin and the Hispanic market there, you know, in, in the, uh, in the picture.
And first we can, uh, give the example that we can provide like, uh, how you say, um, first, first, uh, or global, uh, knowledge and work that can be compared to anyone.
And also we can provide this, uh, diversity and different, uh, uh, mind, uh, thinking, um, different way of seeing the things.
It's a very good, uh, opportunity for improving not only the events, but all the way that, uh, other communities and other works work around the world.
We mainly work with open source projects. So that also give us the opportunity to work with people from all different world and also to put the Latin American on the stage, you know, so we, we want to take that opportunity and we're going to continue doing that as long as we can.
I mean, yeah, that's continue working on that and continue promoting the Latin developers and early, uh, also with women, of course.
That's, that's fantastic. Uh, thank you again for, for sharing all of that and being mindful of time as we have a bit less than four minutes left, um, to wrap up, I have one last question for everybody in a sentence, uh, or maybe two, um, do you have any recommendation for the audience in terms of any book, movie, or, um, TV show, anything that help you with your, um, career or business?
And the other thing is if you had to say one or two sentences to somebody who is looking, especially a woman or can be a Latina, um, looking into getting into the tech world or business world, any advice, I know one sentence of us will be very hard, but anything you would like to, to hear from that perspective?
Uh, well, I will recommend to attend to, uh, women in tech events.
If you are not in tech, if you want to get into, uh, this industry and, uh, you will be welcome.
It's a huge experience and you will learn a lot and you will feel safe and you will, like, feel secure for not only being at other events, but in your work.
So you will be empowered, um, you will gain so much and we have our event, but it's only Spanish going on in November and I'm very excited about that, that event, sorry.
You know, if I can share, there's a book that I read, uh, probably two and a half years into, um, having my company, uh, called True North by Bill George.
And basically it's, um, I think it's discovered your authentic self.
Um, and it took me through my journey, um, and really helped me really discover who I was really, who I really am and embrace who I am and my background.
I would highly recommend that book if you're in leadership or, um, not necessarily starting a company, but you're on leadership.
And the other thing that I would recommend is LinkedIn.
You know, LinkedIn has really made miracles happen for me.
Um, network, if you want to go into tech and you don't know where to start, start connecting with other women in tech, right.
Start sending out messages, introducing yourself, share to the world, what you want to do and go for it, be passionate about it.
And sky's the limit. Um, you know, there's so much information out there.
There's so many organizations, um, you know, tap into them.
And if one doesn't work for you, continue going and continue searching for what's going to help you and motivate you to get to your, where you want to go.
But we need women in tech.
Peace out. Paula, sorry, no pressure, but they're 45 seconds.
Okay. Yeah. In one, in one sentence, uh, yeah, I will also recommend to network, to attend events, to get to know other women and other people in tech that, uh, they're going to help you.
And also if you are afraid of feeling maybe lonely or whatever, uh, in tech, find a mentor, uh, in your family, in your work, in your, at your university, I don't know, wherever you can.
I think that, uh, maybe, yeah, it's going to be very helpful.
Brilliant. Those are great recommendations.
So thank you for sharing that as well. And we only have 10 seconds left.
So I wanted to thank you once more for being here. It's been a pleasure talking to you and getting to know a bit more about your adventures and challenges.
Have a nice day.
Thank you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.