Experiences

Interview with Cristina Suarez, Pursuit Manager at SENER in the USA, to mark International Women's Day

On International Women's Day, we spoke with Pursuit Manager at SENER in the USA.

From international tax law to growing an international business. Cristina, as SENER's Pursuit Manager in the United States, you have always been closely associated with the infrastructure sector and have been involved in preparing more than 30 tenders in the country. What appeals to you about the sector?

The science-technology sector has several requirements that are very important to me professionally. First, it's a sector that has a very positive impact on society; for example, in the case of infrastructure, it improves people's living conditions and promotes equality. Second, it is a professional environment with a high work ethic where you have a great chance to shine, and that really motivates me. Third, the work environment that exists around innovation instills creativity and freedom, which also pervades the area of business development, which requires constant engagement with technical staff and is something I enjoy enormously in my everyday work.

It's been shown that diverse and inclusive work teams get the most out of each individual's personal skills, foster innovation and are beneficial to project development. From your point of view, do we need structural changes to how work is organized to make sure we can all, regardless of age or gender, contribute and work as a team?

Yes, 100%. It's unrealistic to think that continuing to do business as usual will lead to different results.

Change, both individually and as a group, requires a lot of effort. You have to first tear down so you can then build back up. It's a complex process and there's bound to be fear and resistance, but I think it's very healthy to be able to express them.

We're used to going against the tide and having to prove our worth before we are even offered a chance. Breaking that pattern takes a conscious effort on everyone's part. Cristina Suarez, Pursuit Manager at SENER in the USA

In my opinion, we need to promote better communication in both meetings and e-mails. Language has a huge impact on a conscious and subconscious level. It's far too common for the one who talks the loudest or who feels most comfortable in the spotlight at meetings to be personally given the credit for the work of an entire team. For example, by using the pronoun "I" instead of "us." I also think that organizations should be proactive in standing up for women and minorities by giving them access to opportunities, giving them a voice in meetings, asking for their opinion, and by recognizing their efforts. It's a difficult change for everyone, including women and minorities. We're used to going against the tide and having to prove our worth before we are even offered a chance. Breaking that pattern takes a conscious effort on everyone's part.

The work environment that exists around innovation instills creativity and freedom, which also pervades the area of business development, which requires constant engagement with technical staff and is something I enjoy enormously in my everyday work.Cristina Suarez, Pursuit Manager of SENER at the USA

On International Women's Day, what would you tell other women to help them further their career and balance it with their personal life?

I would encourage them to follow their calling and fight for their dreams. Work hard, enjoy what you do, and surround yourself with colleagues who build you up and support you. Seek out mentors and spend time engaging in professional associations in the sector. This is something that, over time, I have come to realize is really important; just as important as being technically good at what you do. It's also very important to always try to learn from everything and not to take things personally.

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