The number of women working in all areas of professional development is increasing. According to figures from Inegi in 2018, they count for 44% of the economically active population, as well as being 17.1% of those working in information and communications technology (ICT).
To celebrate the work of these women who are connecting the country and changing analog processes through digital innovation, we will here acquaint you with some of the female engineers, financiers, marketeers, and administrators who are involved in the transformation of telecommunications and consumerism from their different positions.
Martha Lozano, Marketing Director at Alestra
Alestra is the brand name of Grupo Alfa’s Axtel digital services and ICT solutions. Martha Lozano, a computer systems graduate from Tec de Monterrey, has worked at this company in different areas for 20 years, starting as product manager. For the past four years, she has been the Marketing director, although she is thoroughly familiar with all the technologies she promotes since their inception.
“I started as product manager for the VPN (virtual private network) service in about 2000 and a few months later I was commissioned to formulate all the company’s administrative services. Subsequently, I created the first national internet network, then (through a partnership we had with AGN) I headed the company’s international products. I’m really on the technological side, but my boss told me, ‘Now I want you to dedicate yourself to promoting services.’ To begin with, I was shocked because I told him, ‘I make them, I don’t promote them’, but I got the message loud and clear: you can’t promote something if you don’t know it. I’m capable of fully understanding the service from its conception,” says Lozano.
During her time at the company, not only has her professional experience grown, but also her family. “I basically started my career at the company with my first daughter (a newborn) and my next child was born during my career. If I had to sum up all the endeavors in my life and work, I would have to say I owe a great debt of gratitude, affection and recognition to all the people around me, who have contributed and backed me up with what I’ve had to do in the company,” says the executive.
Erika Falfán, Director of Digital Operations at Sams.com.mx
Erika Falfán, a financial administration graduate from Tec de Monterrey, made the leap from Danone to a new position in the digital world at the helm of the e-commerce site of SAM’s, the wholesale membership division of Walmart.
“I forged my career for 12 years by climbing up the ladder at Grupo Danone. I started as a financial analyst, then to leading a section, on to management, assistant director, and for almost the final four years of my career I was CFO for the Bonafont Home and Office Delivery business. That was a big challenge I achieved at the age of 32. Even though I was young, the company took the risk of placing me in a strategically important position. I’m extremely grateful for that,” Falfán says over the phone.
With that experience, her profile was recognized by the Walmart chain, where she joined SAM’s and now leads the online shopping website. “After a visit to China to witness the boom in e-commerce and the ecosystems existing there, such as Alibaba and Tencent, my attention was drawn to the e-commerce business. When I returned, I was invited to fill a vacancy to lead the e-commerce business, not from a financial perspective but as a digital operator. I managed to stay, although I must admit that I was a little scared because it was not my area of expertise. Even now, I continue to learn many things, but I realize that I shouldn’t let fear paralyze me,” she says by way of a recommendation to women about to take on new professional challenges.
Karen León, AT&T Supervisor of Network Construction and Implementation
Karen León, a UNAM architecture graduate, was working at Iusacell during the transition period when AT&T came to Mexico in 2015.
“When I started at Iusacell, I was working at a desk, doing technical validations. Then, AT&T took over and before it had celebrated its first anniversary of arriving in Mexico, I was already leading a field work group and was able to actively participate in one of the most important projects of the company at the time,” she remembers about the change of the company after Iusacell was taken over by AT&T.
The difference was not only in job responsibilities but in the culture of personal development within the new company. “One of the pillars of the company is gender diversity. There’s a program called Women in Action, which inspired me a great deal not to pay attention to limitations. In the first activity of the program they gave us a little card that said, ‘If you let go of your fears, you’ll have more room to grow your dreams.’ I put that phrase in my work diary and every time I faced a challenge I would open it and found it very inspiring,’ says the woman in charge of growing infrastructure coverage for the third-largest mobile telecommunications company in Mexico.
Gabriela Flores Zertuche, Director of Technology Control and Planning
Before leaving university, Gabriela Flores was already immersed in the world of telecommunications working for Telefónica, starting as a scholarship holder in the area of transmission engineering. Since 2007, this graduate of industrial engineering from the Anáhuac University has pursued a career in the Spanish company that has the second largest number of mobile lines in Mexico.
“I started progressing within the company at an early age when I became the youngest manager at Telefónica México, and later also the youngest deputy director in the Technology area. Telefónica Movistar has always supported young talent and inclusion This was very satisfying for me, since, regardless of my achievements, age or gender, I was subjected to the necessary evaluations to earn these positions,” she told Tec Review.
Once out of university, she had to demonstrate leadership skills in a challenging male dominated environment. “The biggest challenge I faced in my early days was to make a mark in the technology area and grow within the company, working mostly surrounded by men. I managed to put forward my opinions and defend my points of view convincingly, in front of highly experienced managers and all the multidisciplinary work teams,” says Flores.
Marthangela Di Ciero, eBay Entrepreneur
Although she was born in Mexico City, Marthangela Di Ciero has lived for several years in Celaya, Guanajuato, where online sales have changed her clothing factory. Now, the business administrator deals only in marketing different personalized embroidered patches worldwide.
“I began selling handcrafts on eBay nearly 20 years ago. The first thing I sold was a tortilla pouch, then handcrafts and ceramics, but then I discovered that people look for personalized things (I’ve always been in the embroidery business) and I saw a niche in that market,” she recalls of her beginnings in online sales.
From placing a single product to having 500 kinds of embroidered patches distributed in several countries, the entrepreneur is now reaping the benefit of her curiosity about internet business. “I have sold to nearly everywhere in the world, to Tasmania, Greenland, Iceland, Patagonia, wherever you can imagine. The strangest of all my orders was in the principality of Andorra, which has about 80,000 inhabitants. It was the strangest thing for me that they asked me for something in such a small place and now they’ve purchased four times from me,” says Di Ciero who sells through different digital platforms and was awarded the Omnichannel Salesperson of the Year by eBay.
Myrna Lira, AT&T Associate Vice President of Technology
When she was barely a child, Myrna Lira (a UVM telecommunications engineer graduate) knew that she wanted to be an engineer thanks to her contact with video games. “That sparked my interest in technology. I knew I wanted to be an engineer, I didn’t know what kind, but I was quite convinced that I wanted to venture into this field. Having decided to study engineering, telecommunications engineering really attracted me and with my first job I realized that I was right. Today I do what I like the most and I’m incredibly happy,” recalls Lira.
Lira is Associate Vice President of Technology at AT&T, but when she entered a company where 34% of leadership positions are held by women, it helped her compare and realize that this is not generally the case in her chosen arena.
“When I studied my degree, there were only three women on the course and only two of us finished. When I started working it was the same, and there was little inclusion. It was hard for me (I won’t deny it) to be noticed and respected by engineers who had much more experience than I. It was a totally different world when I entered AT&T because there are development plans for women. It’s incredibly inclusive and has produced very satisfactory results,” she highlights.
These are just a few examples how the talent of Mexican women is changing the way we communicate and do business.