For Erika Falfán, a finance graduate from Tec de Monterrey, her professional life changed not only when she went from Danone to Walmart but also following a couple of trips abroad which sparked an interest in the digital world. The experience allowed her to prove her ability to deal with a work environment which was different to corporate finance.
Falfán is one of the winners of the 2020 Mujer Tec Awards, in the Transforming Power category, which reflects her change of sector and work.
“I joined Grupo Danone, made a career for myself and I was climbing the ladder for 12 years. I started as a Financial Analyst, then moved up to Supervisor, followed by Manager, then Deputy Director and finally as the Director of Finance for the Bonafont business,” she told Tec Review over the phone.
Following her time at Danone, the financier received an invitation to work in Walmart’s SAM’s Club division, the world’s largest retail store with sales of 514.405 billion dollars in 2019. Mexico and Central America are its second most important market worldwide, according to its financial report from last year.
Seeing the scale of the company, Falfán was impressed by the complexity of the finance area and its influence on consumption patterns in Mexico; in both value chains with suppliers, as well as in e-commerce.
After a trip to Singularity University in San Francisco, and another to China, Falfán convinced herself to turn her career around and be part of the digital transformation of internet sales.
I returned from these trips and was invited to apply for a job vacancy to lead the e-commerce business, not from a financial perspective but as a digital operator. I succeeded in getting the position and I must admit that at the time I was a little scared because I had 18 years of professional experience in finance; I had certain notions of e-commerce but it was not my area of expertise,” confesses this director.
Today, Falfán leads digital operations for sams.com.mx and continues learning from the digital world. “We will always be afraid of holding a director’s position, to sit at a negotiating table and even to turn down an economic proposal. There’s always a moment of anxiety towards something unknown, but the advice that I would give to all girls is that fear doesn’t matter, what matters is that they make decisions and that they jump right in,” says Falfán.
“There will be risks and you may get it wrong, but you will always learn,” she adds as a recommendation for new generations of students.