-What has it been like in your case to create an international company? First, it was passion and desire. I wanted my company to be multinational because the moment my service was valued abroad it would give it more strength in Chile. The other thing was to play as a local. Many Chileans arrive abroad, especially in Latin America, believing they are superior, and that is a very bad thing. You have to know the idiosyncrasy of each country, the ways of doing business, the need, to be able to export.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Yes. I had a very local company, in an industry created by law. When I said I was going to go outside Chile to offer the service, they thought I was crazy (I love it when they think I am crazy, then I know I am on the right track), and I managed to show that regardless of the law, my service was useful and valued. After that, I realized that to export a service I had to make it scalable, and that’s where I came up with the idea of inventing software.
You are a manager, and your company was awarded as the “most internationally attractive” of the 21 economies that made up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, held in Lima. How have you been able to build your leadership in this work? The award was really exciting because nobody believed that the company could be multinational. We had to convince a lot of people, who always said it was impossible because this law is not in other countries. It was a lot of work, getting to know each market very well, forming contact networks in the countries, going company by company, giving talks and seminars. I think I have had great leadership in being able to introduce the subject.
Was it difficult to get where you are? My competitors at the beginning did not take me into account, they were mostly older men, I was by far the youngest in the industry (today she is 34 years old). And I am sure that when they were studying their competition they must have said “let’s not worry about her, she is not a threat” until suddenly I had 50% of the market, I was selling outside Chile, and I was the leader of an industry that did not exist before. I think that being a woman, in addition, many people are willing to listen, perhaps without many expectations, who are then surprised. On the other hand, it is in a woman’s nature to be able to do a thousand things at the same time, and that also helps to be able to do business.
How do you think your peers see you as a boss? I think they are surprised. Whenever I meet someone new, and I tell them everything I do, they always say to me: “Why do you do so many things at once? The truth is that having several topics entertains me and makes me more efficient. So I think they see me well, but more than for all the things I do, for the passion I put into them.
Is there anything in your personality that you have had to improve? Yes, even though I am very nice, sometimes I don’t have the best temper.
What importance do you give to teamwork? It is fundamental, I have learned that the group always thinks better than one alone, problems can be solved better, and also better ideas emerge. In the office everything is open: we discuss issues, we delegate, and we trust in the human group. We do several extracurricular activities, and we go out at two o’clock on Fridays, but when deadlines have to be met, they are always met.
Your company seeks to encourage good business practices, do you think it is a plus that issues such as corruption are made visible by women? In any case, women by nature focus on the process and not only on the result, so it is a big plus. There are more and more awareness thanks to the visualization of scandals, but there is still a long way to go. The embarrassing spectacle of the interpellation in the Chamber of Deputies of Minister Javiera Blanco, where the focus was on the “political favors” of the Gendarmerie and the irregularities in Sename, confirms to me that the “uncovering of the pot” in Justice goes beyond all the scandals we have seen in the last year.
I do not know if the same thing will happen to all Chileans, but at least I cannot believe that I have been so blind. For so many years we thought we were the jaguars of Latin America, but little by little we came to know some cases. We started with Penta, then Caval, until we got to SQM and we learned through the media about the irregular financing of politics, up to the abuses of President Michelle Bachelet’s son.
However, we always thought they were exceptions, like rotten apples that did not infect the rest.
We were taking the stage to see how the political world blamed each other and how they all shielded themselves in the same phrase, “they all did it”. And despite the evidence, we consoled ourselves by saying that we could not be so corrupt, because even politicians “gave ballot”.
We also knew about the ANFP case and defended Sergio Jadue until he escaped on a plane to Miami. But we explained the fact, that Jadue is not a Chilean issue, it is a soccer issue, and we have always known whether Mrs. FIFA was corrupt, or not?
At some point, we found a hopeful answer, thanks to the Engel Commission, but when everything was looking hopeful, a new pot was uncovered, and in my opinion more serious than all the others. In the Ministry of Justice, we learned of “jubilates”, the not very esthetic designation of the former prosecutor of the 27/F case to the command of the Senate, and we continue entering into murkier waters.
Thus we have learned how things work in the public apparatus, where through assignments, nominations, salaries, etc., the so-called “political favors” are paid. Like Whatsapp revealed by Deputy Marcela Sabat in the interpellation, where a leader of the Gendarmerie workers related to the Government asked for a department head “with the approval” of the Minister. Yes, these favors are also corruption. Not with the image of the money briefcases in the movies, but they are taking advantage of the system.
The most serious thing is that all this scandal is happening in a ministry that is supposed to watch over the justice of this country, and where one would most expect it to act by example. Because, as we would say in an episode of Chapulín Colorado, “and now, who will be able to defend us?
This is just beginning, the opposition announced a constitutional accusation against Minister Blanco, and we will likely end up pulling a thread that will lead us to new scandals. But to keep the positive side, we Chileans are no longer naive, we can no longer say “this happens to our neighbors, it does not happen in our country”.
Although the transition is painful, we are becoming a less corrupt country, and where we will think twice before being offered something that seems dubious. It is this awareness that allows us to take steps to ensure that this does not happen again. This is the challenge we face today: to start thinking about how we do things and not only about the result we get from them.