ISEG MBA student awarded with the 'Portuguese Women in Tech Award' in the 'Marketing & Sales' category

ISEG Executive Education  / 25.09.2020


Carolina Rocha, a student of the 36th ISEG MBA, won first place in the 'Marketing & Sales' category of the 'Portuguese Women in Tech Awards'. This award aims to distinguish women who excel in the technology sector in Portugal, giving visibility to their work in various areas.

Having started her career as a reporter, in media such as the Renascença, the newspaper O Jogo and OffBeatz, the winner of the 'Marketing & Sales' category continues to share stories in 'The Pull Podcast'. "I've always had one foot out and one foot in", says Carolina Rocha, describing her professional experience. She has worked in Lisbon, Madrid, Vigo and London, in organizations such as the European Commission, Banco Popular, Farfetch, GlaxoSmithKline, among others. "I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work in various fields", says the ISEG MBA student, adding that it is thanks to this experience that she now has an "holistic view of business, the economy and society".

Carolina is currently the responsible of Marketing at Doppio Games, an innovative studio in the gaming industry, using her voice as a controller in platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. 


What does the first place in the 'Marketing & Sales' category of the 'Portuguese Women in Tech Awards' means to you?

The Portuguese Women in Tech Awards (PWIT) places you in the front line and has many eyes on initiatives and professionals who would usually not go from behind the scenes to the main stage. Awards that highlight the role of women in the national technological landscape, as well as the projects they represent, are a fantastic platform for a better connection, not only between us women, but also in general, contributing to a more efficient, balanced and sustainable ecosystem.  

It's really an honor to have been nominated as a winner in this category, because it's very fierce and, in fact, I saw myself on the podium of the Top 3 with two big national names in the industry and in the country (Unbable and CTT). I’m humble and willing to do more as I receive this award - there is still a lot to do, and this recognition carries a lot of responsibility. We must inspire, lead by example and not only understand how we can make a workplace, an industry, more inclusive and hospitable, but also roll up our sleeves to put that understanding into practice. 

I want to thank Doppio's Sound Designer, João Costa, who highlighted the gender disparity in the technology industry in general and gaming in particular. I am very grateful to him and to Doppio for taking the initiative to nominate me and my colleague Eva Vital (also a finalist in Design) as representatives of the gaming industry in Portugal.


What are the greatest challenges a woman faces in the technology sector? Do you feel that they are different challenges from other areas or are they similar in general?

Marketing and communication are areas that are sometimes seen as secondary in many companies' processes. These are departments with a large number of women. We could say that this fact would make things easier, but it is often under a hierarchical chain dominated by men. This may force the marketing professional to defend their projects more intensively, to be valued as they deserve. In addition, there is the still rooted and strong belief that marketing is just "common sense" (said by a director of two departments) and, not the least, the conviction of many colleagues, from other areas, that they could do the job we do, without effort or specific training. I recall several occasions when, in advocating the importance of creating a digital community around a company or product, I was confronted with arguments that this was based on a very feminine and sentimental approach - something that is not questioned at all today. 

I wouldn't say that my career path itself has been affected by being a woman. I would say, rather, that the way I view my profession and the instruments I have today to do so have been decisively influenced by my feminine condition.

In an ideal world, perhaps I would have gained them in another way, but today I consider them an advantage and an important engine of growth in my professional development and in general terms. 

This is my personal experience in this world not only technological, but also in other industries. Nevertheless, the technological industry still sees itself very much as a "boys' club", in which less tolerant attitudes towards other genders than men were perpetuated for a long time, right from the start. But I see steps are being taken everywhere. Fortunately, we hear less and less about "marketing girls" and their primary function is merely to "spread charm". I see more female names in email signatures. I see more inclusion and collaboration, and this is a great start.


Being young, how have you looked at the evolution of the number of women in leadership positions, both in the technology sector and in the rest? Do you believe this will be a growing trend?

The gap exists, in global terms, in the Portuguese labor market. A sign of this differentiation is the still scarce existence of women in top positions in many companies. 

Having worked in the field of finance, science and technology, I can definitely say that there are still many steps to take in this evolution. We also have to define our population as still quite old, which leads to some resistance.

However, I see improvements in that respect, especially with regard to the education of girls at the STEM level, which makes the ratio of women in technology courses very different from 10 years ago, and the environment of the area itself is conducive to collaboration regardless of gender. I have also had the opportunity to interview young people with fantastic initiatives in our country in the podcast, who start their own projects, or become ambassadors for innovative services and products in Portugal, especially in areas with impact on the long term, such as sustainability and education. So I have a lot of hope, not only in my generation, but also in the following ones, for this ability of initiative and for a sense of community and acceptance, which I think is lacking in others.


The percentage of female students in higher education is higher than that of male students. Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women who are about to start or have already started their career in higher education?

Many young women - and adults - are subject to ideas about what to be or what to do to succeed or be happy in life. This ranges from choosing the course, through their own interests, to their personal lives. We are supposed to be always in the process of self-evaluation. But this does not happen in a healthy and sustainable way, but with aggressive comparison and criticism, both to others and to ourselves. My advice will be to face the world with their own vision, with compassion for those who live in it and for themselves. Nothing in this world will fulfill them but themselves. Give a chance to new points of view, dare more, question more (asking does not offend, after all, or at least it should not!). 

If I had the opportunity to go back in time, with what I know now, I would have made more mistakes sooner. All the great processes of growth in humanity involve some kind of discomfort, of effort, and learning "the worst way" at times. Sweat, blood, and tears are representative images of what I understand to be the engines of strength and renewal and not of weakness. Accept every obstacle as an opportunity to learn about the world and about yourself.


Looking to a more technical and relational aspect, in a world in constant evolution, which increasingly gives strength to digital and technology, which skills - hard and soft skills - will be the most predominant in the near future?

I think that the answer to this question will become obsolete at the moment you publish it, such is the overwhelming pace of evolution today. But at the level of soft skills, I would say that this is exactly the reason why I’m an advocate of versatility and the ability to adapt to obstacles. Didn't we receive the investment fund we were waiting for? Good, more time to improve our pitch. The product is not getting the adhesion we expected? Great, it's an opportunity to try something new and we've just had more information about the behavioral market that others don't have. Are we forced to stay home due to a pandemic? It’s a fantastic moment to improve internal communication and make more effective the processes and workflows within the company. 

I would say that a sense of responsibility is equally important, not only about ourselves, and not only about the others with whom we work, relate and propose to serve or provide, but also about society and even the planet on which we live. I’m a great fan of empathy: I always try to understand the other side or both sides of the story, at a time when more and more people are exalted by the little information we retain from the flood that assails us every day through the media, social networks and work communication networks. 

In the near future, so-called hard skills are obviously associated with understanding how technologies work - learning a data analysis language, such as R, or programming, is essential. But more than applying knowledge to make all these operations work, it is important to understand how they work, what their impact is, and evaluate how to make them effective, but also sustainable.


As a current ISEG MBA student, how do you describe your experience and what expectations do you have for the future after completing the MBA?

I have been learning a lot at ISEG MBA. The experience has been a challenge due to time restrictions, allied to our professional and personal life, which we should never lose sight of in the course progeny. This juggling game is, in itself, a lesson in life, and I have found in my course colleagues a huge support and help that I did not expect, but it does not surprise me. Being part of a startup, the MBA is a great choice to better understand its operations: human resources processes, the legal timeline of a company acquisition, an investment and the relationship of a company to its stakeholders. These are very valid knowledge for those seeking a more versatile education, and I already apply them today at work.  


Do you think that attending the ISEG MBA contributed in any way to obtaining this first place?

If not for the attendance, it was definitely for the great support of my MBA colleagues and the teaching team that disclosed my nomination. Their votes and support were fundamental for me to make it to the podium, and for that I am immensely grateful.


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Autor: ISEG Executive Education