My Biggest Career Ally: A Competitive Edge

Looking back, I have concluded that the most significant influence on my success both personally and as a leader has come from sports.

Sports have been a constant in my life and have held special importance in the building my leadership skills, which I apply directly in my work environment.

Playing sports from an early age is the best way to learn about discipline, teamwork and leadership and to build a positive attitude.

I consider playing sports from an early age the best way to learn about discipline, teamwork and leadership and to build a positive attitude. In my case, it was volleyball. I started playing at age five. From the beginning I was recognized as a good player with stamina and teamwork as my strengths. Soon, I was playing on the main school volleyball team and practicing leadership as a captain. In parallel, I took on leadership roles at school. Sports taught me and got me used to a competitive environment and I got used to having to compete for opportunities and roles.

At the beginning of my career, I was selected to be a trainee at a prominent wholesale bank. The selection process was very competitive. It was even more competitive than my university admission process… something like 20 candidates per opening. Everything was going well at the bank until there was an acquisition. After the acquisition everything changed. I had already made up my mind that I wanted to work in the Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) area instead of the department I was working in.

So, I asked for a meeting with my director and HR rep and told them I’d like to move to M&A. Because of everything that was going on at the bank, I was told I would have to wait for four to six months before they could consider my request with no promise that it would be honored. Despite the fact that the Brazilian market was suffering from a very high unemployment rate, I decided to resign from the bank and sell everything I had in order to live and study in Boston for four months (it was all my money could sustain). This experience was essential not only to opening my view of the world, it would also improve my English skills and help me set my professional goal – which became to work for the best consultant firm (Andersen Consulting, at that time). It was the beginning of my career and I felt that each day was an important one to build my professional strengths and knowledge. It was, for sure, a defining time!

Today, I work for Accenture, a rich corporate environment with a number of compelling opportunities. I’ve been assigned to three roles: (i) to co-lead the largest Communication Client Account in Latin America, along with two others directors, (ii) to be Client Account Lead of the biggest media group in Brazil and act as coordinator support of media & entertainment Latin America (Latam), and (iii) to lead the Communication, Media and High Technology Diversity Group for Latin America and the Women Attractiveness initiative Brazil.

Recently, I experienced another very competitive opportunity. I was selected to participate in the International Women’s Forum (IWF) 2012-2013 The Fellow Program. It was a rigid global competition and I am very proud and excited to have been chosen to participate. From the largest and most competitive pool of candidates in Fellows Program history, the IWF Leadership Foundation’s 2012-2013 Fellows Class comprises 35 rising women leaders from 15 nations.

Spread across a year, the program convenes fellows from around the world. In partnership with the Harvard Business School and INSEAD, The Business School for the World, the IWF Leadership Foundation offers creative, multi-disciplinary training aimed at developing leadership and strategic management capabilities. In addition to the leadership training, each fellow is matched with an IWF member who serves as her mentor and coach during the program year, a chance for the fellows to garner personal insights and advice from women at the top of their fields.

You have to know what success means to you and then go out [and] achieve it.

I believe that my experience with amateur sports was decisive in making me realize early on the importance of setting goals, competition, a positive attitude and leadership in achieving success in my personal and professional life. You have to know what success means to you and then go out on the court to achieve it.

I consider it a privilege to know what I want and to get what I want in my professional life.