Ana Herrera Malone, Head of Regional Marketing, Americas, IBS Software, Colombia
Hi Ana, tell us a bit about your role and what you enjoy
I'm the Head of Regional Marketing for the Americas, based in Medellin, Colombia. My favourite part of the job is working with the sales team, coming up with ideas, executing plans and innovative marketing programs for our prospects and customers.
What did you study?
I studied Journalism and Communications and for several years I enjoyed working as a TV reporter in Colombia. I then decided to try something different; I completed a Master's in Marketing and started my journey in the corporate world.
Tell us about pivotal career moments
Three moments stand out.
Firstly, my early years as a reporter; it taught me invaluable lessons in discipline, perseverance, the ability to work under pressure and to meet tight deadlines.
Secondly, transitioning into the business world; this was a huge step for me as I had never sat behind a desk before!
Thirdly, working in the travel industry; I fell in love with the sector straight away and now I can't imagine working in any other field.
What appeals about the travel industry?
The opportunity to understand how travel works from the inside; I love to travel and being a part of the industry has made me appreciate the people, the technology and the processes that move the world.
It means being open, understanding where people come from, encouraging others to speak up and being ready to listen and accept other people's points of view, even if they are very different from yours.
Who do you admire?
I worked in the US for many years and saw first-hand the contributions made by immigrant women that arrive in the country. Often against the odds, they've been able to open doors, create enterprises and – ultimately – succeed in their respective fields. I have a profound admiration and respect for them.
Tell us about a time during your career that you've not succeeded but it was worth it because you learnt something valuable?
I was laid off from my last job because of the pandemic; it was a painful period in my life, but it led to some pivotal changes, including joining IBS Software. I'm glad to say, I can now look back without resentment!
What is your advice to people that may be experiencing lay-offs?
Remain calm, focus on looking for your new role; take time for yourself, good things will happen - don't forget to eat well and exercise. Look upon this time as an unexpected opportunity to think about what you really want for your next step in life.
What type of support should be in place to help women at the start of their careers in tech?
Mentoring and sponsoring young women is key to helping them navigate the corporate world. Also, programs that encourage them to continue innovating and thinking outside the box. In education, young people are often encouraged to create and break the mold but when they transition to the corporate world, there is often no structure in place to continue fostering that innovative and creative thinking.
What advice would you give your younger self at the start of her career?
Listen to your instincts and let things work themselves out; understand that you can't control what everybody thinks of you.
Do your best but don't forget that it's important to show facets of yourself besides your work. I grew up with the 'work hard and they'll notice you' mentality but I've since realized that it's not enough - you also have to 'market' yourself and demonstrate your value to others - I'm still pretty bad at it but I hope my younger self is better!
Why should women consider the tech sector as a career path?
It's a dynamic sector with a lot of opportunities, there is always something new to learn and – no matter what the economic environment – it will continue to grow because it's such an integral part of our economy. I promise you will never be bored!
Technology continues to evolve and being a professional in the sector allows you to shape the trends that are changing the world.
My next trip will be to…
Mexico, to experience the Day of the Dead festivities.
My favourite TV show is…
'America's Got Talent All-Stars' – I love how it discovers people with a ton of talent and changes their lives!
My hobbies are…
…cycling, hiking, horse riding and scuba diving; I like the outdoors!
What's the one thing you can't live without?
Diet Coke 😉