Priscila Teles, project manager in SENER Brazil
Perseverance, effort, a desire to keep learning and improving every day are fundamental values for growing both personally and professionally and achieving the objectives set; however, it's the passion you put into what you do that will make a difference.
We talk with our colleague Priscila Teles, an example of perseverance, a vocation for engineering and the motivation to keep developing beyond the personal desire to grow professionally, with the aim of helping to improve society through her work and by using the skills she has acquired. Priscilla talks about her early career and provides her vision on issues such as work-life balance, diversity in teams and the situation of women in STEM careers.
She received a degree in electrical engineering from the University of São Paulo in 2015, and a Master's in Energy, Oil and Gas management in 2017. Priscila has over 20 years of experience in the engineering sector, having participated in the development of Technical Proposals, Conceptual, Basic and Detailed Designs of Electrical Installations in the Oil and Gas, Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation sectors. She is currently a Infrastructure Project Manager in SENER in Brazil division.
Priscila, what drew you to engineering? Did anyone inspire you?
My uncle, Marco Augusto Ferreira, was the one who aroused that interest in me.
When I was about 13, I used to help my aunt take care of my cousin. At the time, my uncle, who designs electrical installations, left the company where he worked and started freelancing. I would watch him work. I loved the black screen with one of the first versions of CAD 12, full of colorful lines and strokes. One day, when my uncle realized that I was always watching him, he asked me if I was interested in learning what he was doing. The next day, he gave me a pen and paper and told me to write down some CAD commands. "E deletes, C copies, M moves... Now it's up to you, start messing around with the program and make this drawing." My heart raced, I bought a second-hand computer, installed the program and started working with it. I started working as an apprentice for my uncle and, some years later, when I was 16, I went to work as a draftsman in a small company in São Paulo. Little by little, I sought out qualifications to improve my knowledge and, over time, I had some great opportunities.
As you look to the future, in what areas would you like to keep advancing, what challenges have you set for yourself?
I dream of taking part in building a better country through my involvement in infrastructure and transportation projects. Traveling around Europe, I was able to see that Brazil still has much to improve in this regard. Mobility, accessibility and infrastructure are still far from what is needed to meet the needs of the people of São Paulo, and especially of the Brazilian population. We need to change our reality and I want to be part of that milestone by learning more and becoming more specialized in this field of activity.
It's been shown that diverse and inclusive work teams get the most out of each individual's personal skills, foster innovation and are beneficial to project development. From your point of view, what role do women play in the field of science/technology?
We can say that women today play a fundamental role in the areas of science and technology. Their restless spirit, their search for continuous improvement and their sensitivity have contributed greatly to science and technology and made them more relevant to our everyday needs, while intensifying the search for the "ideal world," thinking about important issues about how the sector can contribute to the environment and minimize social inequality. Just as great men changed the world's history, so women are also taking part in what will be the next revolutionary discoveries.
Do you think we need structural changes in how work is organized to make sure we can all, regardless of age or gender, contribute and work as a team?
We live in a world where you constantly have to stay up to date and change in order to improve, and that's independent of gender.
Unfortunately, there are still some "taboos" to break and obstacles to overcome, because while men can simply say what they can do, we women have to show what we can do, and the wage gap still has to be fixed.
Education is essential to advance personally, professionally and socially. As a professional, what message would you give to an 18-year-old woman who is about to start her higher education and doesn't know what area to major in?
I would tell her to do something that makes her want to get up in the morning with the aim of being better than the day before, something she can be proud of and something with which she can contribute to improving the lives of others. I would tell her to look for something that turns her into a source of inspiration and that motivates her to be willing to change the world.
We can say that women today play a fundamental role in the areas of science and technology. Their restless spirit, their search for continuous improvement and their sensitivity have contributed greatly to science and technology and made them more relevant to our everyday needs, while intensifying the search for the "ideal world," thinking about important issues about how the sector can contribute to the environment and minimize social inequality.Priscila Teles
What would you tell other women to help them further their career and balance it with their personal life?
Never place limits on your knowledge! You have to be improving all the time, exploring what's new and looking for that thing that makes your eyes light up. A woman with a gleam in her eyes can move mountains.
But I would also tell them not to kid themselves. Balancing one's professional and personal life is not an easy task. There are many "taboos" in our society, and while it's true that we're slowly overcoming them, they are ghosts that still chase us, like the weight of the responsibility of managing the home or educating children and other personal tasks that have more of an impact on a woman's career. At work, we're also under more pressure to prove our ability, which often requires greater dedication to work, making it even more challenging to strike that much-needed balance between personal life and work. We have to find a way to make it clear, both at home and at work, that we are competent and that we know what we're doing and that everything has a limit.
Therefore, make it clear that you have goals, dreams, duties and rights and that, like everyone else, you need help, companionship and team spirit. You're not Wonder Woman, don't try to do too much!
To what extent do you think the digital transformation can help us improve work-life balance?
I think that the digital transformation has come to help us make the best use of our time while we work. We have to use it as a powerful tool in the difficult task of balancing work and family life. We can, for example, get qualifications through online courses where, in a way, we can acquire knowledge while at the same time being close to our family; teleworking too has given us a chance to continue doing what we like professionally while being close to our loved ones, who also need us to be there every day.