We’re sharing stories from our extended community: this one comes from our friend Ana Inés Urrutia de Souza, who’s currently working in Peru while she waits for travel restrictions to lift and she can move to the Netherlands with her company FourVision.
Ana shared her career journey with The Swing Shift’s CEO, including how she made a deliberate career pivot into technology after investing in her original role as an HR professional. Ana also talks about the importance of listening to your peers and mentors, as well as steps she took to make her move. You can read more about her at her website, https://www.anainesurrutia.com/
Edited for clarity and length
Q [Nancy]: Tell us about your original career path. While you work in technology now, you started your work in Human Resources for a Club Nacional de Football in Uruguay, a Professional Football Club. What was your original plan; and why did it change?
A [Ana]: I’m not sure there was an original plan! I always thought I would end as a classical HR Manager, but things changed and I fell in love with technology and productivity. Back in the day, I was studying Psychology in Universidad Católica del Uruguay. I knew I wanted to work with people focused on their well being. But, once I went through several different experiences – Sports Club, Government, and Engineering – I started to shape my plan as I found challenges that crossed over every industry.
Q: When we talked, you mentioned that a manager talked with you about what you really wanted to do with your career. After setting upon your path, was it hard to hear at first?
A: I remember that talk very clearly. My manager suggested I look beyond HR and it was mind-blowing. This was a clear message of a challenge calling my name. I try to be as open as possible for the new challenges in life, so it wasn’t hard to hear it. Luckily, I took the advice and followed my instincts to become what I am today. I feel blessed to be honest.
Q: You moved in three steps: first parlaying your HR skills into a job at an engineering firm, then jumping from engineering to technology, then moving up to an Innovation Manager at Arkano Software, and now as a Microsoft Dynamics Implementation Consultant for FourVision. How deliberate was each move? If opportunities just presented themselves, what job search tools did you employ to ensure you made a smart next step?
A: I did a lot of analysis before each decision was made. I think very carefully about “how to, when to, and where to.” I also trust how I feel about the new opportunity I’m about to take. As long as I stay truthful to myself everything’s going to go well. From a job search perspective, my best friend is LinkedIn. I found all my past roles using that tool. It is a very powerful solution that helps you to connect with lots of interesting people. Also, it is a great place to get others know about yourself. Make sure you update your information!
Q: Especially right now, online resources are essential to career planning. What site and podcasts do you use or like for this purpose?
A: The most valuable podcast crossed into my daily internet diving a year ago: Woman in Business and Technology Podcast by Sonia Dara and Colleen O´Brien – Microsoft. It was a game changer. I was able to connect with amazing woman in a similar situation, open to contribute in such awesome ways. I was lucky to have listened to you – Nancy Jensen – talking about The Swing Shift. I instantly knew we needed to connect. As above, LinkedIn is a free place to know about the market trends, the job openings, and other relevant information for career planning. I’ll recommend it to use it wisely.
Q: Many people become overwhelmed when they’re looking for their next career move, especially if it’s something different than what they’ve originally trained to do. What’s the best piece of advice you can offer regarding how to go about that shift in role or career?
A: There are three concepts that I can share as advice. The first is related to mindset. The second one is about the usage of technology in our advantage. It doesn't matter if you are part of Accounting, Finance, Sales or Engineering. You can improve your daily work with a creative usage of the technology solutions available. And don´t freak out! There are plenty of tutorials and guides applicable to your particular interest. Trust me! And the third and last part of my advice is; get involved with the community. In the process of changing your career you may feel overwhelmed or discouraged, but there are people out there who already went through this transformation, people who is open to share and talk about the process. Take advantage of that.
My last – and more romantic – advice is: follow your dreams. You are the only one capable of charting your trip to conquer those goals.
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