Adriana Vazquez (Programa Ejecutivo de Mujeres en la Alta Dirección 16), Senior Director at Microsoft Consulting Services

From an early age, Adriana began learning other languages and dreamed of working for multinational companies and travelling around the world. Even though she was a Brazilian woman raised in a lower-middle class family, she always believed that anything was possible if you worked hard and focused on your goals. She did it.

-What challenges did you face when, in February, you assumed the role of Senior Director at Microsoft Consulting Services?

Starting a career at a new company is always a challenge because you have to build new internal networks. I tried to connect with people quickly and gain a deep understanding of how my team and the teams we work with on a daily basis operate in order for us to be highly effective and respond fast to customer needs.

-You already worked at Sealed Air in different positions from 2007 to 2017. What did this change mean to you?

It meant going back to the consulting business after having spent 14 years working in the manufacturing industry. The consulting business is a fascinating world: You meet lots of customers from different parts of the world who come from different industries and you learn things every day, as you are surrounded by highly intelligent people.

-Your professional career has always been linked to the implementation of business strategies. Is there any experience that has had a particular impact on you?

When I was at university, my dream was to develop my career in a factory. I have always believed that the ones who put food on everyone’s plate are the factory personnel (who manufacture the products), together with the salesmen (who sell these products). Unfortunately, by the end of my studies I still did not have a permanent position at the factory of one of the companies I had dreamt of working at. I’m not the crying type, but one day I could not stand my sadness any longer and, being young and immature, I cried out of frustration because I had put in a lot of effort and could not get the steady job that I wanted. Those who know me well know that I give 120% and more in everything I do. I did my best so nobody would see me, but Mathias noticed and told me something that had a big impact on me. He said: “Someone like you, with your attitude, will never be unemployed. On the contrary, you will have great opportunities, even at a headquarters level”. I confess that at first, I sort of doubted those words, but at home, on second thoughts, I thought to myself “why not? I think he might be right”, and that gave me a lot of motivation to grow and changed my life, and that’s why I’m thankful for those words.

-You are fluent in four languages: English, German, Portuguese and Spanish. When and why did you decide to embark on an international career?

I consider myself a result of diversity, as I was born in Brazil to Spanish parents and I married a European. I have always shown an interest in other cultures and believed that management is similar, but at the same time different. That is why I have focused my career on international management.
When I finished my studies in chemical engineering, I searched for jobs that could offer me international exposure and I took up a job as Junior Consultant at a large consulting firm. To begin with, I worked on local and regional projects, and 3 years later I was assigned my first international project.

-What are the pros and cons of this decision?

There are more pros than cons. Living abroad is an opportunity for personal growth. When you move to a new country, you’ll be thrown into new situations which may seem intimidating at first, but they always prove to be the best way to grow as an individual. You also get to meet people with a different cultural background that will add a lot of value to you: as a professional and as a person. Some kind of initial cultural shock is also part of the experience. One misses certain types of food and social habits. I tried my best to keep an open mind and adapted fast. Local administration and taxes are always something you will have to deal with and learn as well.

What are your current challenges and objectives?

I have always fought for diversity in the workplace and I was lucky enough to take part in projects where many different nationalities coexisted, thus adding value to my professional and personal development, and I can safely say that you can achieve better results when you build a diverse team.

I love challenges and I have never been afraid of facing one: I can carry out project management, sell a project or work in marketing. I have always performed my tasks with great passion and a desire to succeed, and when I fail and stumble, I rise again and learn from my mistakes.

When I do my job, I always like to go beyond and take that step further, which is why I was invited to become part of the Women’s Network Steering Committee at Diversey Care. Our mission was to attract, retain, and put the women in our company on the road towards progress. After 2 years, I was appointed head of the Committee and, under my leadership, my team has increased employee participation at the global level by over 100%.
The way I see it, diverse groups are a very important tool for promoting diversity at all levels of the company.
Nowadays, one of the greatest challenges women and men face in the workplace is what we call “work-life balance”, which is why it is vital for everyone to get involved in this conversation and invest in initiatives such as teleworking.

-You have recently completed the Executive Program for Women in Management Positions. What was the experience like?

I like being a role model for all those women who have a dream. I believe that if I was able to get where I am today, anyone can do it. With goodwill, passion, and the desire to grow.

-In your opinion, what are the benefits of being part of the ESADE Alumni international network?

I have a network of colleagues whom I can always consult when I am facing challenges in my career and I can always discuss the top trends in the industry with them. I frequently take part in ESADE Alumni events, as they offer the opportunity to meet new people and learn something new, and I always attend the annual meetings

Adriana Vazquez
Adriana VazquezSenior Director, Microsoft Consulting Services
Thanks to over 19 years of experience working in global organizations with high-level management, defining and implementing business strategies and global/regional projects, Adriana Vazquez boasts highly developed project and program management skills.
Holding a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and an MBA from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Adriana studied the Executive Program for Women in Management Positions at ESADE.
She has worked as a manager at PwC/IBM, Integration and Business Solution Support Leader at Nestlé, IS/IT Director and Global Marketing Director at Diversey, now part of Sealed Air, and Senior Director at Microsoft Digital.