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Caroline Bandeira, Commercial Manager of the infrastructure department at SENER in Brazil

With more than 10 years of experience in infrastructure and transport projects, Caroline Bandeira is the Commercial Manager of SENER Infrastructure at SENER in Brazil.

Caroline BandeiraCaroline, you have a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Mackenzie Presbyterian University and a Master's in project management from the Fundación Instituto de Administración (FIA). Tell us, did you always want to work in engineering?

Even in school I already liked the exact sciences. From a very young age, I loved to see and understand how engineering was able to improve people's lives and help make a better world.

Was there anyone who inspired you?

My father is an engineer, but, contrary to what you might think, he didn't encourage me to pursue that career. He thought I would have to put up with a lot of prejudices and he wanted me to study another field, such as Law. But I was determined to be an engineer.

As you look to the future, in what areas would you like to keep making progress, what challenges do you face?

My future plan is to continue to improve my knowledge in different areas of infrastructure, negotiation and BIM project planning and management; but, above all, to keep growing and to be happy doing what I'm doing.

It has been proven that diverse and inclusive work teams are best at leveraging each individual's personal capabilities within the group. They foster innovation and are beneficial for project development. From your point of view, what role do women play in the field of engineering?

Women provide a more humane view of engineering and a team spirit. They tend to worry more about the well-being of the team and the quality of life of its members; they try to strike a balance between the personal and professional lives of employees.

Do you think that structural changes are needed in how work is organized to make sure that everyone, regardless of age or gender, can contribute and collaborate in a team?

I believe that changes and adaptations are always necessary to keep up with society and our reality, especially in the current context, where the pandemic is introducing new variables.

Having a vision of people beyond their professional personas, and adapting activities based on the needs of each professional is essential if, as a company, we want our people to feel motivated and prepared to overcome any challenge or setback.

Education is essential to advance personally, professionally and socially. As a professional, what advice would you give an 18-year-old girl who is about to start college and doesn't know what field to go into?

Knowledge and education are always highly appreciated! A professional who has the desire to learn and the curiosity to know more will be an essential asset.  There is always something new to learn, new opportunities to grow. You are never too old to learn; we have to move forward as the world evolves.

We're speaking on the occasion of International Working Women's Day. What would you share with other women to help them advance professionally and to strike a work-life balance?

In the end, everything has its place and the routine ends up making it possible to balance your personal and professional life and you learn to respect the limits. Working is just one part of what women can do, their autonomy, self-esteem or even personal happiness. It can make her more self-assured, give the best of herself and be happy about what she does, but being able to manage time and plan activities is an essential quality.

To what extent do you think the digital transformation can help us move forward in striking a work-life balance?

Digital media offer a new normal that allows us to make even better use of our time and devote ourselves more to our families. It makes it possible to spend a few minutes with our children throughout the day and to be more actively involved in their daily lives, including helping them in learning, which is very gratifying.

Finally, as a woman, what would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Take it easy and don't be in a hurry, all in due time. Study, apply yourself and have fun too. It's better if things are balanced! Always do your best and always try to be happy. Give the best of yourself and things will happen.

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