Maria João Ribeiro, People & Recruitment Manager

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Early years and where you came from?

I left my hometown (Braga) in 2016 to work in Lisbon, in a public Institution, as a Clinical Psychologist. I thought I would live there forever (love that city!) but came back to Braga to be closer to my current team (at Utrust).

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

Growing with a Biomedical Engineer (my brother) I always loved technology and how it can help us improve our performance in multiple services — as improving our health care systems, making our payment experiences clear and easy for everyone, helping us detecting and analyzing human patterns…).

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been working in Psychology of Organizations and Work, mostly focusing on improving employee and candidate experience. At Utrust, I’ve been working with a team of 40 people for the last 2 years, managing recruitment processes, developing and promoting culture strategies, assessing psychosocial risks and promoting happiness and wellbeing at Work.

What part of what you do, you love the most?

Working with people since I consider Humans as the most incredible creatures on Earth. I think what makes me love my job so much is the fact that every day I’m challenged by different opinions, perspectives, different expectations and my job is to align everything together creating a healthy context to promote happiness at work. At the end of day what gives me more joy is to simply watch our company grow and succeed with happy people working towards a shared goal.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

My past experiences as a voluntary and clinical psychologist definitely gave me the empathy I need to be able to work with people every day. Also, my Psychology degree gave me the right tools to approach multiple challenges regarding human behavior.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

My biggest advice would be: always fight to be whatever you want in a context that fits your values. It’s not easy to be a Women in Tech since it’s still a Men’s World (this has been changing, fortunately!).
Challenge yourself to work in different contexts, with different people, outside your comfort zone — you’ll learn so much more! And never forget: empathy and networking is always the key to success.

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.

I wake up around 7h30, have breakfast with my partner and pet my 2 cats. I usually open my working tools around 8h30 and start my day answering all the emails and messages on slack. I usually work (remotely) at home during the morning, since I manage my morning routine with “lonely tasks” such as planning projects, organizing my week schedule, building keynotes, booking interviews, cleaning my inbox, writing. After lunch, I usually drive to the office and usually, my day runs with meetings, interviews and work sessions. As a remote-friendly team, most of our time is spend in calls, working on our wiki, and always trying to improve our async communication strategies.
At the end of the day, I usually go to the gym — to me it’s fundamental to release stress, improve my mental health and save this moment as the moment to take care of myself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Well, I guess I have an advice about a quote that changed the way I see my life.
The advice would be — “If you’re in a room where you’re the most intelligent person, you’re in the wrong place”. This is a well-known message, but I heard it from Miguel Gonçalves, an ex-boss of mine, CEO of Spark Agency. Back then, in 2013, it didn’t make much sense to me. Today, after some years, I realized how working with amazing and talented people made me learn so much along the way.

The other was a quote I read when I was at the University and changed my life. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain
There was a point in my life I think I realized I was born to help people — whether working as a psychologist or doing voluntary projects for Human Organisations. And I feel really lucky to have found my motto.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Whatsapp, Slack and, no doubt, Gmail (emails, calendar management, contact management..)

👉Find Maria on LinkedIn and on Medium

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A portrait of the women that help make the difference in the Portuguese Tech Industry. Check our speaker's list: http://bitly.com/pwitList

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