International Women’s Day Interview: Marta Gonçalves
ST: Please tell us about you.
Marta: I attended the Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, in Lisbon, earning a degree in Public Relations and Business Communication. Having acquired essential knowledge to progress in my professional career my interest for this area has only strengthened since then. At a certain point during my career path, I realized the difficulty for any individual to balance the personal and professional aspects of life, which drove me to creating my own business. I was asked several times “where I would like to be in five years’ time” and I believe the career path I fashioned to this day was based on the objective of having my own project. Today, I am the Founder and Managing Partner of Say U Consulting and a senior communication and marketing consultant for companies across various industries.
Currently I act as a strategic advisor for the Portuguese branch of “Doctors of the World” and the entrepreneurship-oriented organization “Acredita Portugal”.I am also an author of articles in the subjects of Marketing and Communication.
For a time I was also the Vice-President of “NovosRostos…NovosDesafios” association and a member of the Management team of the “Associação de Assistência de São Paulo” association.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Marta: One of the women I most admire in the context of business management and communication is Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. I think she is a person of recognized strength and determination, who views women as a strong element for the success of an organization. Not only does she routinely and consciously make an investment in female employees, but she also trusts the benefits of having women in management roles. I find myself looking up to Trina Gordon as an example to follow, considering her career as a global leader in the executive search industry.
ST: How are you celebrating this year`s international Women`s Day?
Marta: This year I will be celebrating International Women’s Day at work, with all the motivation and dedication that a project like Say U Consulting deserves. Since this year’s International Women’s Day will be a weekday I imagine most women will be at work and feeling fulfilled in their chosen career path. We are not always fortunate enough to achieve this fulfilment in our professional life but I believe this must a permanent goal. Additionally to achieving an acceptable standard of living, feeling happy and successful must be a determining factor in the vision we create for our career.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Marta: The message I want to convey to all women today is that first of we must like ourselves so that we can later enjoy the presence and the interaction with others and what we do. I see women and men as having equivalent skills and access to the opportunities that come with them. We do not need shortcuts and we are not weak, so we have no reason to be negative and think that others are better than us and that we will not be able to achieve our proposed goals.
Each woman should be free to express herself, receive adequate education and the space to create and be a productive member of society. We may face failure repeatedly when confronted with obstacles but it is how we deal with those situations that will dictate if and when we reach our target. The pride we feel when accomplishing these goals is something that is not gifted nor bought, it is truly created through hard work and merit.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Marta: This is a touchy topic as it is something that currently still affects women at a professional level. At the moment there are still barriers to the presence of women in management positions in several organizations, industries and geographies. However, the participation of women in this context has undergone significant changes. This transformation is linked to tangible leadership decisions directed towards change and evolution, increased competition between companies and an emerging shared corporate culture. Thus, the presence of women in the hierarchy of organizations began to be valued. The technological advancement and increasingly demanding behavior of several industries and their customers have also brought about some changes in the integration of women as a useful factor. Women have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and create a unique professional career path, all the while answering the needs of companies and the market.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present in India?
Marta: The situation of women in India is somewhat similar to the situation we faced in Portugal not that long ago, something I attribute to the prevailing culture. Transformation occurs differently across different countries and societies but I think the dimension, complexity and dynamics at work in the Indian market will naturally demand more from women in their professional capacity and create avenues for their career development and for an increased role of women in Indian organizations and in this country’s business interactions with the world at large.