Why Women in Localization? Why Me?
By Luciana Vecchi, NetApp
Just recently, I gave an interview as a recipient of the SDL Voices of Global Innovation award. There, I explain why I am passionate about working in Globalization: “because I am the ears, the eyes, and the voice of international customers.”
Born and raised in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, I have always been surrounded by people from all over the world. First, Brasilia was founded in 1960 to serve as the new national capital, where all the Ministries of the Brazilian government would be located. As a result, every resident of Brasilia originated from a different Brazilian city. Second, Brasilia was also built to host 124 foreign embassies, giving me the opportunity to make friends from all over the world.
At that time, I noticed a common scenario in the Embassies and Ministries: their high-level offices and positions were almost exclusively filled by male leaders. An even more common scenario in Brasilia was that while our fathers went to work, most of our mothers stayed home taking care of us, the children. I say “most” because some mothers worked as teachers, nurses, and administrative assistants to the executive-level males. This was not the case in my house. My mother was one of the very few women who held a high-profile role at the Ministry of the Executive Branch of the Brazilian government, heading the strategic budget planning department for the country. I imagine there were other women in similar positions, even though I never remember that she mentioned them to me. She also never mentioned how lonely or cruel it might have felt to work with so many male counterparts. Maybe because she was so strong or maybe because she did not want to bring work home.
It was at that time in my life that I formed my earliest insights into the challenges faced by a woman in the workplace. I still remember the numerous nights my father would get my brother and me into our PJs just to drive to the Ministry where my Mom was working late, so that we could all have dinner together (my father’s specialty―pizza). Or there were the many times I had to do my homework at her large office while she was having meetings next door. This is when I noticed something startling. I saw the astonishing ways my mother altered who she was in order to make herself heard as a female surrounded by mostly male colleagues. From literally changing how she communicated, to how she positioned herself, to how she dressed for important meetings―I saw the huge effort she had to make to navigate the world of male-dominated politics.
From then on, I started asking myself why it was so difficult for women to showcase their professional skills and strengths without having to change their behavior and dress code. It has since become my quest to not only find out the answers to this question but, most importantly, to help women like my mom empower themselves and other women to connect, share, and build further career opportunities―all without having to change who they truly are.
Here in Silicon Valley, I am continuing my passion for working with international markets and my quest to help women from all over the globe achieve their potential. After trying other non-profit organizations in the area, joining Women in Localization, as you can imagine, was a no-brainer for me. First, I was drawn to the organization because of its value proposition: to promote professional development, networking, and continuous education among its rapidly-growing membership of global women. In fact, I felt very fortunate to be part of its formation early on, helping to create the group’s by-laws, digital presence, mentorship program, and many events and workshops.
The Women in Localization organization really “walks the talk”: We meet regularly to discuss how we can provide open, collaborative forums (for instance, through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and local events) that create a strong place for women to develop their careers in localization. One of our latest accomplishments has been the expansion to other markets, launching our first international chapter in Ireland with many others to come in Spain and Japan, for example. Second, I knew that by joining Women in Localization I would not only be continuing my quest to help women achieve their potential but I would amplify my effectiveness by reaching hundreds of women from all over the world.
At the end of the day, the Women in Localization and I share one common goal: Connect and inspire each other to together succeed!
Luciana Vecchi is a Senior Globalization Strategist Manager at NetApp. She has over 15 years of experience in what takes companies to successfully do business globally. She has worked in a diverse range of roles from Marketing and sales to operations, customer care and product management in many different Industries and high-tech companies including Specialized Bicycles, Adobe and NetApp.