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Breaking barriers and finding my voice through opportunity

January 7, 2022
Business woman

I grew up in Charallave, Venezuela, a city in the outskirts of Caracas. My mother was determined that I received the very best education and moved the family to Caracas to make it possible for me to attend university. It was after our move and when I was in university in a computer science program that I made the first promising steps towards building my career.

The first meeting

I had heard of Blanc Labs through friends. They recommended the company to me and spoke about the culture and the prospects of learning more and growing my career. I decided to take the cautious route of connecting with the head-hunter hiring for the company on LinkedIn in the hopes that it may lead to something positive. My instincts rang true, and I very soon received an invitation to interview with the company.

For someone who was still seeking my voice, my source of confidence, I walked into the interview gripped with insecurity and apprehension, hoping my abilities matched up in this corporate world yet excited at the prospects of working for a Canadian company with the opportunity to grow and of course, practice my English! My interviewer immediately set me at ease and I was able to sail through the technically focused assessment. This felt right. It seemed like Blanc Labs was going to be a good fit for me. Two interviews later, in August 2017, I joined the team as a junior software engineer.

When I think about the experience of being interviewed at the company, there were 5 things that I would recommend to anyone looking to begin their career in technology:

  1. If you’re still in university, apply for internships and get real world experience
  2. Focus on courses where you can enhance your technical skills
  3. Research the company, the industry and the basics in technology
  4. Work on your communication skills – there’s no point knowing things if you can’t effectively communicate them
  5. Develop an openness to learn and a curiosity about those things that you don’t already know

Hello Blanc Labs!

From almost the very beginning, I was given opportunities to execute on projects and to present the results to members of the leadership team of the company, which I admit, was nerve wrecking. Breaking those barriers was important. I was not sure of anything but I was learning a lot and that truly built my confidence. Blanc Labs has been so empowering for me: the learning, the certifications, the opportunity to work with clients, the teamwork – my work family really.

As my projects progressed, I found that I enjoyed being more involved – playing a role in the decision-making process in the architectural discussions with the client. I am usually a shy person, but when I am at work, I am someone else entirely. I have the urge to communicate my thoughts and to debate them with my team. It is this empowerment that inspires me to grow further.

The reason for my drive

The pride for my work is marked by my ability to make a difference. I think what we do is useful for the world, and we are changing how people do things. That is very powerful, and I appreciate that I am a part of it – that I am contributing to it.

My core values span responsibility and respect and that translates in everything I do and the goals that I set out to accomplish. My inspiration? Family. My mother is the person I admire the most in this world. Working to make a beautiful life for her is what drives me. When I work and when I speak to my clients about solutions, the feeling that I can do more pushes me to grow further – that is how it all comes together.

My growth at Blanc Labs is attributed to the very same things that made me successful in my interview: communication skills, curiosity and the willingness to learn and apply that knowledge.

Adventures in travel

My journey at Blanc Labs led to a visit to the Canadian office, which had very memorable moments. I always thought I was fairly soft spoken. I think in LATAM, we speak in much louder tones compared to my fellow Canadian team members. I walked into the office and went around saying ‘Hi!’, in what I thought was a regular tone, but everyone seemed to almost whisper back. It was at that moment that I realized – maybe I had a loud voice! I’m not sure if everyone noticed, but it was really funny!

In LATAM, we greet each other with hugs (pre pandemic of course), but in Toronto, I had no idea what protocol was, so I started to do this awkward wave versus reaching over for a hug because I didn’t know how people said “hi” in Canada. I still chuckle at the vision of myself emphatically waving ‘the Canadian wave’.

Canada would not be the only place I would travel to with Blanc Labs. As the company evolved, I found myself to be the sole team member in Venezuela. I remember an eventful meeting where the question of relocation was brought up. My manager asked me if I would like to go to Colombia and I responded, “Yeah, okay!” Two days later the leadership team asked me that question again and one week after that, I was on a flight, moving to Bogota, Colombia! It was done so quickly!
What helped through the transition? People at the office. It was so much easier knowing that there were people who cared about my wellbeing and who helped me transition to this new environment. We consider ourselves a work family and that made settling into the new city more enjoyable.

Expanding my horizons

Today, I lead a thriving life in Bogota, spending my time with friends, playing ping pong, and now, truly finding my voice through my new hobby, music! I was looking for a new interest and a friend told me that she thought I’d be able to sing so I tried it out and now I am enrolled in singing classes. My passion for learning and the urge to attempt new things seeps into every aspect of my life.

As I progress through this eventful and joyful path, I can’t help but think back on the journey I’ve taken from that small city on the outskirts of Caracas, to the bustling virtual life of navigating and leading digital transformations that have global implications. I feel that I have truly found my voice, through my work and my artistic (musical) expression. I am determined to channel this energy to reach new frontiers in our collective growth and success.

Discover more about the people and culture at Blanc Labs!

Nadia Bastidas
Sr Software Developer

Nadia is a Sr Software Developer with Blanc Labs in Colombia.