In the tech world, I’ve progressed from product lifecycle roles to co-founding and leading a startup as CEO. My next move was into agile and product management consulting, deepening my understanding of corporate complexities. Now, as Melior AI’s COO, I’m leveraging these experiences in the AI industry.

Our company was also selected as part of Tech Nation’s Libra cohort, aimed at supporting underrepresented startup founders. And of course, My journey is also shaped by my Brazilian roots and being a mum.

Can you tell us about yourself, your background, and your current role?

I’ve been through quite a journey in the tech world, wearing different hats throughout. Starting in product life cycle roles, I’ve dabbled in everything from discovery to delivery, and I’ve honed my skills in managing products, projects, and teams. My adventure included co-founding a startup and serving as its CEO, where I got my hands dirty with leadership, shaping company culture, and strategising through constant changes.

Post that, I switched gears to work as an agile and product management consultant. It was an eye-opener, giving me a peek into the complexities large companies face and how they manage at scale. Now, as the COO of Melior AI, I’m taking all these experiences and putting them to work. It’s fascinating to be part of the AI industry, with all its unique challenges and opportunities. It keeps me learning and growing every day.

And, of course, my journey was influenced by my Brazilian roots and being a mum. These aspects of my identity deeply influence my perspective and approach in the tech space, blending unique experiences with the professional roles I undertake.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Initially, I was the worst kind of planner, married to the plan to the point of self-destruction. This changed in my late 20s, after balancing my academic life with running a company full-time. I’ve since learned that the plan isn’t as important as planning. Looking back, I’ve changed my plan so much; every five years, there’s a new cycle. Now, there’s no ultimate goal for me, but rather finding fulfilment in what I do.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way, and how did you overcome these?

Definitely. I’ve grappled with imposter syndrome, fear of failure, and not knowing when to stop and accept defeat. But I’ve become comfortable with acknowledging what didn’t work. I think startups, often seen as a young person’s game, could greatly benefit from people with more life responsibilities and experience. In the media, I find there’s a gap in representing the reality of success stories, and age bias is a bigger problem than many realise.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest career achievement has been realising that I was a COO with the right scope to grow. It contrasted with my previous role as a CEO, where I felt I had to know everything off the bat. My current role allows me to be immersed in all parts of the business and grow more comprehensively as a leader.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I would say resilience. The belief that I can overcome challenges has been crucial. Looking back, I can see how far I’ve come. I also believe that being a mother has made me a better COO and vice versa. This role has taught me patience and the ability to accept imperfection.

What top tips would you give to an individual trying to excel in their career in technology?

My top advice is to embrace your uniqueness while balancing it with professionalism. There’s no one-size-fits-all in tech, so being authentic is key. However, it’s equally important to keep a laser focus on your tasks and goals. Prejudices and stereotypes are real, but don’t let them define or derail you. Concentrate on what you’re here to do.

Also, more broadly speaking from a business/product perspective, be specific in your approach – target very particular problems and audiences. Trying to cover too much ground can spread you thin and be detrimental.

What barriers for women working in tech are still to be overcome?

In tech, women still face considerable challenges. The most pressing issue is the scarcity of opportunities and support. There’s a need for a stronger focus on educating and inspiring the next generation of women in tech. To see a real change, systemic reforms are what we need. These changes should not only create but also help to protect equal opportunity.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

To back the careers of women, companies need to step up with clear maternity and work-life balance policies. It’s about making sure we don’t miss a beat in our career progression or security when life calls for attention elsewhere.

But it’s also more than that. We need a support system that works for everyone. Flexibility in work arrangements with a genuine understanding of what challenges women face are key. This way, we’re not just helping women but creating a better, more inclusive workplace for everyone.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

To boost gender diversity in tech, we should start by making opportunities for women the norm, full stop. That begins with raising awareness among girls and young women about tech careers from an early age. Let’s aim for gender-balanced teams as the standard, not just a gesture.

I’d like to see startups with resources to lead this charge, providing young women with the skills to ace interviews and excel in their jobs. And the support shouldn’t stop there; we need to continue nurturing their growth throughout their careers.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I recommend “How to be a Chief Operating Officer” by Jennifer Geary to any startup founder, not only COOs, as the book gives a very good overview of all the different hats one wears (and sometimes, knit) to run a start-up.

Also, if you are developing products, you need to put your customers at the heart of it. Steve Portigal’s “Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights” shares very interesting stories and lessons on how the need for some incredible products was discovered and most importantly, validated.

Finally, I think we should mirror and support initiatives such as Code First Girl. Have a look at their work and be inspired.

About Melior

Melior AI’s platform makes it easy and fast for businesses to classify, understand, review and find legal and business documents, 90% of which are currently unstructured. You can find out more about what we do in detail here too in our media kit.

Read more from our inspirational women here.