Femme #6: Valeria
What do you do for work now?
I develop and execute marketing strategies for the chemicals and healthcare departments of an international market research and consulting firm. In our team, we call ourselves “marketing ninjas” as there are only four of us overseeing content management, email marketing, webinars, public relations, branding, and more, all on the global scale.
What is the path you took to get to where you are now?
I moved to the Czech Republic when I turned eighteen. Before that day I have never been abroad. It was quite a challenge to settle down in a new country where you’ve nobody to ask for help. But it was my first very own adventure. I decided to study in English. This allowed me to go on student exchange program to San Sebastian, find an internship and eventually a full-time position in Prague. If I were to give one piece of advice to those who have just relocated, it would be to live the student life, get all the weird jobs and attend workshops and networking events. Your future self will thank you for your improved social and communication skills.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned along your way?
When you work in a fast-paced environment, perfection doesn’t exist. Certainly, you want your project to be the most accurate and professional-looking. But in many cases, the speed of the response is more important than the details.
Don’t be afraid to look stupid. The idea of looking stupid or being misunderstood stops us from growing. Self-doubt is a natural thing. We need to learn to pull ourselves together and ask questions or speak up at meetings. And, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Tip: don’t forget to reward yourself after each small success.
Stop beating yourself up and overthinking. It’s a fact that there are thousands of people who do the same thing as you and they may be even better. Just accept it and continue learning, experimenting and challenging yourself with new projects. Look up to people for inspiration, but stop comparing or doubting your work or talent.
What does your typical workday look like? Have you developed any routines or habits to stay productive?
The teams I work with are based in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific. So it takes time to coordinate our projects. Thus, my workday is built around team meetings and a number of newly-released products.
I leave tasks requiring creative thinking and writing for my “holy” home office day. When I feel stuck I switch on the music loud, dance and restart the right-brain functions.
I like to sketch things on paper, be it a press release or an infographic. It helps me see the overall picture of the final result and a logical progression of ideas.
Also, I save at least 30 minutes a day for learning. Coursera, Codecademy, Udemy, and Youtube are my best friends. This month, I am planning to go through all the Design Exercises Weekly.
Do you have any side-hustles? How do you divide your time among your different roles?
Side hustles are good for your wallet and your experience, and I rarely refuse any. Last year, I worked on investment proposals and pitch decks for a catering company and a pop-up bistro. I also helped with marketing an online marketplace. Hopefully, this fall I will take over marketing for one of the local vegan restaurants. Despite that, if my friends ask for help with customer service or some manual work in their firms, I am happy to help. Some people refuse to do these things due to their “status”, but I enjoy changing the environment and exploring other professions.
How do you know it is time to move on from a particular job or project?
I have a simple recipe: put a sticky note on your desk. Every day before leaving your desk, put a “tick” if you feel fulfilled and “zero” if not. At the end of the month calculate the result and decide if it’s time to update your CV and move on.
Who has inspired you and helped you in your journey till now?
My mother always has a wise and simple advice to help me in challenging situations. When I am feeling nervous, she always says, “Just do it! The worst thing that may happen is that you’ll get rejected. But it won’t be the first time nor the last one.” And, that is so true! Why not try to apply for your dream job, grants, ask for a reference or invite a special person to go out with you? Remember, you will always regret not trying for more than you will regret failing.
What brought you to Femme Palette? What has been your experience till now and expectations of the community?
It was my colleague, Belen, who suggested that I join the platform. At first, I loved the idea of meeting new people and gaining skills from the different fields. Now, I am in the community for just a couple of months and I already feel like I met more people than in the last year. Everyone is very friendly and supportive, and there is no awkwardness in starting a conversation as we share the same values. I already see how friendships and professional collaborations are being formed through the platform. Definitely, with such a high concentration of motivated and inspiring woman, I hope to see new projects and business collaborations emerging out of Femme Palette soon.
Go-to productivity tools/apps: Google Keep. The rest goes to my Google calendar and an old-school hardcover notebook.
Favorite blogs/podcasts you’d recommend: Girl Boss Media, Vice UK, Dazed.
The woman you look up to and why:
Business: Miroslava Duma (CEO and Founder, Future Tech Lab). Miroslava has transformed from being a street-fashion star to the founder of Future Tech Lab, a company that combines fashion and science to create a more sustainable industry.
Tech: Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof (Founder, Bitnation). Susanne is an intelligent, brave, and out-of-the-box thinker who builds an alternative to the current nation-state system. Watch her TED Talk.
Charity: Natalia Vodianova (Founder, Naked Heart Foundation). Natalia uses her fame and connections to help disadvantaged families. She has a great sense of humor and we come from the same place.