Amparo Calderón Sr Project Manager of BlueTC
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Name: Amparo Calderon
Position: Senior Project Manager at BlueTC
Date of birth: 8-9-1962 Sons: two
Hobbies: pop music, bike riding, swimming, traveling with my husband and children (if they sign up)
Studies: Telecommunications Engineer UPM
Interview with Amparo Calderón, Senior Project Manager at BlueTC
How did you get into the ICT world?
I have always tried to be faithful to my studies, so when looking for a job I always had an ICT company as my objective. That’s how I came to Ericsson, where my manager Miguel Arenas believed in me, becoming the first female engineer at the Ericsson factory in Spain (Madrid), together with my partner Vicky, a fellow student. We are talking about October 1987.
It seems that my relationship with ICT and/or technology was written because in all honesty I have to say that my first job contributing to Social Security was at Christmas at El Corte Inglés – Electronics Fair –, to get some money while studying.
What do you value most about your job at BlueTC?
One of the most important things in life is to be “hungry to know”, to satisfy one’s curiosity, so my work allows me to be always in the latest trends, forming part of the change, of what our children are going to use in the 21st century and later. This, surrounded by an international environment, allows a certain exchange of cultures in the technological world, very enriching for any person.
In your opinion, what is wrong so that women do not bet more on the study of STEM careers?
Women are more humanistic, we created the world in which most families live, where our priority is not usually innovation, but protection, while men, on the other hand, are more “curious”, less attached.
Access to STEM is there for everyone equally. So I would say that on equal terms, a matter of taste rules, where gender also has something to say. And of course, as in everything in life, there are always exceptions.
I perceive it as a natural genetic situation, not a cultural one. Not everything can be attributed to parity or non-parity, or derived from the historical positioning of men against women.
But in another order of things, I put on the table the importance of education, of the influence on students and how fundamental it is to avoid teachers in the cloisters of schools and institutes that generate “fear/hate” of mathematics or physics or any other science subject. Teachers should be catalysts of interest in these subjects and the vast majority end up becoming true inhibitors of STEM vocations. We need fewer civil servants and more entrepreneurs.
The impact on young people to provoke the “I want to be like…” should be enhanced in schools. In addition to conferences, forums, etc. to promote STEM, you have to go to institutes to motivate students. Most ICT companies have in their ranks technological references that should be made visible in schools and institutes to provoke that “I want to be like…” And obviously, if those references are female, much better.
Do you think there is a “glass ceiling” in ICT companies? What should be the solution?
I have developed my professional career in mostly Scandinavian companies, where I have not known glass ceilings. On the other hand, I have been able to see that this ceiling is present in Spanish working life. We talk about what has happened equal opportunity deficit.
From my point of view, it is difficult to fight against what existed 20 years ago and that had been part of our culture for years and years, which is not only going to change with forced parity in the Steering Committees. It goes further, training and opportunities must provide that parity, making it a habitual fact, neither forced nor punctual.
Around 2005-2010 Spain begins to be more equal. The university generations of those years start from the base with this culture (equal opportunities) and will become executives/managers, without ceilings of any kind 20-25 years after those beginnings at the university. It’s closer now! But we still have to work on it.
In short, the solution to the glass ceiling is to get the growth rate right, cultivating and providing real opportunities promotion and training for men and women alike.
Can a quota policy solve the problem?
The women who are now in management positions had to work and show much more than men to reach them, losing many opportunities in terms of training, preparation and promotion to management positions. A quota policy would go against productivity. It serves worth and equality of opportunity and not quotas per se.
What difficulties did you encounter to get to the position you currently have?
Shortage of good opportunities, I would say. A train passed in my life where I did not get on a managerial position and there have been no later ones, of that level.
Apart from this one that I mention, the world economic crises have not helped anyone. In my case, specifically, the one from the beginning of the 21st century and the one from 2012, which in both cases placed me in the “exit” position in each one of them, having to open the way again, always with work, effort and demonstrating, demonstrating, demonstrating.
What do you value most about BlueTC regarding the integration of women?
I highly appreciate that there are female positions on the BlueTC Management Committee. Specifically analyzing my situation, position and role, I summarize it with the word “trust”. Trust and treatment that shows BLUE Telecom not doubting at any time the potential of its employees, regardless of gender and age.
35% of students do not manage to finish high school or the equivalent vocational training. Is education the problem of the lack of specialized profiles?
It is clearly a problem of education, but also (and I underline it) a cultural problem of our society. The easy life, longing for “balls” and lack of effort as a general value in our lives.
Have the studies you did helped you to carry out your current work?
Undoubtedly!!. My studies have helped me to continue in my working life, despite my age and the challenges I have had to be reborn in each economic crisis. This and, logically, the ability to adapt to each situation and company in which I have had the opportunity to work.
Solve the problem of education in Spain…
Less homework for children so they can play, get bored and develop creativity.
We have an archaic curriculum, which should tend to be friendlier, teach true teamwork, teach how to present…, in short, modernize and update with the times and carry out a drastic revision of content. Let’s see if we can instill in our children that the tree in my town may not be so important, even if it appears in the books.
If you had to advise a young person what to study in order to obtain a stable job future, where would you guide them?
This will depend on the skills and tastes of each one. I would encourage you to think and meditate on what professional future your studies will offer you. That he values the effort that is going to take him and if he is going to be happy when he achieves it. It is very important to know that if I aspire to be a doctor and pass out with blood, I may get frustrated and not end up throwing away illusions, money and time. And without a doubt, from my point of view, choosing the technological sector would be a good option.
“We have an archaic curriculum, which should tend to be more friendly, teach real teamwork”
Where do you think the ICT sector is going? In your opinion, what are the trends that are really going to transform society?
New trends lead to leaving the comfort zone and accepting new challenges with enthusiasm and a smile.
Digitization is seriously needed. This has facilitated remote technical work in general: remote access and configuration of equipment, remote operations, etc. avoiding unnecessary trips and transfers, for example. In addition, our world of predictions and anticipation of user behavior is leading us to make data processing and management a pillar of our society of progress and well-being.
AI, automation, robotics, do you really believe that the future passes through people?
The future is people in search of happiness. Human evolution is achieved because we are able to adapt to what is coming. That’s the future: user experience. Therefore, we will work to improve the quality of jobs, the productivity of employees and the well-being of society.
Why not let robotics and automation settle in factories, in everyday life? We already have it in such common things as bikes/scooters/electric cars, food processors, weather satellites, credit cards on cell phones, person fall detectors.
Everything that we are capable of imagining is what we have left to invent. New horizons of research are opening up, where we men can dedicate ourselves to seeking improvements in all areas, while machines do “the routine”. This is digitization, automation, artificial intelligence, etc., innovation in short.
And all this always under the framework of the professional ethics.