Luisa Arango, a Principal Consultant at Luxoft, USA, was the first person to open an Excelian office in Mexico and moved to the United States the same year. Professionally, she is a financial engineer with an MBA. In 2017, she launched a blog “Finanzas Mujeres” (Finance for Women) using The Medium Platform.
Luisa Fernanda Arango Arcila works as a Principal Consultant at Luxoft USA. This lady started her career at the company a year and a half ago. She has been the first person to open the Excelian office in Mexico. Speaking professionally, Luisa is a finance engineer, who also has an MBA. For the last nine years, she has been working with Murex projects for consulting groups, financial institutions, and banks in Mexico, Colombia, and now in the USA, including BBVA, Santander, Accenture, Bancolombia, and KPMG. Luisa has experience supporting trading desk, risk, and back-office processes. She creates pre-sales presentations and conducts workshops and trainings. Luisa established the blog “Finanzas Mujeres”(Finance for Women) , in 2017 using The Medium Platform. Luisa always focuses her message on women in the finance sector because she believes that women need help to become financially independent. Luisa likes the phrase, “The value of the money is made by our decisions” because she thinks it is important to talk about the experience of leading finance as a woman. What inspired Luisa to become an IT Ambassador was the ability to speak about her career, about her experience, and her blog. Her advice to us is to be focused and believe in ourselves. Luisa thinks that when we believe in ourselves, we are capable of anything. She also shares that it is good to create habits that allow us to lead by example, learn, talk with other women and share our journey. According to Luisa, it is important to make our ideas heard, as sometimes we feel very shy when we talk, but we need to express ourselves and gain confidence that we can lead a good team.
“I always focus my messages to women about finance, because I think we need help to be independent. Financial independence should be a priority for everyone, but there is a huge difference, when you talk about women.”
Can you tell us about yourself and your experience?
Hello, I am Luisa. I am from Colombia, I am 33 years old, and I am a mother. Professionally, I am a finance engineer, and I have an MBA. For the last nine years, I have been working for Murex projects for consulting groups, financial institutions, and banks in Mexico, Colombia, and now here in the USA, including BBVA, Santander, Accenture, Bancolombia, and KPMG. I have experience supporting trading desk, risk, and back-office processes. I create pre-sales presentations and conduct workshops and training. I design new financial products and make
the configuration inside the product environment to meet the client’s needs. I also support upgrade projects – when you need to migrate from one version to another – and currently, I am most experienced in the Market and Credit Risk area. I started my career at Luxoft 1.5 years ago, and I was the first person who opened the Excelian office in Mexico. This year, I have moved to the USA and continued working for the Murex practice.
From your experienced perspective, how do the worlds of business finance and womanhood overlap?
I started the blog “Finanzas Mujeres”, Finance for Women, in 2017 using The Medium Platform. I always focus my message towards women on finance because we need help to become financially independent. Financial independence should be a priority for everyone, but there is a huge difference when you talk about women. A financially independent woman is better for the world, as she can make better decisions, contribute to society, choose the life that she wants, and make a difference. I like the phrase, “The value of the money is made by our decisions”, and it is important to talk about the experience of leading finance as a woman.
Luisa, can you tell us what inspired you to become an ambassador, and how do you want to develop your role in the future?
I was inspired to become an ambassador because I can speak about my career, about my experience, about my blog. In this role, I would like to lead by example, show that we have a voice, and share my personal experience on managing personal finances. Women are transforming the finance industry with our work and our leadership, and there are more women involved in IT careers, women who are interested in studying and working in IT. It is good to encourage these women to join us and be more involved in these projects. I think more women
must be included, and it is important to listen to their perception of the IT and finance industries and how we can manage our work and life. I would like to share information on how to work in financial IT and how we can win a space here, as well as how to become a financially independent woman.
What does a fully diverse and inclusive workplace look like to you?
For me, a fully diverse and inclusive workplace is a workplace where everyone is treated equally and with respect –men and women are equal. An inclusive space allows professional and personal development. Men and women should have the same capacities, rights, and opportunities. Luxoft does not have barriers; I do not feel any barriers between men and women in the Vendor Solutions practice.
Read More Inspiring Stories for Women in Tech in WRTech here.
Can you share any personal experiences in which equal gender representation resulted in new success?
In the United States and Canada, the number of women working in Vendor Solutions is only 15%, but in the Mexicooffice, we have more women – 50% – working for the Vendor Solutions practice than in other parts of Luxoft. This is a good example, this number of women working in the VS practice shows we have a good profile and that we lead by example. My teammates are super talented, and they are always looking for something new to learn that will generate ideas. All of us, Latin-American girls, some of those are moving to Mexico from Colombia to work. It is a good example that our office in Mexico is growing with female employees. When we have such a space, it allows us to become an example on other fronts and attract more talent.
What do you think Luxoft could do to increase the number of women in IT projects or in management positions?
I think that first of all, we need to promote the teaching of leadership and business management for women. We need to create more focus groups like “She Code” that promote programming among women, providing them the opportunity to learn IT skills and to be more involved in IT projects. In most cases, when we are children, our parents do not teach us how to use a computer or tell us to study programming. We start learning over our journey. We can run initiatives that encourage women to join programming careers and get involved in creating startups, apps, etc.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership roles?
You need to be focused and believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you are capable of anything. It is good to create habits that allow us to lead by example, learn, and talk with other women and share our journey. It is important to make your ideas heard, as sometimes we feel very shy when we talk, but we need to express ourselves, gain confidence that we can lead a good team. We should not be afraid.
How do you manage your professional and personal lives to be successful in both?
In 2020, I became a mom. I have a 9-month old daughter. With the pandemic and working from home, it was challenging to manage our time and stay with the baby. As a mother, you have to be very organized. You have to create a good schedule, establish a routine with your baby, and be patient, as no day is the same. You need to prioritize things, as you cannot cover everything at once, and when you can get by the computer, you need to be very focused. We also need to take care of ourselves, as when becoming a mom, we often forget about ourselves as women. Every day is a new challenge, and I am constantly looking for the best way to get things done. I think that every day must be lived, and you need to make sure that every minute with yourself or your family counts.
What has inspired you recently?
One book that inspired me this year was “Educated“ by Tara Westover. I identified myself with the protagonist of this story 100%. Tara shares her story of how education transformed her life, allowed her to change her mentality, and to grow and reach heights she had never thought of before. She had problems with her family and religion-based issues, but when she decided to start her education, she found another world that she was not aware of. I love the way she created the story and explained how she found her own voice: “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” Your life cannot be narrated by someone else; don’t let others speak for you. I believe that we must all find our own voice and make ourselves heard. For me, education is crucial for men and women. Without it, we are lost. It is the only tool we have to break barriers.
“We can run initiatives that encourage women to join programming careers and get involved in creating startups, apps, etc.”
High heels or flat shoes?
Which typical female quality or household responsibility does not apply to you?
I don’t like to put make up on.
What is THE thing that you must have in your bag when going out?
Favourite lipstick colour?
I don’t use lipstick.
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