HITEC Member Featured Story - Camila Casale, Chief Marketing Officer, Softtek US & Canada
Monday, June 19, 2017
Posted by: Salina Rivera
HITEC Member, Camila Casale, is our focus for this month's feature story.
Camila Casale is the Chief Marketing Officer, U.S. Canada, at Softtek, which is a global provider of process-driven IT solutions with 30 offices in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Living Outside the Comfort Zone, and Embracing Failure
Camila Casale /Chief Marketing Officer, Softtek USA & Canada
June 19, 2017
Business leaders and management alike agree it’s important to go outside your comfort zone. Otherwise, you lose focus, fall behind the competition and stop learning. Experts also agree you need to be able to fail, and to encourage the people you manage to fail in pursuit of a goal. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on creative new solutions and innovative thinking.
And while failing is all right, it’s important to have a process/methodology in place so we can learn from those failures (what we did wrong and what we did right!), otherwise we fail and we get nothing out of it.
Since we all agree these things are important, I'll jump right into sharing my thoughts on how to achieve these goals, both for yourself and your teams.
I'll begin by sharing a brief personal story of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning that failure can be ok.
When I was in my early 20s, recently graduated with my MBA and living in my home town of Buenos Aires, I had an opportunity to take a job that was – on paper at least – way over my head and required I move to France. Out of my comfort zone? Absolutely. And, while I was confident in my abilities and believed in myself, I knew failure was a possibility.
I took the job. However, making that decision took more than confidence and belief in myself. It required the confidence and belief of others in me – of my family and my mentors from the university I attended who told me, “You can do this.” And who, when asked, “But what if I fail?,” just shrugged and said, “Well, then you’ll do something else.”
As my career has progressed since that early decision (and by the way, I didn’t fail, and spent two incredible years in France and Europe, learned a great deal about the business and myself and met amazing friends and colleagues), to my current role as the Chief Marketing Officer for Softtek USA and Canada, I’ve made it a priority to stay outside my comfort zone and to constantly push myself to learn new things. Which, in my world, is essential. As the tech services space becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, my team and I cannot simply rely on traditional ways of doing things, and we can’t try new things simply because they’re new. We have to constantly focus on programs that have an impact, and that we as a team can continually evaluate and improve.
As I’ve taken on management responsibilities and oversee a team of innovative individuals and creative thinkers, I’ve tried to create an environment that encourages everyone to:
- Value the ideas of others
One practical challenge we face is, like many other organizations, our marketing team is largely remote, so we have to make sure we are leveraging technology to enable effective collaboration. I’ve also initiated a mentorship program at Softtek designed to help my team members set specific goals and to give us a formal feedback mechanism. I think this is important, because we are all so busy that without some kind of structure that communication and feedback can fall through the cracks.
However, one lesson I've learned from all this is that it’s important to surround yourself with individuals that believe in you. Every day, I learn and benefit from an incredible network of colleagues – like my leader, Marcos Jimenez, CEO, Softtek North America, and my amazing friend and mentor, Myrna Soto, Corporate SVP Chief Technology Risk Officer & Global CISO – who constantly challenge, encourage and motivate me to stay outside my comfort zone, and who are always willing to listen to my ideas and to share theirs.
Organizations like HITEC provide that forum and opportunity to communicate, as well as to seize the initiative of leadership and to build even more momentum. To give you an example, at the last HITEC Miami Summit in 2016, I was invited by my dear friends from Accenture, Nellie Borrero and Rocio Lopez, to speak at a Women Breakfast their company sponsors. That experience inspired me to found WITech Miami Council, a group focused on connecting, advancing and empowering women from different nationalities and technological backgrounds to advance & succeed in tech.
I believe such programs are critical, not just for developing new talent and the leaders of tomorrow, but for keeping today’s leaders out of their comfort zone by helping them to stay engaged, curious and relevant.