“All my life I have had to fight against the status quo”

Telecommunications engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. After finishing her degree, she went to Germany where she began her career at HP as a hardware development engineer. Two years later, she moved into the more business area of ​​printing and graphic arts.

After 18 years of professional life at HP and a professional journey through the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain, the opportunity arose for him to lead a new line of digital printing for a German graphic arts company. A position that took her in less than a year to be the printing director of the company where she spent 5 years.

Currently, the professional is CEO of ALSO Cloud Spain, a Swiss technology wholesaler with a worldwide turnover of 12.4 billion euros per year. Their challenge is to evangelize about the cloud among partners with many doses of empathy, communication and optimal time management. At MCPRO we have had the opportunity to interview her.

[MCPRO] Tell us about your professional career, how was the path to lead ALSO Cloud Spain?

[Montserrat Peidró] My career has been the result of not saying no to anything. Although it seems difficult and you have never done it, I think I have managed to get to where I am because I have made many decisions, all of them apparently correct.

I studied Telecommunications Engineering in Barcelona. When I finished my degree I went to Germany with a scholarship and I think it was one of the best decisions of my life. Leaving our country and discovering another way of understanding life and business. After 18 years at HP, I could see how my future lay more in projects and management. More than being in the cave, I liked the business; being able to deal with people and customers.

From there I made the leap to a graphic arts company where I was offered the opportunity to lead a new digital printing business and then become a director. In the 5 years that I was there I saw very few women and I even perceived the much more conservative German mentality in terms of equality and conciliation policies. At a given moment, I decided to end this stage and return to Spain. A month later the CEO of Also contacted me to offer me this position. A project that they wanted to start in Spain and that I loved from the beginning.

[MCPRO] What are the biggest challenges you face as CEO?

[Montserrat Peidró] When it comes to being in charge of a direction, I think there are several important challenges. The most important is managing people. In the end, one of your functions is to direct and manage a team in which each one has a story, experience and talent behind them. It is not possible to apply the same criteria to everyone and that is necessary to understand and know how to manage it.

The second challenge is to fight against the status quo of oneself and of others. Although I think that in Spain we have a more open mind, many people fall into the “this is not done that way”, “Here we do not do things that way”, or “we have never done it that way”. It is a way of limiting oneself with which we have to fight, much more women who have it much more internalized, and we are afraid or ashamed to start new projects or ideas.

It is a great challenge that I have had to fight all my life. At this point, women have many more challenges as we limit ourselves more. It’s a shame because there is a lot of female talent that suffers from a complex, high expectations, self-criticism or excessive perfectionism that leaves us out.

We are not able to value what we do as if men do it more naturally. Lastly, time management. It seems very superficial, but it really is essential. Because if as a manager or professional you are able to control time, know how to dedicate the appropriate time to each task and prioritize or put aside certain tasks, you will be successful.

[MCPRO] Managerial positions in technology are held mostly by men. What do you think it is due to?

[Montserrat Peidró] Since we are born there is a non-conscious programming for sociological reasons. However, there is also a motivational component. Each one of us has some tastes and that also makes us tend to one or the other option.

Still, there is also a perception problem. It is not well explained what each race is for and that makes it not attract attention. Even so, it is a reality that the percentage of women in STEM careers is very low and that is also reflected in companies.

The issue of self-limitation, mentioned above, is also key when it comes to reaching management positions. In addition, many women decide to reconcile or dedicate themselves to their family at the most critical moment of their professional career. And although it is very lawful, it is a much higher percentage than that of men who consider the same. Another reason is unconscious gender bias. Normally you tend to trust what you know best, and a man knows a man best.

[MCPRO] Do you think that technological training is key to attain IT management positions or, on the contrary, is experience worth more?

[Montserrat Peidró] That you have studied a STEM career does not mean that you can be an IT manager. In fact, it doesn’t have to be that way and the best example is our CEO, Gustavo Möller-Hergt, who has no technological background.

However, affinity with the subject is essential. From there the experience will give you points, but without that motivation for technology it will not be possible to go further. Still, technology management also needs a dose of creativity, inspiration, thinking outside the box
or communication.

[MCPRO] What recommendations would you give to any woman with aspirations for IT management positions or who does not dare with this sector?

[Montserrat Peidró] The most important is that they do not limit themselves. Let them forget about fear or shame because they can have it too, but they won’t show it. And it is that we all have the same fears, but we have to be able to overcome them.

To those who are hesitant with technology, I would tell them to open their eyes and look around them. The world is technology and to enter this sector is to be part of this world. It’s not something to be scared of. To those who aspire to a managerial position, I would ask what do you have to lose by choosing that role?

If there are things in the answer that you are not willing to lose under any circumstances, don’t do it, but
if you have more to gain, you have nothing to lose. If you have half an ounce of interest, I would give it a try because in these positions you realize how truly crucial we are to society and
how we can show a different way of dealing with problems. We can complement and help to have a diverse perspective for everything.

Check here the rest of the interviews that we include in «Get to know them: women who run technology in Spain»

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