Berta Herrero caught our eyes - DevTalks Romania

Berta Herrero caught our eyes

Berta Herrero, the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Huawei Europe will join us between the 21st nd 22nd of June at DevTalks, on the Women In Tech Stage. Before meeing her, let’s get to know her better.

# Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

Since my bio is publicly available, let me take this opportunity to talk about ‘the person behind the title’: As a woman coming from a village in rural Spain, I have always been wide aware of my origins, and of how hard I have had to fight to get where I am. My own experiences have led me to grow into a leader whose main goal is to lift others. I know the value of things, and that is why I have a strong sense of social contribution – a mission to help others. On top of this, I am a curious mind with a great array of interests: from equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging to new technologies and global collaboration for the benefit of humanity. I am also passionate about the theory and practice of European integration, with a dedicated commitment towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, a beautiful country that is very dear to my heart. After a career in journalism and several years in the European Parliament, today I am privileged to work at a leading global tech company which is at the forefront of innovation, and whose mission of leaving no one behind inspires and nurtures great minds across more than 170 countries worldwide.

# What is the favourite part of your job?

Empowering others. Each person has unique talents that, if properly identified and supported, can be turned into powerful skills that can help them advance their careers, unlock new levels. I am committed to helping others unleash their full potential. I truly enjoy giving, seeing others succeed, and ultimately supporting others in living happier, more fulfilled, and more meaningful lives.

# Do you have any advice for aspiring tech people who want to grow in the tech industry?

As in any other industry, showing leadership abilities is extremely important when aiming to move up. My advice in a few words: be proactive and creative, speak up, sit in the first row, and always be two steps ahead. Furthermore, with emerging technologies coming into our lives every year, in the tech sector it is particularly important to stay up-to-date: read, learn, upskill. Don’t see education as a one-off thing that you did when you were “young” – embrace lifelong learning and dare to embark in different areas of knowledge – even in those who you thought were not “for you”. Challenge yourself. Keep a curious attitude. But always do it for yourself, having fun along the way and stopping from time to time to cherish your progress. See growth as an enjoyable journey, not as a stressful to-do item.

# If you could invent any piece of technology that doesn't currently exist, what would it be and why?

This is my Hogwarts alumna spirit speaking, but I’d love to have something like Dumbledore’s pensieve – where beautiful memories could be stored and revisited, and where not-so-beautiful ones could be consciously disposed. This could help human beings take some of that paralysing weight off their shoulders (let’s think about victims of gender-based violence, for example), while allowing them to replay instead cherished moments of happiness.

And as we are speaking about magic, I take this opportunity to recommend everyone to read fiction. As our economies become more competitive, people tend to prioritise reading non-fiction, as they see it as the quickest way of absorbing knowledge. It might well be, but we shall not forget that creativity is the seed of innovation. Creative minds take much of their inspiration from fiction, and I include myself there. Every time we welcome a new class of students at our Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age, they tell me how incredible it was for them to receive the letter of acceptance from the European Leadership Academy. And I always think: as a kid, I dreamt about receiving the Hogwarts letter, like Harry Potter or Hermione Granger. I never did, of course – but as an adult, I turned my inspiration into a real school that, much like Hogwarts, feels like home for a lot of incredibly talented young minds who are bound to lead us into a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future. I couldn’t make my dream come true for myself, but I made it true for others – and I will always be proud of that. We owe much of our success to the writers that inspire us.

# What about your hobbies/passions outside your work?

I love travelling, reading, writing and practising yoga. I believe that finding space for oneself is one of the biggest achievements we can accomplish as individuals in the 20th century, and enhancing our knowledge while expanding our horizons is the ultimate stairway to growth and fulfilment. Nurturing our souls is the first step to being able to give to others. I always encourage my team members and my students to prioritise self-care, for that only when we feel well, we are able to give the best of us – and this impacts everything, from academic success to work performance, and even determines how healthy our relationships are.

# If you could switch careers with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

I’d choose to be President, of course. And you would ask: President of what? Of where? Just President. Not for the sake of holding a position, but for the sake of using that position to help others. Having the power to improve people’s lives is simply a gift that no one should take for granted, or ever abuse. It’s a privilege that people entrust you with – whether it’s citizens, a company board, or just a group of people who chose to unite in order to defend a cause. I would like to give back and do what is needed for those who need it, after listening to them. And I say this here also with the aim of leading the way, of making other women feel bold enough to express their ambitions and wishes too. It’s time for us women to say out loud: I-want-to-be-President! It’s time to embrace our ambition, and to make our mark in this world without shame or fear.

# Short overview about what you will talk about at DevTalks 2023?

With new technologies emerging every year and the twin transition accelerating worldwide, how do equal opportunities look like in 2023? How can tech companies, governments and civil society work together to close the existing gaps, and to make sure that no one is left behind in the digital revolution? And how can individuals make an impact and join the wave of socioeconomic progress brought by the digital world while lifting others with them?

Throughout my keynote speech, I will explore the meaning of opportunities, reflect on the importance of strengthening the human-centric approach, advise on how to move past stereotypes preventing women and even countries from thriving in the today’s world, eliminate biases from hiring processes, and explain why skills are the new gold. 

# What is your message for our Romania IT community?

I love Romania: a country full of immensely talented people and with a very strong IT sector, as well as amazing nature and cultural heritage, great food, and enjoyable music. The first step is to break stereotypes and tell the world how great this country is. After losing population for decades, it is now attracting back very talented individuals that, together with those born and raised here, want to stay in the cities and rural areas of Romania and positively contribute to their sustainable growth. With a vibrant IT community, Romania is uniquely placed to continue attracting talent and investments. I am particularly proud of the Romanian ‘women in tech’ community, which is substantially big and includes from top female engineers and mathematicians with decades of experience to young graduates who are passionate and determined to make a difference. I have had the opportunity to meet many of them, and I was amazed by their capabilities, strength, and sense of sisterhood. The Romanian IT community has all my respect and admiration.

We are looking forward to learn from her at DevTalks! See you there!

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