for that The lab’s new CEO, Gabriela Rocha, changes have been her constant since childhood. That’s where he says he’s most confident about the transition the organization will make and the transition ahead Technical challenges And the economy, because – despite the challenging panorama – It will operate in five new Latin American countries by 2023.
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Today you live in Mexico, has sustainable travel been part of your life plan?
I was born in Brazil, but we traveled a lot because of my parents’ jobs. At the age of six, I had already been to five schools where I learned about new environments and cultures that gave me a very valuable perspective. I finished university in America. Living on campus and volunteering during the Iraq War taught me a lot about how to add a genuine passion to working on projects that have a positive impact. I wanted to explore the world from a public policy perspective.
You were in Mexico when Laboratoria appeared
I worked for a year as a public policy advisor to the Mexican government Mariana Costa (former CEO of Laboratoria for 9 years) started piloting the project PeruThis seemed like an incredible promise of value, and I started having a crazy idea of what would happen if I did the same thing here.
Many entrepreneurs are afraid to separate themselves from their steady income until they have something secure. How was it in your case?
It’s a big bet that we don’t know if it’s going to work because few people have talked about it Boot camp (2014) and Women in Technology. We don’t know if girls are going to be interested in the courses or if institutions will fund us. There was a lot of uncertainty, but the project created a unique feeling in me, it was a powerful value proposition, that in six months we were going to provide skills to women that no one wanted to hire or look at. Growing up and wanting a competitive salary? As I was faced with this opportunity, leaving a job with a clear career path, I jumped and said to myself.I’ll see how I do‘.
(Laughter) No, I have no idea. I studied psychology (and then a master’s degree in public administration). But we learned from our partner and our first volunteer teachers. Even today I don’t know how to program, but luckily I’m not the only one teaching our students, we have a super top team.
Do you consider yourself a tech girl?
I don’t know if I identify as such. I am the woman who encourages women to be there. Our students and graduates are, unlike me, light years away. This is how I feel.
During these nine years as a CEO, did you think you would become a CEO?
No. I never had that ambition or that plan. Mariana was always in the lead, and I was with her, but in a different role. Mariana has been a great leader, but today all three partners are committed to this transition process. A few years ago, but more strongly in recent months, we began to ask ourselves: What do we need to do for the organization to succeed and progress without us?That’s why we thought it was important to take this step. Now Mariana and Rudolph are on this new venture Labs+Like a startup like nine years ago, and I need to lead a change in size and reinforcement laboratories So one day she will fly alone.
How do you spend your free time now?
Since I traveled a lot when I was single and made time for relationships with my friends, I was able to strike a good balance with my daughter, who still gives me a lot of perspective in my life today. Time and commitment. (Rocha noted that he was on the verge of burnout at times due to constant travel for work).
Is being a leader really an optimist?
Definitely. If you’re going to lead a company through tough times and you don’t see the light or truly believe in it, it’s hard to motivate people to keep going. This is not the first time we have fallen on hard times in the lab. Now there are new trends in the markets and we have to update ourselves and it is not easy. You have to have a combination of vision and judgement, which don’t always go hand in hand. However, knowing that we went through a black hole and not only got through it, but came out stronger, gives me the confidence that all the effort was worth it, and I can already feel it in my skin.
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In the short term, Rocha already has two clear goals. The lab will announce entry into five new countries in the region “very soon” in the second half of 2023. (Today it operates in Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru or Mexico), it will add two new courses in addition to the web development or user experience design it already offers to its students.
“Our dream is that any woman who is part of the lab’s target audience can apply, wherever they are.” This year, they will have at least 700 graduates.
Driven by advances in artificial intelligence ChatGPT, The organization has started including it in its curriculum. Rocha notes that they remain prudent until they understand possible changes in the labor market and other aspects. This may lead edTech to reconsider the duration of bootcamps to less than six months, although the decision is yet to be taken.
Meanwhile, at the level of their work, they will be active “in their charge” so that the entry of more women into the tech world after mass layoffs in the United States does not backfire. “We feel a tremendous responsibility to work hand in hand with companies to continue betting on junior talent despite the economic challenges,” he concluded.