Sofia Reis, Ecosystems Explorer at LemonWorks
Early years and where you came from?
I was born in Espinho, but after studying in Porto this last one became the city I empathise the most, and I now live in Porto with my husband and kids. When I was little I wanted to be a fashion designer, and throughout the years I have developed other interests through experimentation and curiosity: design, creativity human development and behaviour, spaces…
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
I’ve started in tech doing Project Management for Mobile projects, since I was experienced in PM for Architectural Projects (which is my academic background). I quickly moved into supporting the management of a start up that grew from 5 people to 220 in 4 years. I fell in love with human behaviour and connections, and the complex interactions in the workplace.
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
I am engaged in two projects that are deeply important to me: Mindera — a start up in Porto downtown, running on self-organisation with a flat structure — and LemonWorks — a startup engaged in making work meaningful for everyone, through personal development, organisational culture shifts, and office space as an important element on how people feel and interact at work.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
Definitely generating new ideas and solutions that bring people together, and help solve challenges through a cooperative and community base thinking.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
My background has always been tied to questioning everything and critically thinking about everything: are there new and interesting ways to achieve a better outcome?
Knowledge is something that I value, and I keep learning as I go: with people around me, by sharing what I know, by experimenting, reading and watching on the web what others are doing all over the world.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
It’s difficult to answer this, because each person has skills, knowledge and passion for things that could be described as non-tech, but end up being incredibly useful in a tech world. I believe we can use our skills/knowledge towards supporting a greater good or purpose: we just need to find the people with whom we have that in common, and give our best to be part of it. I would say, in order to find that group of people, we need to engage in meeting new people: Meet Ups, events, workshops, Fairs are all great places to find likeminded people, learn new things and find interesting projects to be a part of.
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.
I wake up relatively early and take an hour to leave home to prep myself and my 7 year-old son. After driving him to school I arrive to the office and try to read a few emails, but that doesn’t always happen (I am not great at responding emails quickly), I talk to people and have a few meetings to engage with people on different themes that matters to them or myself. Most of my day is to investigate ideas and solutions for various challenges, and to produce and communicate information in a way that fits with how our brains work.
The end of the day I pick my son up from school and my husband joins us to have a family meal cooked from scratch, and spend some time together talking about what we loved most in our days and what was most challenging as well.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always hold your values high in everything you do.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Pinterest has been with me for a few years now, as I love visual information! I also love to see videos, and Ted Talks are probably one of my favourite ways to learn about new ideas. What’s Up connects me to people and Trello keeps ideas organized in a neat and collaborative way. Google docs are just indispensable at the moment: you can pretty much do anything with those.
Links that you want to share?