Be Bold and Have Fun. The World is your Oyster

Carolina Garcia

Senior Manager, International Business Operations

Things change every day, every hour, every minute. It is daunting. It makes us vulnerable. But believe in the journey, and you will definitely emerge stronger than before.

When the opportunity came for me to join ST Engineering and move to Singapore 10 years ago, I was constantly fluctuating between feelings of fear and anxiety to pure unadulterated exhilaration. It was stressful leaving behind everything I know and love in Colombia, but an opportunity like this was not going to knock on my doors a second time. It was now or never.

10 years on, it thrills me to say that every moment has been incredible. With a new job and a new home that holds so much opportunities and new experiences just waiting to be discovered, the only thing left to do was to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and leap into the unknown.

From unleashing the power of technology to empower communities around the world to experiencing new cultures, I am happy to share some of the inspiring highlights that get my adrenaline going, and hope that these will help inspire the next-gen to take the tech and global plunge.

Fanning the Flames of Tech Innovation, Transforming Lives

As someone who thrives in a dynamic and fast-paced environment where teamwork is critical, there is never a boring moment when you’re at the forefront of innovation. Every day is a new challenge. Every day I’m sitting down with incredible individuals and learning something new. Every day is not an easy story. But who remembers the easy stories? Mm..nobody!

Being a part of the Latin American Unit in the International Business Office and the global strategic planning team, it allows me to empower people, revitalise communities, and as a bonus, score a few winning moments along the way.

A significant milestone for me was leading a team to clinch a project in Quito, Ecuador. It was the first foray for us in the region, and as the project manager, I got the opportunity to live in Quito for 4 months, working with an ingenious team of engineers to modernise the city’s aviation systems.

I then ventured into pitching an aviation project to an entirely new market, Vietnam, and the experience opened my eyes to what doing international business fully entails. The process was a constant uphill battle for us but seeing the fruits of our labour was everything we needed to get back on our feet and search for the next big problem to solve!

More than 4 years in the aviation portfolio, I feel the need to see how our diverse range of solutions can influence emerging markets and I took the leap of faith into mobility business and developed the go-to-market strategy for the Latin American Region. It has been a rewarding and upbeat journey so far!

Through a decade of working with a team of wonderfully diverse and talented individuals to address the needs of Smart Cities with deep technological expertise, ST Engineering is not just a place of work for me. It has become a home away from home. I’m grateful to be able to work in an organisation that trusts in my abilities and provides unyielding support to anyone who possesses the courage and commitment to fan the flames of tech innovation and transform the human experience.

Power of Positivity through Sports

Sports is another big part of my life, where I strongly advocate the power of sports to break down barriers and bring people closer together. Back in 2012, I was part of the first-ever Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team to represent Singapore at the World Ultimate Championships, and subsequently, I went on to become captain of the Masters Women team that represented Singapore in the Masters World Championships in 2018.

Here’s the first-ever women’s team that represented Singapore at the 2012 Ultimate Frisbee World Championships in Japan. Spot me in the pink cap!

A challenge for the team was committing to 3-4 training sessions every week, but I was heartened to see everyone lighting a beacon of support for each other to navigate competing life priorities and savour every moment of the game.

Exciting times ahead as I look forward to represent Singapore once again in the World Masters Ultimate Championships in September 2020!

Bridging Two Worlds, and Giving Back to the Community

While Singapore is now my home, I have never forgotten where I came from, and there is a constant desire in my heart to do something meaningful for my community.

With the hunger to bridge the two communities that I call home, I am volunteering on the Management Board at the Latin American Chamber of Commerce to bring business and cultures together. To be able to promote mutual understanding and deepen the ties of cooperation between Asia and Latin America is my way of giving back and it has been the most rewarding challenge I can ever undertake.

That’s me on the far left, when the Latin American Chamber of Commerce hosted the Chilean Ambassador and the Chilean Vice Minister of Trade in Singapore.

Fuelling my passion in social responsibility, I am also a member of the Singapore Committee for United Nations Women, where we advocate towards women's empowerment and gender equality in developing countries through Economic Empowerment Programmes. These programmes enable women to develop business and entrepreneurial skills to access local, national and global markets.

Follow your heart, and seize the day

As I have found my calling by crossing the world and championing tech for good, one thing I hope to see in the new decade is more diversity in the industry. Imagining the possibilities for tech innovation to shake up our future excites me to the core, and I cannot wait to see the possibilities when ambitious and like-minded individuals come together to collaborate and innovate.

Life is not without its ups and downs. Situations do not always pan out the way we intended, but that is okay. For that extra boost of confidence, here is something I always tell myself:

If my best can bring me to the top, that is great. If it doesn’t, then it is also great because that is still my best.

Wherever your passions may be, take the initiative today, be bold, be resilient, have fun and strut your inner sparks as the world may be your oyster.

Curious to know what is it like to be working in tech? Carolina shares her view in this 2 minutes video:

Special thanks to Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre (HYC) for the film location.

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