Leticia: Brazilian girl landing a career in tech
(March 2023) For Leticia de Oliveira, it’s been unexpected that she landed a career in technology at the Brazil office of Huawei, a global leader in digital infrastructure and consumer devices.
“No woman close to me worked in technology. That reality was very distant,” says the 26-year-old young project manager who was the daughter of a business administrator. She now works in the department of delivery for telecom solutions.
Her story was presented in a documentary on Monday March 20, 2023 at the award ceremony of Grupo Esfera Brasil and Conecta, "Exponencial Women", an event that brought together female leaders such as the Minister of Planning and Budget of Brazil, Simone Tebet and Lygia da Veiga Pereira, one of the most renowned geneticists in the world.
“The mirror is what we need,” says a proud Leticia in the documentary.
Leticia joined Huawei five years earlier. She then had an opportunity to join Seeds For the Future, an immersive exchange program from Huawei that offers winning students scholarships to support a two-week journey to the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen.
It was before the Covid-19 and Leticia was still in college. She was also an intern at Huawei. Together with other Seeds students, she spent most of the two weeks on the vast Huawei campus getting training and having conversations with Huawei employees. She was also able to visit other tech companies and other cities.
“That's where I experienced Seeds for the Future and had the opportunity to go to China”, she says. “We hear about new technologies, about 5G. But going there and seeing everything up close was very important for my career.”
Seeds for the Future
Huawei launched the Seeds for the Future as its flagship talent initiative in 2008, starting with a pilot program in Thailand. Then it was expanded to cover more and more countries, having an increasing impact on the inclusion of women in the technology job market. The program has benefited tens of thousands of students from over 150 countries.
The program was brought to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014, starting with Colombia. Since then it has been expanded to as many as 20 countries in the region, providing scholarships to close to 2,000 students across the region so far.
Fernanda Calandrino, a Huawei veteran and Director of Contracts at Huawei Brazil, says the program is aimed at providing “more people with access to information and training”. With the documentary, Huawei seeks to show the importance of information and training for the development of the ICT sector in the regional countries, especially for young women.
A global leader in digital technologies with a long-term policy of intensive investment in research and development, Huawei made the commitment to digital talent development one of its key pillars in terms of corporate social responsibility.
“We are a technology company, and we would like our commitments to be solid. Digital talent development is one of them as we are first and foremost a technology company,” says Michael Chen, Director of Corporate Communications at Huawei Latin America.
Under the Seeds umbrella, Huawei also offers ICT Academy, a partnership initiative aimed at helping universities and colleges in their capacity building and digital skill certification programs. It is now working together with more than 400 universities in the region.
In addition, Huawei holds the Global ICT Contests, where students from around the world compete in teams in tracks such as Cloud, Connectivity and AI.
In recent years, the company has either invested or sponsored programs aimed at bridging the various digital gaps in Latin America and the Caribbean, including gender gaps. It works together with different stakeholders to launch programs covering thousands.
Women In Tech
Women in Tech is one of the initiatives of Huawei aimed to promote the inclusion of professionals and the training of female leaders in the Information and Communication Technologies sector. In Brazil, the initiative encompasses actions such as the “Girls of the Future” program, carried out in partnership with the National Telecommunications Institute (Inatel). It aims to encourage low-income girls to pursue careers in the ICT areas.
Data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) indicate that at the age 15, only 0.5% of girls on average want to become ICT professionals. Only a third of ICT sector leaders are women. At the president and CEO level, only 5% of the positions held by them are at the top of the pyramid. IBGE data also shows that only 15% of Computing and ICT students are women.
Women-in-Tech intends to impact hundreds of thousands of Brazilian women, contributing to their education through access to digital platforms with courses, training, classes, debates and interviews on the job market, soft skills, and technology.
Many of the female employees join such initiatives to promote the inclusion of more women in the technology job market, including Fernanda who has been with Huawei Brazil for about 20 years and is now one the senior experts and executives.
Leticia has also started to participate in programs aimed at promoting digital inclusion in local communities, including joining discussions and making visits to neighborhoods.
“Huawei seeks to promote initiatives that aim to develop female leaders in the technology market through education projects, in order to increase diversity in the sector and empower young professionals to enter the digital economy,” says Sun Baocheng, CEO of Huawei Brazil.
Watch Letícia´s story: