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Inspiring Women: Interview Elena Yepes

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Today we conducted an interview with Elena Yepes. Graduated in Psychology from the Autonomous University of Madrid, this girl has always been interested in the field of Human Resources, so she complemented her training with a Executive MBAi at La Salle International Graduate School.

In the more than 15 years that she has been professionally linked to the field of Human Resources administration and management, has fully developed the hard skills essential to carry out their work, as well as a wide set of soft skills that have allowed him to continue advancing in his professional career until reaching the position of Chief People Officer at Zubi Group.

Taking advantage of the fact that it is women's month, we have asked Elena to participate in this set of interviews that we are conducting with female leaders, and we are delighted to be able to share her experience with you.

Some characteristics that stand out in female leadership are: greater sociability, greater appreciation of cooperation, innovative mentality and more empathy. How do you think these characteristics influence the development of companies? 

I don't think that today good female leadership is far from good male leadership. Not because women have evolved their leadership style, but because I think men have adjusted (or are adjusting) theirs to incorporate characteristics that were originally identified as feminine.

In any case, I believe that the current context requires a diverse leadership that knows how to adapt very well to changes; For this reason, the most empathetic (humane), least hierarchical (horizontal) and most collaboration-oriented (innovative) companies will always start with an advantage.

What has the journey of being a female leader been like up to the present day? – another question from the interview with Elena Yepes

The path to lead a team or an area is never easy. Obviously, when you are also a woman, you may find other obstacles along the way that, although they are less and less frequent and have less impact, can end up discourage that desire to lead, to go far.

When you are a woman but you want to have an outstanding professional career, you not only have to compete with the rest of the people (mostly men who serve are usually better positioned), but you have to dealing with the legacy and expectations that others have about what you should do because you are a woman: having a family, children, having a professional career but also carrying the weight of the house/family, etc.

Today, ambition only penalizes women; because they perceive you as an interested and greedy competitor, and society, still very macho, judges you because you prioritize your role as a woman (person) and worker over that of mother, caretaker and wife. 

What has been the most difficult thing about being a female leader? – another question from the interview with Elena Yepes

Definitely to be taken seriously, especially when you are a woman and young in environments where men are more numerous.

In my career I have found myself in situations where I have had to prove much more than my fellow men and situations in which, even obtaining better results, I have not been rewarded in the same way.

so women we continue to have to do more and better than any man to get to the same place as them. And, although I think it is something that is changing, we still have a long way to go.

What advice would you give to women who have the dream of creating their own company or of being company leaders?

Prepare to live in a constant challenge. To undertake or lead you have to know deal very well with uncertainty, frustration and burnout both mental and physical. 

Have to know when to go and when to stop. When to bet and when to quit. In short, you have to be very honest with yourself.

Do you think there are still barriers for women to bet on management positions? – another question from the interview with Elena Yepes

Definitely. We have one mental barrier fueled by our education and because of the cynicism of our society, which even today points to those women who want to have a professional career above all else.

But we also have a biological barrier, which at a certain point puts us in a difficult position, which is not usually talked about because it is not politically correct, but which makes some women temporarily or permanently abandon their career to fulfill the dream of having a family, which may even not be yours, but that is the one that "touches" you.

The lie of conciliation and the obsession of productivity they have made us believe that we can and have to do everything right, and all they have achieved is to create dissatisfied and frustrated women.

In your experience, how can companies promote female leadership within their organizations?

Companies, like almost everything in life, work for results. If something works and gives good results, it is encouraged, valued, promoted... 

The quota system is not perfect, but it helps us women not have to go out to play the same game as men with 5 kg weights on each leg. give us the same chance. From there it will be demonstrated. And, as in everything, there will be winners and losers, but at least now we have the opportunity to play in the first division.

What do you think is the characteristic that has defined your career? Because? – another question from the interview with Elena Yepes

I'm not sure, but surely be a curious person It has allowed me to know many things, meet many people, have interests in a lot of topics... Being curious requires you to be constant, study, deepen, analyze... 

Specifically in my profession, I have been very concerned about having a generalist profile, for understanding the real needs of the companies where I have worked and for being a non-conformist... and a bit of a rebel too, why not say it 😉

In a recent post, you talked about the details (positive and negative). What details make you different and mark your leadership in a positive way? 

i think i'm a person who is good at listening and, besides, it is something that I especially like. Listening gives the other person the opportunity to feel valued, understood... and I believe that this is one of the most basic desires of the human being.

And I would also tell you that the sense of humor It is one of the characteristics that best define them. Although I know that it is a trait that is also penalized in managerial positions, I try as far as I can to show off it whenever I can. Humor has saved me many times and on very different levels... There is a quote that says “those who lose the power to laugh lose the power to think”, and it is something of which I am absolutely convinced: Humor is a very powerful weapon. since it can not only alter your emotions (for the better), but also help you to be more creative, to think differently.

If you want to know more about the professional profile of Elena Yepes, here you have her LinkedIn profile, where he shares very interesting information about the HR field.

In hirint we are committed to diversity and inclusion for this reason we want in the month of women to give voice to women leaders and so inspire to others. For this reason, we have conducted an interview with Elena Yepes. You can learn more about Hirint here

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