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Inspiring Women: María Juliana Ortiz

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Today we are conducting an interview with María Juliana Ortiz, strategic leader of Human Resources, project manager and a true passionate about building successful work teams. Maria Juliana Ortiz graduated as Industrial Engineer at the University of La Sabana and completed a Master's in Strategic Management of Human Resources at the School of Industrial Organization.

As is clear from his LinkedIn profile, this professional has gone through companies as important as Siemens or Pfizer. Since August 2021, he has been Vice President of Human Resources at Colfondos SA

Maria Juliana Ortiz is one of those women who, thanks to her skills and effort, have managed to break through the glass ceiling. Therefore, we are delighted that you can get to know her a little better in this interview.

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

Undoubtedly, in Colombia these characteristics have made it possible to open a path that complements and contributes to the evolution in the development of companies. From my experience I see that, through women's leadership, sociability and empathy, they have become a facilitator. Seeing relationships as they are, more natural, friendly and empathetic, which allows them to put themselves in each other's shoes, regardless of the degree of proximity they share.

Cooperativism: this characteristic that has been imprinted in organizations with female leadership, has paved the way to obtain a greater benefit between the parties, achieving understanding the needs and satisfying them to the extent possible. This has contributed to the inclusion of people in organizations.

Innovative mentality: it is that ability that helps us to deal effectively with an innovation process, as well as the willingness to do it as we know. Innovation is increasingly present in everyday life, since if we do not lose sight of it, sustainable organizations are achieved. 

How has your path to being a female leader been until today? – another question from the interview with María Juliana Ortiz

In my particular case, it has been a path full of learning, adventures and emotions. From a personal point of view, I have grown as a mother, wife, friend, daughter and sister, in the midst of a professional development that has demanded preparation, much self-awareness and constant dedication to be able to always live up to the demands. 

The road still has many stages to go, and the most important thing is that I enjoy it and I live it with passion every day. My personal and professional life, both are very important for my personal balance and, consequently, in the balance of my leadership. 

What has been the most difficult thing about being a female leader?

I think the hardest thing is understand and find ways to lead a satisfying personal life and a successful professional life. On many occasions I thought that I would not make it, but I had leaders, mentors, friends and people who were by my side believing in me and gave me guidance to understand that yes, it can be done!

What advice would you give to women who have the dream of creating their own company or of being company leaders? – another question from the interview with María Juliana Ortiz

Well, I could give a lot of advice on this, but I would focus on two.

It is important prepare from the technical, but for me, above this, is to give priority to know each other as a person, understand yourself as you are and accept that you can be successful with your own model. We are all different human beings. Getting to know oneself and making the effort to know the other, and understand it, is a formula that has allowed me as a leader to get the best out of me and always look for the best of the other. 

Life is one and professional development does not have to interfere with personal development. ANDthat is to say, there must always be a balance for the path to be satisfactory.

Do you think that there are still barriers for women to bet on management positions? – another question from the interview with María Juliana Ortiz

I believe that many myths still exist and these almost always become barriers. Overcoming them depends on many external factors that are part of the evolution of society. From my experience, the main barrier that we women must overcome is that we believe that we are capable, that we understand that we are different and that we bet on being authentic. We must prepare ourselves, be in constant updating and relationship. This, together with talent, overcomes any myth or barrier. 

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

From the female leadership, I see that we can do a lot. Should be identify myths or barriers, all different in each company, and give more opportunities to women, all of them, in the organization. Here we must always have one innovative mindset, not everything that has been done should remain the same to be successful in organizations.

should be facilitated training and construction spaces that allow women to understand if we want to grow, what are the implications of growing, and how it can be done.

It sounds simple, but internal processes must also evolve. The human management as a role should be at the leadership table, and from there it must influence changes in the definitions of equity, equalization and diversity, such as; salary definitions, entry requirements, or inclusion in processes, among others.  

What do you think is the characteristic that has defined your career? Because?

The characteristic that has defined my career is determined by my purpose of Life. As I mentioned before, I firmly believe that understanding and knowing each other allows you to achieve great things. This is why once I understood what the purpose of my life is and I was able to link it to my work purpose, this characteristic has led me to enjoy my work a lot. do it with passion and love, this has led me to success already stress management which is undoubtedly present every time we grow more in organizations. 

What do you think has been the most important benefit that you have brought to your company as a female leader?

From my leadership roles I have understood that my impact on organizations has been how integration is achieved from the strategy and how this is done with the most important resource of organizations, people.  

In the last decade I have added value to organizations, strengthening leadership, aligning the leadership team to mobilize people and obtain results for the company. 

I believe that all this I have been achieving for want to play a role that connects my life purpose with organizations, and with great courage, challenging and challenging what had been done to this day. 

I would like to know what it is like to be a female leader in Colombia, do you think it is more difficult or easier than in other places? – another question from the interview with María Juliana Ortiz

From the point of view of my experience in multinational companies, I have seen that Colombia has a lot of female talent and we have been climbing more every day. 

The road has not been easy, but there has been a positioning achieved and this is thanks to a process of education in diversity, equality and inclusion. 

Governments have ensured that public and ministerial portfolios are matched. Companies look for talent for their leadership boards and management positions, more than women and/or men. then i see a path a little more advanced than in other LATAM countries such as Mexico, Chile, Brazil, or Peru, among others. 

Now, what I do see in Colombia is that Finding space in leadership positions in all sectors is not entirely easy. Some still have little innovative mentality and this has not allowed evolution.   

In conclusion, I consider that the leadership must continue to evolve, being a leader goes beyond being a man or a woman, being a leader is the art of how a human being manages to get the best out of himself and others. 

I am willing to help anyone who needs advice and wants to have a deep conversation about leadership. 

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. You can learn more about Hirint here

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