The star of this week’s Focus Friday is Clara Trindade, Human Resources Director at L’Oréal in Portugal. She currently lives in Lisbon, but is no stranger to globetrotting, having lived in eight countries across three continents. Clara’s passion is unlocking people’s full potential through her work, something that demands energy, courage and vision. But it’s also a demanding job. To balance work and personal life, Clara relies on technology as an essential ally to organize her day, transform how she works and free up time for what really matters.
Growing up, what was the first piece of technology that changed your life?
When I got my first computer – a Commodore Amiga – I was so excited about being connected to people. Thanks to e-mail, I could communicate with everyone, regardless of where they were. And I loved to prepare presentations for school, choosing images and adding visuals to whatever story I was telling. It sounds very simple compared to what we can do today, but at the time, it was very unique.
How has technology helped with your professional development and personal life?
I lived abroad for a long time, which meant Skype and Outlook were such good friends to me! Being able to communicate in real time at work, with family, and with friends was revolutionary. Later, I discovered OneDrive and OneNote, which helped me keep everything I needed close at hand – books, documents, pictures – without having to pack and unpack them as I moved around. But the most important time technology came to my aid was when I met a handsome, funny man in the Azores. I didn’t know anything about him, except his name and the fact that he did rallies as a hobby. The day after, I found his e-mail – and now that man is my husband.
In your current job, what tech tools do you find most useful?
Besides the tools that help me organize myself, such as Outlook, One Note, and One Drive, I love tools that enable communication. My latest passion is Teams. It’s the best way to connect with my team and co-workers, and to easily share documents and pictures. Skype is also very useful for a quick chat or a video-call, especially when I’m working remotely: it helps the team feel like we’re still physically together, so we don’t break our stride. Yammer is how we manage internal communications in a user-friendly way, as it allows us to have different groups and work streamlines. And, of course, I couldn’t do my job without LinkedIn, where I find new talent and am able to reach out to my professional network.
How has technology transformed how you work?
I would spend a lot of time doing things that I can do now in a heartbeat. Sending files, finding information about someone or something: all this was very time-consuming and it was stressful to keep track of everything. I had to rely on to-do lists and keep everything in mind, all the time. Now I know that even if I forget a meeting or a piece of information, I can easily retrieve it or be reminded about it.
Outside of work, what technologies are essential to how you live?
Technology is something I use 24/7. It helps me make the most of my time, so I can achieve all my goals. I couldn’t live without my smartphone; I can do everything I want from it.
I have a variety of apps: for working out, checking the weather and the traffic, managing my bank account, or booking travel and trips. I’m always on the move, so I rely on online maps a lot. I love to share special moments with friends and family through social media, and I try to carve out time for my personal development by using learning and meditation tools. And of course, I can use my phone to take great pictures too!
What one piece of advice do you have for people using technology every day?
Using technology is all about being more productive and freeing up time for what really matters: your personal life and your relationships. If this is not the case, then something is wrong, and you need to rethink how you’re using technology. Which brings us to a second, but related, piece of advice: always have a power bank with you!
What does the future of technology look like to you?
I think technology is the only way to save our planet. Things like artificial intelligence or analytic tools are vital to optimize the use of resources like water, energy and food. And I’m hoping technology will play a huge role in giving people access to vital resources in real time – such as doctor consultations delivered over the internet. This is essential to reduce inequality.