"Every day, I feel immense pride and joy that I'm part of an organization that not only finds people but moves people, and that I'm part of that movement."— Carolina Contreras, Director of Outstanding People & Talent Resourcing at PSL
One of the most impactful parts of PSL's mission and purpose-driven approach is how we contribute to the communities where our employees live. We firmly believe that technology can be a powerful tool for transformation, which is why we aspire to go beyond just providing software outsourcing services to doing our best to have a significant impact on development in Colombia. PSL's many corporate social responsibility programs include engaging with students at the high school and university level, celebrating women's participation in technology, reducing the company's carbon footprint, and taking part in and sponsoring multiple technology community events in Colombia. Behind all of these community initiatives, you'll find Carolina Contreras, PSL's Director of Outstanding People & Talent Resourcing.
In PSL's Daily Stand Up, Carolina talks about her journey at PSL, what makes her passionate about PSL's future, and how PSL's culture plays into its success as an offshore software development firm that continues to exceed its partners' expectations and serve the community.
I've been at PSL for 5 years, but it's my second time here. I had initially joined as a change management leader for a project but left to pursue a job opportunity with another company. It took me about eight months to realize that that place wasn't a good fit for me, as the role was completely opposed to what I stood for, to what I wanted to represent to the company's people. So, I called PSL and returned to work in human resources for a time. At one point, PSL asked me, "What do you like to do?" And I answered, "I love talking to people!" They said, "Great! We need to expand the reach of our corporate social responsibility—we need to get in touch with schools and universities, make alliances, organize meetups and coordinate tech community events…" And from that point on, it was my job to make those connections happen.
What excites me the most? Seeing so many people working to rebuild a country; seeing so many people working to make this country be recognized, not by all its history, but by how capable we are. When I see how fast this company is growing and that it doesn't lose its focus, which to PSL is people, it makes me very excited. Every day, I feel immense pride and joy that I'm part of an organization that not only finds people but moves people, and that I'm part of that movement; that people can transcend that stigma of thinking "oh, if it's Colombian, it must not be very good," and start believing in this country's value.
I think one of the most wonderful things at PSL—being a non-engineer and never having done what our engineers do, who will no doubt say that their work is the most wonderful thing here—is that you can write code or you can serve coffee or organize an event or work on payroll, and you'll still be sure that you do what you do because you love it. Because PSL will make sure to help you find a way or a role that you find fulfilling, that adjusts to your skillset, and that you can do with gusto.
"To me, PSL's culture is like being at ease in your home. You can be honest, free, and a good person because the company doesn't need you to put on a mask. It allows you to be a human being, to make mistakes, to learn humility and ask for help, to learn to set aside ego and realize that we need each other to accomplish our goals. Your happiness depends on you, but PSL gives you the space to be happy."— Carolina Contreras, Director of Outstanding People & Talent Resourcing at PSL
I think I enjoy all the events. We have different events: events with high school girls, that I love. I love being able to help them in that crucial moment of adolescence to make a responsible choice for their lives. I think the events with high school girls are amazing; I love talking to the girls, motivating them, helping them build and focus their life plan is amazing. The other type of event I think is fascinating is working with university-level students, alongside a group of very talented professionals, to develop the technical know-how that makes them attractive to PSL as workers. I love talking to people about why it's important to follow that path towards software engineering. There are other events like the confs, that we participate in or sponsor. It's nice when we sponsor them, but I like them better when there are PSL speakers. It's a great way to showcase our expertise and knowhow and get people interested in what we're doing at PSL. When attendees get to see these extremely smart and knowledgeable speakers, they'll aspire to reach that level and join us at PSL.
I've learned several things. That you have to give yourself permission to make mistakes so that you can work your way to success, for one. That's probably one of the most important lessons I've learned working here. All our lives, we've been punished for our mistakes, and what that does is make people prone to hiding their mistakes, to make people overly cautious and afraid of being found guilty. The point here isn't finding guilt in people, it's realizing what I did wrong—whether consciously or not—so I can learn and not make the same mistake next time. I think the problem is not about making mistakes, it's about not continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Another thing I've learned is that if you don't learn to manage your own emotions and know yourself, it's very difficult for you to work with someone else smoothly. And here you get the chance to explore that. That goes hand in hand with what I had mentioned before, at PSL you're encouraged to be yourself and that starts with knowing yourself.
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