Thaisa Fernandes tells us what it takes to have a consistent quality podcast while working a full-time job. She also shares her thoughts on how to deal with microaggressions as a minority and how those in the majority can assist newcomers.
Thaisa Fernandes tells us what it takes to have a consistent quality podcast while working a full-time job. She also shares her thoughts on how to deal with microaggressions as a minority and how those in the majority can assist newcomers.
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GabyV: Hey, thank you so much for being here with us today. This is going to be cool. I feel like this season is like the season of connections. We've got one couple being interviewed separately. Then we have Gretchen who knows you that told me to reach out to you. Everybody knows each other in this season.
Thaisa Fernandes: That's awesome. I didn't know you're talking with Gretchen and yeah, she's amazing. She's my friend. So yeah.
GabyV: Yeah, you both are very chill. I like that vibe.
Thaisa Fernandes: And you might hear my cat meowing [in] the background. So just setting the expectations.
GabyV: What kind of cat is that? I thought it was a baby for a second.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, it's interesting. His meowing is changing over the years. He is like an old cat. He's 17 years old.
GabyV: Okay. Yeah, my cat is pretty old too, but he lives with my family back in the US. I miss him.
Thaisa Fernandes: Oh man.
GabyV: Can you pick him up so we can see him? Is he that close or not really?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. I actually have three pets. So yeah he's close. I can [grab] him.
GabyV: Yeah. Give him a cameo. He's like
'I want to be on the camera too Thaisa!'
Oh, what a cutie!
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, he has one eye and two hearts.
GabyV: It's a tough guy. Survivor. Now he's quiet. He's like
'I got the attention I wanted.'
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah.
GabyV: But Thaisa this is really like the power of technology. It's the morning where you are in San Francisco and after this interview, I'm going to sleep in Germany. So only technology would let us do that.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, it's really late for you.
GabyV: Don't worry. I took a nap, so I would be alert and ready for this interview.
Yeah, it's going to be good. Just like I mentioned, Gretchen was telling me
'You need to talk to Thaisa. She has this cool podcast. It's like your podcast, but it's focusing on Latinx in tech.'
I'm like, 'Ooh, that sounds interesting. I need to talk to this lady.'
So here we are.
Thaisa Fernandes: Amazing. Yeah. So I can't believe it's been a year. I launched the Latinx in Power podcast, but it's been a while I wanted to do something like that. But... it's pretty hard. And for me, it's not natural to be so out there in my second language. So it took me a lot of time to decide to do it. And I'm glad I did it.
I think during this pandemic, especially it's the podcast that's bringing me a lot of joy. I'm making connections with a lot of people. In the beginning, I was interviewing basically all my friends and now we're interviewing a lot of people that I don't know much, or I want to know more about it. Someone who reaches me.
So it's been really really good.
GabyV: Yeah, it was really cool. I think we started around the same time July of last year. But why did you decide to do the podcast in your second language English instead of your mother tongue Portuguese? What was the reason behind that?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. The reason behind that, it's basically because I live in the United States and English it's the language that I communicate [in] at work. So I think it made more sense to me to have it in English. And also, although I'm talking with Latinx folks, I'm from Brazil. So my native language is Portuguese. It's not Spanish.
So I thought that our common language was also English. So I think those are the main reasons why I chose English.
GabyV: What was the biggest thing you learned this year? I know the first year is always
'Oh, I broke that. How do I fix it?'
What was the biggest aha moment?
Thaisa Fernandes: I have been thinking a lot about - what does it mean to be a perfectionist? And for a while I thought that was something really good because we always strive for perfection. You're always trying to improve. And at the same time, I realized that there is a lot of other layers related to that. For example, insecurities or a lot of other things that was actually preventing you to do stuff that I wanted, or even like experiment.
And with the podcast, I was very scared to do something like that because it is not a field that I'm an expert. It's something that you build over time and this scared me a lot, but at the same time, I was like,
'No, let's do it and I think it would be fun.'
In the beginning, as I said, I interviewed my friends. So I was feeling really good about it because [we've known] each other for such a long time. And I realized that's okay to launch something that is not like perfect or maybe you're like self-conscious about the way you speak. Especially thinking about myself, having English as a second language, I think we always put a lot of pressure in the accent side of it. And one of the things that we are seeing with my podcast as I'm interviewing other Latinxs is that we have a lot of different accents and this is beautiful.
This is amazing. So I have a lot of people saying that to me. So I think this was a surprise. Maybe those two things, like doing something really out of your comfort zone and also receiving feedback from people. I have some folks they are using the podcast with their students because they want to expose them to different accents, different ways of speaking. Or even some of them, they are more focused [on] professional life. So we are talking about a real life situation in a professional area. So it's been really an interesting journey,
GabyV: Oh, that's nice. Yeah I had the same problem when I started I'm like,
'It has to be perfect before I release it.' No. It's part of the process. Let it go.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, totally. And it's not... I think I was more used to creating like written content online. So [I've had] a blog since 2016 that I write pretty often. And I talk about what I do program management, product management, and things related to this area. But when you're writing, you have a chance to revisit sometimes you forget something or even if something changes.
For example, I talked about a software that I liked and they create a new feature. So I can go there and add it. With the podcast, with audio, it's not like that you can't change [it]. So this is quite scary.
GabyV: Yeah, that's something that I'm still working on now 'cause now we have three seasons. I'm like,
'Oh, I could've done that differently. Or I need to add this thing.'
But it's you spend so much time tweaking, that you can't move forward. You just got to be like 'It's done.' Pretend it's a masterpiece. You sold it like a painting.
You can't go in the museum and be like, 'Wait. Okay.'
Thaisa Fernandes: Okay. Yeah same. Yeah.
GabyV: Yeah, it's hard. But you mentioned with the accents, I really like that Latinx in Power has merchandise and one of them is 'everyone has an accent'. So there's a lot of podcasts, some choose to have merchandise, some not. Why did you choose to have merchandise for yours?
Thaisa Fernandes: I decided to have merchandise first, because it's important to me that Latinx in Power continues to be independent. We probably won't have ads ever, but I wanted to be able to monetize a little bit to cover some of the costs that I have. For example, editing, design, a lot of things I do by myself with my free time, but I also wanted to be able to scale a little bit more and the podcast not be so dependent on me.
And the second reason is also because I feel that there's Latinxs here in the United States, but we don't have a lot of cool swag. I started to research. I saw some, but there's not a lot. So I wanted to also bring my perspective. It's provocative and political kind of what you mentioned about everyone has [an] accent.
It came from a time when I was traveling here in the United States. It was a long time ago when we used to share an Uber. And the driver was actually really nice, but the other person who was sharing the Uber with me... I was talking with the driver and the person was saying they wanted to know where I'm from. And I didn't want to say it because, it's just whatever. When the person is nice, they want to know because they are interested about you, where you come from and they want to talk more about it.
Or sometimes they just want to judge you. And I felt that this guy just wanted to know to judge me or whatever.
He was like,
'Oh, but you have an accent. You're not from here. I want to know where you're from.'
And I said to him like 'Everyone has an accent. Just don't think that only like native speakers don't have an accent because we have different ways to talk.'
And thinking about my native language, Portuguese, we have different ways to talk. I'm not from Sao Paolo, but I lived in Sao Paolo for five years. When I moved, people knew that I wasn't from there because of the way I speak, some words that I use. So it's normal. It's really normal. So I wanted to normalize the sense that we have an accent and that's okay.
GabyV: Yeah, that's true. Even now, unfortunately there's a lot of bias against accents and accent reduction is a very popular course for a lot of people. So I'm here to tell you guys, Thaisa is here to tell you all it's not necessary. Maybe it's not the accent you should be working on. Maybe it's the pronunciation of a few words, but overall your accent as part of who you are.
So don't try to erase that.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think I will also add to that, that if you can. Be in places where you can be yourself, meaning also embracing your personality, showing your personality at work and being comfortable about your accent and understand that sometimes it's not so easy, depending on the environment you are [in]. Especially thinking about work, we know that there's like places that are more inclusive than the other. But at the same time, I know that it's tricky. So if you can just look for those places where you can belong.
GabyV: Yeah, that's true. You have to find someone where they appreciate you for you.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah.
GabyV: But Thaisa, going back a little bit. You mentioned podcasting has some costs. Some people are like, 'Yeah, it's free.' It's takes a lot of time, energy and money. So what are some of the costs that you have to run a successful podcast?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, it's interesting because we have some free tools and there's a lot going on at the moment, but at the same time, still... I have costs. For example, launching a podcast, to make it available in all the streaming platforms. There's a cost [for] that. If you can do the editing by yourself, it's great because you are going to save some money, but at the same time, you are going to use your free time and our free time also has costs. I think it's important to keep that in mind as well. In my case, I have an editor. She is amazing. She does everything for me and saves me a lot of time.
And it's great to also work with someone... get her insights. I'm not an expert in editing. So I'm pretty new with that, but she's an expert. So it's amazing to work together. In my case right now I have the store. So there's also the cost, the monthly costs, of having the store live, the domain. I do a lot by myself because of my experience, I used to be a designer. So I have a lot of expertise in this field. I create my own website, the design, a lot of aspects of it. I do it by myself, but for someone who doesn't have this expertise, it's just another cost. It's important to keep that in mind and to find a way to balance.
There's some things you enjoy more than the others. I think it's another thing to keep in mind. Sometimes you enjoy more one part of the thing, you are doing your personal projects. So if you can outsource the other areas that you don't know much, or you don't know how to do it. If you can, I think it's nice to do it.
GabyV: Yeah, that's true and you are right on top of it. One of the quotes you have on your site from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, which I kinda knew some of this, but it was still like, wow, 26% of Silicon valley are Latinx and the population of Latinx in the US will double in the next 30 years, but less than 3% are in the high tech industry, mostly because they just don't know how to break in there.
So this podcast [Latinx in Power] is perfect for people who are trying to figure out,
'Okay, how do I get from here to here?'
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's really sad to think about this number. Only 3% and 26% of the population here in the United States and even more in Silicon Valley. And if you think about leadership positions it's less than 3%. I would dare to say that if it is even 1%.
But I think over the years, especially in the past year, things started to change a little bit more. Especially after all the Black Lives Matter movement that we saw last year and a lot of conversations that people are having I think there's this... in some companies...it's... they are really dedicated to [raising] this number and to truly have diversity, but we're still the minority in tech.
And we can see that where we work and even the products we consume. Thinking about, for example, I use a lot of Google Home. I use it a lot, but I have an accent. So a lot of times Google Home doesn't understand me because I'm maybe not pronouncing the words the way it should be pronounced. So it can't understand me and when I think about that, I think,
'Oh, they probably don't have a lot of diversity there.'
Or maybe they don't want to invest in making sure that Google Home will understand different types of accents, different ways of speaking in English because there's different ways, right? Depending on where you are. It's funny, I saw that in an episode [of Latinx in Power] that we talked about decolonizing design, that sometimes I listen to a lot of Brazilian music and French music and I know how to pronounce the songs, but a lot of times I need to fake my accent.
Actually my accent in Portuguese sounded American so Google Home can understand me and I feel that it's so stupid. It's so stupid. It's my native language and I need to fake it in order to be understood.
GabyV: Yeah it's, it's sad, but a lot of this AI is very helpful, but there's a lot of bias towards paler faces and also a North Eastern American accent. Even southerners, like some of my family, they have trouble using their Amazon Alexa because it doesn't understand them. So we're working on it.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. Yeah. We have a lot of work to do.
GabyV: Yeah, it's not... you're not going to undo 500 years of colonial mindset in a couple of years. It's going to take awhile.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, absolutely.
GabyV: But that takes us back to maybe some of the bias that you might've seen when you moved from sao Paulo to San Francisco in 2014. But you mentioned you're not from Sao Paolo, so what part of Brazil are you from first of all?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. I'm from a state that is called Minas Gerais. My city is called Belo Horizonte which means 'beautiful horizon'. We don't have the beach, but we have the mountains and it's the third biggest city in Brazil, but not a lot of people know it. It's very close to Rio and Sao Paolo. And I lived five years in San Paolo before I moved to the United States.
GabyV: Oh, pretty cool! So that's something too that a lot of people, they think of Brazil, they think beach, Rio, Sao Paolo. But what are some of the stereotypes that you hear about Brazil and you're just like ay yi yi? What are some things you want people to know is not how it actually is?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, it's funny because sometimes I don't even want to say that I'm Brazilian depending on where I'm talking, especially like white men or especially if I'm by myself alone. So people, I think they have the assumption that every Brazilian knows how to dance or they like soccer or eat meat.
I don't eat meat.
I don't know. Sometimes I feel that they have this image of Brazil that we live in the jungle, eating bananas. It's so weird.
GabyV: Yeah. It's... I dunno, the Brazilian team at the World Cup, they experienced the same type of discrimination. Things haven't really changed that much since then. It's sad.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, sad.
GabyV: Yeah, but Brazil is huge. It's the fifth largest country in the world. It's a huge emerging economy. It's not just the beach and the Amazon people. You've got to understand.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. And I think there's also the microaggressions. That is like those stupid things people sometimes say. But I remember when I moved to the US, I was looking for a job and the person knew that I was from Brazil. She was looking at my resume and she was impressed because I use the same softwares that people use here [in the US].
I don't know. I think in the beginning it also relates to how comfortable you are in the place you are, in the language you're living. I think in the beginning, I wasn't that comfortable. So I wasn't able to reply back. Sometimes when you just repeat what the other person just said, it makes them think. Now I feel more empowered to say something or speak for someone else or creating those uncomfortable situations that sometimes are really important.
GabyV: Yeah. What would you say in a situation that would make somebody think without being too rough? Can you give me an example?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. That's a hard question. This example that someone said to me - it's a microaggression - they were surprised that I used the same softwares in Brazil as the ones they use here in Silicon Valley.
If it was today I would say,
'Why would you think that?'
And I think just saying that makes the person think. Maybe she won't say it, but she knows why she said that. So I think maybe sometimes just like replying back and asking things like that makes the other person think and hopefully not say it again.
GabyV: Yeah, it's... you gotta read between the lines.
'What do you mean?'
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I think so.
GabyV: That's a good point. You mentioned that you didn't speak much English when you came. When did you start learning English? And then what level were you at when you came?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, that's interesting because I started to study English when I was 11 years old. When I was younger, I used to be really confident, like really like confident that I could speak English with anyone and I had a lot of friends over like the internet where I could speak in English.
So I was feeling really good about it. And I finished, kind of like graduated, when I was 17. Sometimes when you get older, you become more self-conscious. I worked with international companies. I used to work in advertising when I was in Brazil.
So I worked with international clients. So my last client was HP. Meetings in English and everything, but it was more us listening or writing rather than speaking. So when I moved here, I think sometimes you overestimate a lot of things. It's different when you move to another country compared to when you are just visiting. I remember that I needed to schedule doctor appointments or get your social security number. So stuff like that, it's different. It's so different to deal with things like that. So I was feeling really insecure about my English and I couldn't speak. I spent a lot of time, like just saying the [bare minimum] asking my partner to order food for me or do a lot of stuff for me because I didn't want to speak.
I needed to book an appointment and I called the place and I was booking the appointment for myself and my husband and his last name is tricky because the 'E' and 'I' it's switched in Portuguese. So I spelled it wrong over the phone to the person.
And the person said to me,
'Oh, you don't know how to [spell] your husband's name?'
And I was so mad. I was like,
'Oh, I just moved here. It's so hard for me have conversations in my second language.'
I was getting tired [of speaking] in English. But at the same time, at that time, I was able to say something because it was something that I struggled for a lot of time, not being able to even reply back.
And I replied to her. It was the only thing that I could say. And I said to her,
'I know how to spell his name, but not in your language.' Yeah,
GabyV: I know another language. How about that then?
Thaisa Fernandes: because I was so mad maybe because I was frustrated because I wasn't able to communicate the way I'm used to in my native language. And I was so frustrated not being able to have conversations the way I was used to and over the phone was even harder. Yeah, this happened. And a lot of things like that happened in the beginning.
And I think in the beginning, it's harder just because you are insecure and it can make you really sad. Or maybe internally you're thinking that things like that arereinforcing that you're not good enough. Your English is not good enough. Or sometimes someone doesn't understand you and they say,
'Can you say that again?'
And it just 'Oh, my English is terrible. No one understands me.'
So you overreact a lot.
GabyV: Yeah, I had the same thing happen to me when I moved here to Germany. But It was a little bit different because my husband was working a lot. So I was forced to make a lot of appointments. But still you have moments, especially with some of my clients, even they tell me,
'The hardest thing for me is in a meeting trying to say something on the spot [like I didn't prepare it], talking on the phone and when I'm talking on the phone, what to say first after hello, how are you? I don't know what to do.'
But the other day, something so embarrassing happened to me. I thought I was like,
'Yeah, I know German now. I know.'
So I had to go to the foreigners authority office and I brought all of my paperwork. Then on the form, it said this thing about your partner for a vorsprache.
And I thought,
'Oh, okay. That must mean our marriage certificate.'
So I brought that. And then the lady said,
'Oh no! Vorsprache means I needed to talk to him. So he needs to be here with you.'
And I was like
She was nice. She let me call him and make a time for him to come. But I can really tell the difference now because we lived in a smaller city when we first got married and the people didn't have that much empathy. They were like,
'What's wrong with you? You didn't read the thing. You couldn't figure out what this says.'
But now we live in a bigger city, which is more diverse. People are much more patient, but it's still hard. Like you get there and you're like,
'I can't believe I messed that up. That's basic.'
But also the pandemic. You get fewer chances to talk. So you start to forget stuff.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. Yeah. So it's hard. It's really hard. Having English as a first language, you have access to more things. Even having English as a second language now, but it's a language that I feel more comfortable and I realized that I was getting lazy too.
So my Spanish is worse now. I'm learning French again after many years. It's just so hard. If I go to France, I can speak in English and some people will understand me. So that's fine. So I'm forcing myself when I go to other places, especially when I go to France, trying to speak in French, even with my broken French.
So I will have the opportunity to practice it and get better.
GabyV: Yeah, that's good. Really, really hard, but if people have empathy, it makes it easier.
There are four things you can do as a native speaker to help someone feel more comfortable.
To speak slowly but correctly. So don't use baby talk. That's number one.
Thaisa Fernandes: Okay.
GabyV: Then, let the person speak. Listen to them patiently.
Also give them very specific feedback. So you can give them specific commendations like,
'Oh yeah, that's a good word. Keep using that word.'
But also if you give them a correction, do it nicely and have it be specific, not like
'You're so dumb.'
Instead 'We don't really say it like that. So maybe you could say like this next time.'
So just little things like that can make a big difference.
Thaisa Fernandes: I think so and sometimes when people say something, you might not know the expression, for example. So if the person say asks you to repeat, you can repeat the same expression, but maybe when they ask you to repeat it again, just change it. Say it in a different way because they probably don't know that expression or the words.
Many years ago, I used to go to Starbucks a lot and I ordered something and the person said to me,
'Would that be all?', really fast and I couldn't understand. I thought it was a word and I was like,
'I don't know this word. What is happening?'
And the person said, 'Would that be all?', three times.
I was like, 'I don't know what you're saying.'
And... another person said to me, 'Oh, he's saying, will that be all?' *slowly*
I was like, 'Oh, okay. Yes. I don't want anything else.'
GabyV: Yeah, that's a good point. A lot of people make the mistake when that happens, like this person, repeating themselves. Or if they speak your language, then they switch to your language for you. No, don't do that because then you have to switch gears in your brain. But that person helped you out a lot. They said it slower or like you said, they could simplify it. So that's a good strategy.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. Yeah. I think about this a lot because I write a lot with my blog using acronyms. I remember when I started to work here in the US, it was funny because I couldn't understand a lot of things because people were using acronyms a lot. And I was using Google all the time so I can understand what they were talking about.
And now I'm used to that but it was really funny in the beginning.
GabyV: Yeah, acronyms are like their own language. So now that you're a manager, how do you manage making sure everybody understands what you mean?
Thaisa Fernandes: So I'm a program manager. But I work with different teams, but I don't manage any team or any person, but I'm always working with cross functional teams. So for example, in my team, we have different program managers, there's product managers, engineers. There's a lot of different teams. And my team at Twitter is really diverse and everyone is really nice.
It's a global team. So we have people all over. And I feel that I learned a lot and I feel really comfortable about having different accents, different ways of speaking. So I feel that I'm always learning a lot about other markets, the way they work, the way they speak their expectations.
I always try to come from a curiosity point of view rather than like having assumptions. I'm a curious person. I want to know. I want to talk and also want to create relationships with the folks I work with. So I'll always try to bring that to everything I do. Maybe there are things related to my culture too, that it's business oriented, but also relationship oriented. I'm really comfortable living here and also with what I do. So it also helps me to bring a lot of my personality at work. If you have the opportunity to have a conversation, setting the expectations and ask for what you need I think things are much easier.
GabyV: What does a project manager actually do? We hear that all the time, but what is it exactly?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. So maybe let's start with the definition of a project. It's something that has a defined beginning and ending. So a project, it's not going to last forever. It's something with a defined start and end and budget. What the project manager does is basically manage this entire process [from] the beginning until the end, which is also making sure that you are going to deliver the project on time, on budget, and you have right resources to do it, and setting the expectations with the stakeholders, and things like that.
Program manager, it's a more business oriented role. So usually in a program, you have many projects happening at the same time and they have the same business objectives. So all those projects are going to help you to achieve your business goal.
So you're more focused on the business side of it, the operations, and making sure that things are working the way it was supposed to work in order to achieve your business objectives. So you won't be working on a day-to-day like tasks because you have other teams working with that.
GabyV: Okay. So... program manager would be the manager of a whole bunch of project managers? Is that how it works?
Thaisa Fernandes: Not necessarily. The program manager is the person helping to achieve a business goal of the program. The project manager is going to be focused, maybe on one project, one thing that you need to achieve and deliver it. But this one thing is part of something you need to achieve from your side, from the program side of things.
GabyV: Yeah, it sounds like it's a lot of just making sure you balance everything. So it takes a very special personality like yours.
Thaisa Fernandes: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it's really interesting and it's the part that I like a lot. I love to work with people and I think it's really fascinating because we are all different. We have different skills; we have different expectations and there's life happening in between. So we have good days, bad days. So being able to navigate all of that, it's not easy.
GabyV: Yeah, it's defintely helping you even on the other side to make sure that the podcast runs smoothly too. I've just been amazed by your consistency, with the way you manage your team, it's always there. It's never late. So you constantly have some content. Like,
'Wow, look at this girl. She's working and everything's still on time.'
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah. I think... especially when you have a side project, there is the ideal world, right? The ideal would be having a new episode weekly or biweekly, but the reality is that I have a full-time [job], it's just... it's a huge commitment. So you do what you can. In my case, I decided to do once a month because this is the cadence that I can commit to.
And I think now, especially this year, I found a good balance, a good flow where I can spend some time planning the episodes. And then I get into the recording mode. So I record a bunch of episodes at once and then I can dedicate my time to other things. This flow helped me a lot to make sure that I have episodes every month.
GabyV: Yeah, that's good. It's hard to find that balance because I've gone back and forth. I was like
'Let me record all 12 episodes in five weeks.', and that was tiring.
And then it was like,
'No, that's too much. Let me record one every week and then have it done by Thursday.'
And I was like, 'No, that's too much.'
So... now we're at the point where I'm like,
'Okay, I'm going to record these, maybe two a week, until I get to 12 and then release one every two weeks.'
So we'll see how it goes. If I'm still alive at the end I'll let you know.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, that's cool. because you also do the editing. It's a lot of work.
GabyV: Yeah, it's a lot to do the scheduling and then you got to do the editing and you have to make the episode art and get everybody organized. It's fun. I like it, but it's still... it takes time.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, it takes time. It takes time. It's fun.
GabyV: So wrapping up here, Thaisa, what would you say to someone who's where you were seven years ago? Maybe they're just moving to the states and now they're moving into a United States is in lockdown how could they start to feel more comfortable with their new surrounds?
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, I think it's really hard to think about that because thinking about myself seven years ago was really hard to move. And even though I know that I also had a lot of privilege because I moved with a visa. So I was always allowed to work. So even though it was very difficult to build my career again from scratch. But one thing that I would say first, don't put a lot of pressure on yourself. Try to have fun while you move to another country, while you build your career again. And the other thing I would say to be really strategic about your choices, the things you want to do. For example, if you want to switch careers, which was what I did when I moved.
And I think it's not ideal. It's really hard. I think I [would] try to think about not switching careers for now, but thinking about ways where you can switch after a period of time, because it's much harder when you are new. You need to make connections. You don't know a lot of people plus you want to change your career. It's really hard.
And another thing is just spend a lot of time networking, talking with people. People are usually really nice. Message them on LinkedIn or Twitter, and just ask to have a 30 minutes coffee to discuss a subject. One thing that is really useful is to be really specific about what you are looking.
For example, you want to become a program manager and you've messaged this program manager. You say,
'Oh, you work in this company. You are a program manager. I am a designer and I want to switch to program management. I want to talk with you about this and this. Do you have 30 minutes of your time for a phone call or hang out?' and that's it because sometimes the person [doesn't] know how they can help you. It's much easier for the person [to] say yes, if you give them what you need and what you are expecting. It's something that I learned as I navigated the process here, things here, and I think it's a game changer for folks who are trying to make connections and networking.
GabyV: Great advice. I like that point. Now Thaisa, where can people find you? I know you're very active on LinkedIn and Twitter. Please tell us where we can find you and your Latinx in Power podcast.
Thaisa Fernandes: Yeah, so people can find me on Twitter. My handle is @thaifernandes. I use LinkedIn a lot. It's my name Thaisa Fernandes. I'm always sharing things related to product management, program management, design, Latinx things that are important to me that are related to inclusion, belonging, diversity. Also my podcast is latinxinpower.com. You can find it in all streaming platforms. And we also have the online store and there's also a blog. So for folks who are not used to listening to podcasts, we have a transcription of the episodes in our blog on medium. So if you look for Latinx in Power, you're going to find our blogs as well.
And we are also on Instagram.
GabyV: Okay, very cool. The Latinx in Power podcast is demystifying tech, interviewing Latinx leaders all over the world to get their perspective, encouragement, and insights. It's awesome 'Thaisa has interviewed people from Brazil, from Mexico, Cubans, Hondurenos, Peruanos, Paraguayos, Spanish, Colombian, and many more. So you guys will enjoy it.
Thaisa Fernandes: Ah, thank you. Yeah. Our goal is actuallyto interview at least one person for each Latin American country because to me, it's also important to bring diversity also in terms of countries. We interviewed [people from] 15 countries and we have a lot more to go and the goal is really bringing different perspectives.
There's not only one way to do things. There's not only one path and our path is not supposed to be linear. So it's okay to be messy and change as we go. So this is our goal to show that there are a lot of different ways to do things and different journeys and everything's all right. It's fine.
GabyV: Yeah, that's awesome. I think I have a few suggestions maybe for Argentina, El Salvador and Guatemala for you.
Thaisa Fernandes: Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. Send it to me. I actually just interviewed someone from Argentina and yeah. So would be great to have more.
GabyV: Okay, cool. So we'll talk about that offline, but everybody, this is Thaisa Fernandes. Go ahead and check out those handles. Check out that podcast and we'll see you next time.