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Today, March 8th, marks International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the world, while ensuring we stay focused in our aim of achieving gender-equality.

This year, the theme is #BreakTheBias – looking at breaking down stereotypes, discrimination and bias, and instead, recognising the need for a globally diverse, equitable and inclusive world, where differences are celebrated, not segregated.

Carolina and Patricia in front of K2 Brazil sign

In support of the day, we bring you a new K2 perspective, from another of our impressive women in the global mobility industry. Patricia Tavares, K2 Country Director for Brazil, recently celebrated her first anniversary at K2, a year which saw her launch K2’s first legal entity in São Paulo. Alongside this, Patricia helps bring together an inclusive global mobility community through two podcasts (Brazil Talks and LATAM Talks – available on Spotify) and runs a separate platform for discussions, webinars and community building. She is also part of Mex – a mentoring network for empowering young women in business, with the aim to promote more women into leadership roles.

Whilst we are proactively celebrating the achievements of women, we also want to take a moment to celebrate our fantastic male colleagues. As K2 strives for gender-equality, we see it as important to ensure that we are recognising and equally representing all genders. As the series progresses, we will be featuring some of our impressive male K2 employees, who are proactively championing and supporting equality. In the interview below, Patricia tells us about the influential male role model she has in her life, and how he has helped her to become the empowered woman she is today.

Q. What has been your biggest success/ challenge to date as country director for Brazil?

The biggest challenge for me was getting K2 ready to open in Brazil. I’ve had over 20 years of experience in HR, but I had never opened an international legal entity before – hence a lot of studying! Ultimately, the office turned out to be a big success. In less than a year, we already have several Brazilian clients and have grown our internal team. We want to show the market that K2 have a presence in LATAM and that despite being a small team, we can guarantee our clients the same level of quality that they can expect from the rest of the organisation.

Q. This years’ theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias – focused on breaking down stereotypes, discrimination and bias. Have you ever felt like you’ve faced bias or been stereotyped in the workplace, or any other setting?

The first time I remember facing discrimination and bias because of my gender was in 2008, when I was promoted to my first senior managerial positional in the financial industry. There were a few comments and jokes made by (female!) colleagues about the reasons behind the promotion, essentially because I was a woman. This was obviously hugely disheartening, I’d worked so hard to get to that position and my gender had no relation whatsoever. However, I was lucky enough to work with a very supportive boss who taught me how to be resilient and rise above such comments. He put all of his trust in me to be in that position and became my guide.

Q. Who is the powerful role model that has most influenced your life?

He was the first boss that I had when I transitioned into the financial sector. They had just opened up a bank in Brazil and I was one of the only employees who spoke fluent English. He saw the value in me and pushed me to continue studying, taking an MBA in People Management. This was back in 1997 and from that day on, he has followed my career, and kept updated with what I’m doing, still guiding my work decisions. He’s 83 now, but we regularly keep in touch. In-fact, when I first heard about the job at K2, he was the first person I reached out to. Now, thanks to him, I have the tools needed to empower others.

Q. How do you empower others in the workplace, and the community?

I’m part of a network (Mex) that strives to empower talented young women to aim for leadership roles within business. We work on an individual mentoring basis and work to increase women’s confidence at work. There’s a network of us and every month, we support 15 women to explore what empowerment means to them.

I’ve also built an inclusive community for the global mobility world – it started off with 450 people on the distribution list, and we’ve just reached over 2,000! It’s a fantastic, community to be a part of. During a three-year assignment in New York, I was very active with the Forum for Expat Management and participated in this across the tri-state area. During my return to Brazil, and the start of the pandemic, I wanted to do something to ensure I kept the community I’d spent four years building together. This was when the idea for Brazil Talks was born.

It’s a platform whereby our members can share ideas and knowledge, and communicate with each other. We hold webinars once a month and produce regular podcasts around trending topics. I co-host this with my colleague Vanessa and our synergy is great, we’re constantly coming up with new ideas to reach out to our audience. We realised there was a need for this to reach the Spanish market, which was when a secondary podcast, LATAM talks, was subsequently developed.

Q. Finally, do you have a motto for life to live by?

My only motto is to love what you do. When you like what you do, it’s a job. When you love what you do, it’s a career. Live life, see the positive side to everything and be kind to other people. Above all, be happy.

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