Follow your dreams

Soraida Ledesma

Project Manager Senior Consultant | SAP Multi Country North Latin America

The possibility of learning and developing permanently is one of the things that most fascinates Soraida. Her 15 years of experience managing projects in different sectors translate into a constant reinvention, which keeps her motivation levels high. For her, work has always been a very important part of life, and she insists that each professional project is an aggregating experience and a positive investment of her time.

She does not divide her world between her career and her family as they are both intertwined. There’s no such thing as a “personal or professional life,” but just “life,” which includes her two daughters, Jesica Lorena, 16, and Angelica Sofia, 8. The girls are as much part of her mother’s work as Soraida is.

Jesica and Angelica are legitimate “SAPitas” – “SAPitos” is an SAP program that seeks to bring children closer to their parents" workplace. The kids get to visit the company, sit down to “work,” meet their colleagues, and integrate with their parents’ second home. On commemorative dates, such as Halloween or Christmas, there are joint celebrations and, throughout the year, there are countless activities where the “SAPitos” can be present, either by sending drawings or pictures, or participating in contests. The girls have taken part in so many of these activities that everyone at the Human Resources department knows them by name.

Through this program, it’s easier for the girls to understand their mother's work. “They realize that the time I dedicate to the company is reciprocated to them,” said Soraida. Her frequent business travels don’t keep her from being part of her daughters’ routines. There’s a daily slot in her agenda to Skype with them. They share the news, talk about the day, study, do homework, and often even have dinner together – that's how Soraida is always present. Even from a distance, she manages to surprise Jesica and Angelica. There was one time she couldn’t be there for her eldest’ s birthday, so she threw a party for her with the help of family and friends.

Sometimes the girls get to join Soraida on her trips.

That’s a wonderful way for us to spend time together and for me to show them new cultures. We try to take advantage of every situation.

When all three of them are at home, “the three musketeers,” as they like to call themselves, have guaranteed interaction spaces. They save their weekends to finish homework, go out to dinner, ride horses, go to parks, watch movies, go camping, visit relatives, and many other activities they like to share.

It is not uncommon for family dynamics to be questioned in a society that often sees women as nothing but housewives – unfortunately, a woman who easily manages both her family and career on her own is still an oddity. “Many people ask me if I’m happy, which I obviously am. And I share that with my daughters. They learn to be responsible for their own happiness and strive for it,” she said.

And it is through her example that Soraida shows this to Jesica and Angelica. “I want them to be happy – both personally and professionally. I tell them to build their dreams and let their wings fly. They don't need to stick to just one place. I’d love them to be free and go wherever they want,” she said.

Often, even coworkers are surprised by the family routine and curious about how the three musketeers organize themselves. For Soraida, the answer is simple: Always try to make the girls part of her world, just as she is part of theirs.

That way they won’t feel neglected, but understand that mom is fulfilling her dreams, and that they are a huge part of it all.

Soraida believes that there is a parallel between the life of a mother and a project manager. At work, she seeks client satisfaction and the main goal is to create value and benefits. For family, it’s the same rationale.

I want professional and personal success. Both complement each other. That’s how I build my happiness. We must work toward our dreams.

Address of graffiti art: Comendador Francisco Pettinati St. with Alfredo Gioielli St. - Jardim Monte Kemel | Sao Paulo, Brazil