Empower, Embrace and Enjoy!
This month we had the honor of interviewing a fantastic woman in the world of banking and technology, Mónica Carrión. She tells us a bit about her life, her career, and her professional experience in one of the most recognized companies locally and internationally, Diners Club International – Ecuador.
Where were you born?
I was born in the city of Quito, Ecuador, a pretty city in the Ecuadorian sierra, which has inherited a mix of fantastic Spanish and native culture, with people who possess impressive talent.
In my mind, our anthem’s lyrics are always presented in a hymn which says:
“Oh Spanish city of the Andes, Oh city which the Incas have dreamt about, because Atahualpa made you, you are great and also because Spain loved you”.
Quito’s historic center and it’s extraordinary beauty earned the distinction of being the first city in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the great architectural richness of its churches and buildings, which are now, blended in with modern architectural buildings from the 20th century onwards.
How many years have you worked at Diners Club International?
I have worked at Diners Club for 20 years. My current position is Vice President of the Services Center and I am the General Director of Business Processes of Interdin, S.A. – a company owned by Diners Club. It has been an exciting life filled with learning and development, creating and building change…always anchored in the deep respect of the legacy received by those who have had the opportunity to join this company. It is the largest credit card company in the country, with recognized operations around the world, being part of the 20 most important credit card issuance and onboarding companies in Latin America, including Mexico and Brazil.
The company is a vision and legacy of its main shareholder, which generated and still generates a family culture that has been able to leave a footprint and engage several generations of professionals. Our Executive President, with his leadership, has been able to preserve change, a constant dynamic, which triggers innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and business models with a human approach, always keeping the client in mind. All of which has been able to excel Diners Club as one of the top national financial institutions with international recognition.
Favorite characteristic of your country Ecuador?
Ecuador is a magnificent country, which in its small circumference has the most unique archipelago in all of the world, beaches and coastal cities of impressive natural beauty. The Andes Mountain range crossing from north to south of its territory, and the most majestic volcanoes that make our mountains appear like giant statues with eternal snow. All a blessing of God´s generosity, and of course, the Amazonian Region with all its exuberance and its great wealth. A challenge that I have, is to be part of the collective that can turn all this beauty into opportunities for people and the ability to generate wealth for the majority, to make this small country the best place in the world to live and develop.
Ecuador requires people committed to the people, to the collective, to contribute every day in their own environment, who want and are committed to develop ecosystems of continuous improvement and inclusion to change the future of our country. Currently, Ecuador for all Ecuadorians is a blessing with pending improvements; it requires a commitment to fight for an inclusive change based on education, health, roads, infrastructure, and continuous work to improve today´s country and leave a better country for future generations.
If you could describe yourself with just one word, which one would it be?
When did you become involved with technology and what drew you to it?
My first career was in auditing and when I began studying Systems Auditing, I visualized the importance of technology and its impact on the well-being of human development. Later on, during my master’s degree I majored in Management Information Systems and from then on, I understood that the world was going to move around the capacity to develop and adopt to technology, which at that time, was already becoming adopted by all industries. Technology was marking a rhythm of change, the emergence of new business, which was becoming the tool that humans began to utilize to accelerate and create further change for the well-being of people.
What characteristics do you consider essential to be a good leader?
I associate leadership with knowledge. A good leader should be someone who never stops learning, has an immense capacity for listening and able to bring groups together. A good leader has the humility to be a ‘Leader’ and a ‘Follower’ with absolutely every single relationship built within the organization. A leader must learn to be a good team player. A leader must be an example of his / her own evolution in order to inspire their teams. Words can convince people, but examples are the ones which make an impact.
“My biggest accomplishment has been to understand that improvement should be constant, that perfection doesn´t exist but that we should seek it, with passion and determination”
What has been your biggest achievement in your career?
I’m always thinking that my biggest accomplishment is still to come, but at the same time I try to visualize that my biggest achievement is what I am currently working on. Up until now, my biggest triumph is the contribution I’ve made towards the transformation of DINERS CLUB as a BANK as part of my core responsibilities which are to deliver integrated technological tools with a breakthrough vision and which will form the foundation to generate the new DINERS CLUB. From then on, the Diners Club team will be ready to operate the new platforms, with renovated, reformed and enriched analytic capabilities. My biggest accomplishment has been to understand that improvement should be constant, that perfection doesn´t exist but that we should seek it, with passion and determination.
How do you see gender equality in Ecuador and Latin America?
I would like to believe that inequality does not exist; I have believed it for a long time during my professional life. I consider that we should focus on working responsibly, but as we get older, and we have more experiences, we understand that it is present in Ecuador, Latin America and the whole world. However, I see it as a challenge for women in the workforce to exceed and achieve professional development. We should work as a team, without any biasness, insecurities, or complaints that belittle us as women, but rather do the opposite. We should contribute, respect, share, come together and see in either a man or a woman – a human being with abilities that may differ but with the richness that make them complementary, because there is a base of shared and respected values.
We found out that Diners obtained the Ecuadorian Environmental Award called “Punto Verde” by the Environment Ministry of Ecuador. What is your point of view about climate change and green policies in the business world?
Climate change is a fact and therefore, it is something that should be a concern to all of us.
Institutions and human beings should react to make changes and create habits to protect our planet and be part of the solution. Institutions, assuming their role with their corporate social responsibility programs should contribute and use their resources to attain real awareness plans and real actions for change. Diner´s Corporate Social Responsibility team is committed to work and adopt these initiatives to achieve goals on this matter.
What book would you recommend that has created an impact or has been an influence to you?
Without a doubt, the Bible is a magnificent book, which is eternal to all and for every moment. We can find in it, all the greatness of God’s word. Reading it renovates me, empowers me, gives me confidence, opens my vision and motivates me to keep fighting and to believe in the greatness of our creator and in God’s infinite love for all humanity. Another book I recommend is The Prophet, which inspires me, which I have read several times, and which always provides me with answers.
I’d like to end the interview with a more personal question. We know you are a very busy woman, what are your favorite activities to relax outside of work?
I love going to my house in Valle de los Chillos and being with my family. Being around my nieces and nephews (of various ages) who reinvigorate me. Some of them are in elementary school, high school, at the university, in graduate school and others are starting their first jobs.
Once a week, I also like to go see the gardens at my house, see my dogs, eat home cooked meals, and take in some rest and peace from the countryside. I do all of this after I go to my singing lessons on Saturday mornings.