adriana garcia.

venezuela  |  friend. mother. engineer. entrepreneur. professor.

 I know very few women who work in fields of science, technology, engineering, or math (often called STEM). However, I am working hard to correct this oversight. It must stem from my fear of math. In an effort to work through my “fear of math obstacle,” I added Take Mathematics All Over Again to my bucket list. This lofty goal has loomed on the green pages of my bucket list for years, like a monster that sits in a child’s closet at night. Deep inside, I know I can work through it, but for the time being, I would prefer to lock the monster in the closet and check the Travel To An Exotic Beach off my list first.

In the meantime, I would be remiss not to add the STEM category to this blog project.  Perhaps the more I engage with women who have tamed the STEM monster, the less fear I will have surrounding my dread of mathematics.

As I researched engineering, I stumbled across the Engineer Girl website—an awesome site designed to bring attention to exciting opportunities in engineering for girls and women. This is how I met Adriana Garcia, my new South American friend. Adriana is a mother of two who works hard to balance her parental responsibilities and professional career. This Engineer Girl offers excellent advice to women trying to balance family and work.

How did you choose the life you lead and was it a conscious decision?

The life I lead now is a direct result of some very conscious decisions and others more intuitive. I have the pleasure to say that every one of my mistakes and successes have been caused by my choice, and each lesson has been caused by my own life experience. I am the main character of each and every one of my days, and although I plan and organize my life, I like to be surprised by the everyday miracles that God sends my way.

What inspired you to become an electrical engineer?

I enjoy challenges. I fully understand the challenges and difficulties of the career I have chosen. And overcoming these challenges was always an inspiration for me. Although I was always good at physics and mathematics, every day was difficult. The desire to emerge victorious motivated my efforts.

Were you ever discouraged to follow your career path? If so, how did you handle the situation?

I felt discouraged when I realized how difficult it was to find balance between engineering career and motherhood. For many years both roles competed with each other, and I did not know how to find the balance point. As years went by, I realized that the secret is to do what you love the most without feeling guilty about your choices. I had to learn that I could dedicate to myself to motherhood and engineering, exclusive or shared. When you do what you love— you will be happy and life will give you the tools to find balance.

What exactly do you do all day and why is it so important?

Currently, I am an independent consultant and I perform studies of power quality at industries. It is important to evaluate the functioning of the electrical system, according to international quality standards, in order to correct situations in the system to prevent failures. The evaluation is performed by measuring electrical parameters at key points of the system using specialized equipment, I install the low voltage equipment, then I analyze the data on my computer. I then prepare a report with recommendations and possible solutions that will later be executed.

What has been your greatest challenge working in this field?

The biggest challenge was when I decided to open my own business and to work independently. Learning has been immense in many technical, managerial and administrative aspects. Starting to work for myself, carrying out the process about acquisition and care of customers, creating services that add value— it has all been a complete experience. While I feel that I made the right decision, because I built myself the perfect job which I love to do, I still have many things to learn.

What dreams and/or goals have inspired your success?

I feel my greatest success is to be happy every day. Reaching that goal was what led me to inspire me to focus and build my dream job and through it, to balance my career with my role as a mother. Achieve personal balance has been my inspiration and my greatest success as well.

If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

I would change discrimination against women. I wish we were all given the same opportunities as men. We should have the same rights and duties. We should be able to choose what we do with our lives without being judged by others and even by ourselves. I would like to see a more democratic and conciliatory households towards women.

What was your greatest lesson learned?

My biggest lesson has been to learn to “accept”. Accept the circumstances as, the life presents, accept the changes, although we seem difficult. For me it was a great lesson on humility, by recognizing my inability to control life like the variables of a mathematical equation. I learned that I’m not here to control anything. The only thing I can control are my own thoughts.

Did you have a mentor? If so, how has this shaped who you are?

I did not have a mentor, I had several teachers. To explain this I like to use a word in Sanskrit is “upaguru” it means the teacher who is close, a person who without being a guru, at some point in life was there to show you something you needed to learn.

What is your best advice on how to live a graceful life?

My best advice is to build confidence. Confidence will help you be graceful. Understand and trust that life presents all we need, no more and no less. Understand that every situation in our lives happens for one purpose.

j. jane side notes:

Adriana is a very proud mother and her love of life has shined through every email we have exchanged.

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