She traded a career as a film and TV producer in Brazil for the IT industry in New Zealand. Bela Duclos, Samsung Electronics key account manager, still worked as a freelancer in the production of several TV commercials in New Zealand, when she first moved in the beginning of the last decade, but a role as client manager for Origin IT kickstarted a fresh career in a new industry. back in 2005.
Duclos says that, although her IT career might have started by chance, it was not by chance that she has stayed on and grown in different roles. She is familiar with the ins and outs of the sector, having covered the traditional three tiers of the industry, having started as part of a reseller, then moving to working with a distributor and now doing business as a vendor. From Origin IT, she moved to Westcon, where she worked for nearly five years as account manager, before taking on her current role with Samsung, six months ago.
"I have accidentally fallen into IT as I worked in TV Production for many years. But it has not been by chance that I have grown my career. Once in IT I saw a great opportunity to be part of a fast moving and interesting industry. I have started out in a reseller then worked in distribution for a few years and am now at a vendor. It has been a great path and it has given me the chance to see IT from all sides and an understanding of where people are coming from. Perspective is a powerful tool," she says.
Duclos believes confidence, a strong network and knowledge of the market are the three key factors for succeeding in the industry. "I genuinely like people and I think that translates to the way I interact with my customers and partners. I am determined and have a good sense of humour- very, very important for a woman in IT," she says. Duclos aims to inspire other women to pursue a career in IT, an area still mainly dominated by men.
She says she admires "a lot of women in the workforce" but singles out her mother (who, at the time of this interview, was en route to visit her daughter in New Zealand), as her biggest source of inspiration. "She has a passion for her career and has been able to become a very successful professional and raise a family. That takes a lots of determination," says the proud daughter.
After nearly a decade in the industry, Duclos remains passionate about "being part of this drive for innovation". "I love how IT changes people's lives and it moves very fast," she adds. She doesn't know what the future holds but points out that one of the great things about working in sales is that "once you've done sales, you can work in any industry".
In her role with Samsung, she covers a range of products that result in a daily mix of meetings with resellers and end users to talk about solutions and business planning. "I often demo our products and collaborate with my team as we grow our business," she says.
"This is a fast paced role as I work for a fast moving company. I love our products and the variety of the role," she adds. Reseller News interviewed Duclos while she was staying in a hotel in Singapore after two days of intensive workshops at the company's regional headquarters. "But what keeps me motivated is the interaction with my customers and seeing our products address a requirement, a need," she says.
Duclos says that, in spite of the struggles that some businesses have been going through, "the IT sector sits in a difference space" and she sees "a lot of opportunity ahead". "As the market is tight, we must not be naive about the reality of our economy but at the same time we absolutely must stay positive. I see a lot of innovation happening and I think that is the key to get us to a better place," she says.
For Samsung in New Zealand, Duclos says the focus in 2013 will be, among other things, on B2B. "We are investing heavily on growing our team and presence in NZ. We have a lot of exciting products and a strong brand so it should be a interesting year."
Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?
I live in Auckland, on the North Shore and I have been in NZ for 13 years. But I grew up in a beautiful town in Brazil called Florianopolis.
Are you married? Kids?
I have a partner of many years and two children.
What are you currently reading?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and loving it.
Do you have any favourite sports?
I love swimming.
When you were little, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
A singer! Ha! I can't sing... not even in the shower...
What's your favourite gadget?
My Galaxy Note 10.1. I love it!!
And your favourite website?
I don't think I have a favourite website but do have a few favourite apps.
What's your drink of choice?
A good NZ Sauvignon or a nice Blend. New Zealand produces really exciting wine and I love the Red blends.
What do you think has been the single most important advance in technology?
Well there are many but I guess one of the biggest impacts in our lives has been the Internet. It has changed how we live; how we relate to one another, do business and learn. It has shaped this generation.
How do you keep the work/leisure balance?
I don't. Having two kids and a busy job means there is little time for leisure. But I do try to make time for myself when possible and to have time to enjoy my family. I certainly don't have the recipe yet but am always coming up with new ideas to make it better.