Camila Casale: Making Her Own Way
Story By: Fred Jerant
Women in technology industries – and especially Latina women – isn’t exactly commonplace. But Camila Casale has dug into it with both hands, and strives to help more women make the same inroads.
Casale has always been something of a rebel. “I was born in Argentina, and have three brothers,” she says. “But I am the only one who left the country to build a career, and the only one to work in tech. They sometimes joke that I am the black sheep.”
Entering the tech world
While studying for her bachelor’s degree in business administration/economics at the University of Buenos Aires, she accepted a Young Professionals Program internship at IBM Argentina. “That was my first real exposure to the technology industry,” she said, “and I fell in love with it. I realized it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life”
After graduation, Casale joined the Argentinean branch of Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting firm involved in market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training across multiple industries.
In 2009, with her MBA completed, she was ready for a change. And that’s when Frost & Sullivan relocated her to Nice, France as its business development manager ICT/global account leader for Europe. “I was just 25 years of age,” she recalls, “but I realized that the only way for me to grow was to get out of my comfort zone – so off I went.”
Next stop: U. S. A.
Her fate took a major turn in 2012; when the CEO charged her with implementing a business plan she had created earlier – establishing a branch office in Miami.
Two weeks later, she was in the Sunshine State, where she opened the office, acquired her own staff, and had a huge impact – exceeding her sales territory by beating all prediction on sales ever expected.
While hosting a networking event for local clients, Casale met Marcos Jimenez, CEO for Softtek USA and Canada, who shortly afterward brought her onto his team as Senior VP of Consulting for the U. S. and Canada.
Diversity in practice
In her current role as Chief Marketing Officer, Casale embraces an atypical leadership style. “I tell everyone that I am not ‘the boss.’ I hate that word. Instead, I am their leader. I guide them to succeed.”
And that team comes from many different backgrounds. “I think I have the most diverse team in the company. Lots of them are Latino, and about 60% are women. I didn’t pick them because they are women,” she stresses, “but because they’re the best at what they do.
Casale also encourages her staff to come to her with new ideas – with the understanding that not all of them will be accepted. “As the tech services space becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, my team and I cannot simply rely on traditional ways of doing things, and we can’t try new things simply because they’re new. We have to constantly focus on programs that have an impact, and that we as a team can continually evaluate and improve,” she adds.
The revelation, and a remedy
After serving on a panel with her mentor, Myrna Soto (Global Chief Information Security Officer and Senior Vice President at Comcast Corporation), Casale had a revelation – there was a dearth of women in C-level positions in Miami’s tech industry sector. And more important – there was no system in place for them to exchange ideas and share their challenges.
That led to her creation of Women in Technology Miami Council, which is dedicated to uniting and supporting women from different nationalities and backgrounds to advance and succeed in the tech industry. WITech Miami also sponsors quarterly roundtables at various locations, such
as Facebook’s and Yahoo’s Florida facilities.
“Research shows that fewer than 2% of Latinas are in executive positions – and we should be ashamed of that,” she says. “We can lead by our example,” Casale adds, “by showing them that a kickass smart woman is inside that beautiful dress. We need to teach them that they can be successful in this business.”