Do not be afraid to take on challenges, do not wonder too much if you are ready, if that is the opportunity you have been looking for or if it is time to move forward, ask for help if you need it but do not be afraid. That is Ana Laura Ludlow's message for Mexican and Latina women.
The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo Toro
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She is a communicator and a Master in Administration from Tecnológico de Monterrey. With a university diploma in hand, she joined the ENGIE company where she has held various positions until reaching the commercial vice-presidency for Mexico and Central America. Saying it in three lines makes her work path seem short and simple, but more than two decades of work have given Ana Laura Ludlow the opportunity to work in various positions, accumulate knowledge, climb and gain in-depth knowledge of issues such as public relations, customer service, marketing, and sustainability.
Her professional career began in the regions but she would soon be called to the DF to report directly to the CEO of ENGIE integrating activities with other countries such as France and Belgium. From challenge to challenge, Ana Ludlow found herself interacting with men twice her age: "They were surprised, and maybe they thought they had sent a girl to lead the company. You have to show that you want to do things well and that your purpose is to contribute."
Ludlow transcends borders and is sent to the United States as part of an ENGIE project to structure international markets: "It was enriching to be exposed to another culture. I lived great moments with my family and then I return to Mexico to implement what I learned and develop the gas and electricity marketer on our own land."
Changes in customer relationships occupied Ana Laura's time, who devoted herself to the task of establishing close relationships with customers to get to know them, learn about their needs and demands. The next step was to be in charge of the Commercial Vice-presidency of the company, a position that expanded the spectrum to huge interactive scenarios that include smart cities, industries, local governments, airports, parks, and universities with a specific reference framework, the generation of energy without losing sight of sustainability: "I have learned that we must understand our impact on the environment and the challenges we face in terms of the new generations to whom we cannot and must not deliver a destroyed world. That is why we work on the conscious delivery of energy."
Ana Laura Ludlow recognizes the strengths of each gender and defends the thesis that "Men and women, together, we add, not subtract. I find links that allow things to happen. Outside of the workspaces, I have found some obstacles. I have sat at work tables where 90% are gentlemen with great experience and over 50 years and, sometimes, they underestimate me. In the regions, when I go to deal with people like this and I bring a salesperson, I notice that they do not look me in the eye and my questions are answered by my partner. There are still some barriers to overcome, women still have to demonstrate the reasons why we are in high positions. That does not happen to men!"
And the same thing happened at home. Married to an Argentine, she heard him speak many times that they made a team together but, once she equaled him and then surpassed him in professional work, things changed: "It's a cultural issue. Not everything is honey on flakes. We finally parted ways but I hope that my kids have learned from this experience that being a couple is about growing up together and that there is no reason to expect that only one will take the lead."
Ana Ludlow, Out of Her Desk
The only child of a couple who was already over 40 when she was born. She always saw an empowered mother who ended her relationship for business reasons. She left home for college and had the experience of living alone. She worked in college on weekdays and in department stores on Saturdays and Sundays where a taste for sales got into her veins.
She knows what it is like to be a mother and an executive at the same time because she had to breastfeed her first child in the office. "But I was not the only one. That experience awakened in me the need to defend women's flags and make their needs visible. There were several times when, being in a work meeting, I had to ask for breaks to express the milk from my breasts, fill bottles, and put them in the refrigerator."
Two medical diagnoses marked her life, the attention deficit of her eldest son and her mother's Alzheimer's disease: "They were complicated processes that strengthened us as a family. My mom went from being my support to becoming my third daughter. I needed a girl to help me with the children and a nurse to watch out for my mother, a whole team." What did she learn? That there are times in life when you should ask for help and that doing so does not take away the title of an empowered woman.
Ana Laura Ludlow loves to run and travels 5 kilometers three days a week, dances salsa and other Latin rhythms, loves to travel and that is why she loves the smells of airports and hotels: "I want to transcend and that's why I instill in my son's concepts about the gender equality. At work, I seek that the number of women hired by the company increases and I support them to reach managerial levels through an internal group called Women in Energy. I prepare those who follow me to one day take my place."