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Cristina's Story

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

Our teams see beyond the success of just one quarter, because we know we need to look beyond a customer’s day to day business transactions and examine their business and its challenges. Our relationships are what make SAP Latin America & Caribbean special.

Cristina Palmaka

 

I am in the very unique position of having worked for SAP at two different points in my career, and can attest to the growth and transformation we have gone through as a company. I joined SAP for the first time in 2009. I had worked all my career in technology, but on the hardware side, so this was my first move into the software industry. What attracted me to SAP at the time was the ability to work with partners and companies of a smaller size, something SAP was just starting to invest into. 

I worked at SAP Brazil for just over a year, but left to take on a role at a competitors’ organization who was going through a complete rebuilding of its LAC teams. I don’t regret leaving SAP because when I returned in 2013, I had the experience of a multi-channel approach, and SAP really needed that expertise. Honestly, it felt like coming back home. At that time, SAP was just moving from on-premise to the cloud. It felt like a different company in the best way possible. I took over the leadership of SAP Brazil, helping customers and partners in their digital transformation journey into the Cloud. It was exhilarating to drive this change alongside the more than 2,000 employees of the subsidiary. I was super proud! 

Our portfolio and ecosystem of partners is robust and very diverse in SAP Brazil, and our customers benefit from that immensely. From the time I returned in 2013, SAP placed huge focus on having diverse leadership and teams, a necessary change to better serve our very diverse customers. We also changed the way we position ourselves to our customers – we are much more empathetic, always coming from a position of how we can help. Our teams see beyond the success of just one quarter, because we know we need to look beyond a customer’s day to day business transactions and examine their business and its challenges. Our relationships are what make SAP SAP Latin America & Caribbean special.

I value diversity in my teams. It’s something I learned as I took on leadership positions throughout my career. If everyone thinks as you think, things perhaps get done quicker and that’s ok for the short term. But in the long term, it’s absolutely the wrong approach. You don’t see the alternatives; you can’t see your own blind spots. In technology, there are so many options, and diversity is mandatory! I have a strong value system from my family, and I bring this to my work each and every day. Both sets of my grandparents came to Brazil from Poland during WWII. They did not speak the language and knew very little about the culture, which was very different from their small-town farming life in Poland. It was a challenging life for them initially, as they built a life from scratch. Being first generation Brazilian and the daughter of immigrants, we didn’t necessarily have many luxuries. Instead, my brothers and I were fueled by our values to do the right thing, to work hard, to achieve our best. My father also guided me to find my own way, carve my own path. What that has meant for me in my career is that any achievement I have or any challenge that I overcome, it’s something to celebrate. That ability to be resilient is ingrained in me and has served me so well at SAP, as I work with my teams and customers each day and help them overcome their challenges.

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