InsighTs by Bardo

Women in Tech: Ana Aguilar Meca

We talked with Ana Aguilar Meca, Social Media & Senior Designer at Factoría F5, an inclusive and free network of digital schools in Spain.

Could you introduce yourself?

I am Ana Aguilar Meca, I am Venezuelan and I have been in Spain for 30 years. I have Venezuelan humor, a Spanish passport and my world is German because I come from German descent and my son is German. There is a world map in my life and in my DNA.

I am a very resilient person who loves diversity and a woman who wants to do her bit with empathy and empowerment in the world of design and technology. I currently work as a consultant but I also work in corporate design and user experience design. I am an art historian and designer. I’ve worked for many years for a multinational in the financial department and now during a pandemic, being a mother and working in Factoría F5 I finished a UX/UI bootcamp.

85% of my time is spent in Factoría F5, that is, working with people in social vulnerability who are learning full stack web development and doing other front end courses. Our focus is on technology but we also pursue a social mission: we seek to create bridges between people who are unemployed in Spain and companies that need diverse tech profiles with great soft skills.

What do you do at Factoría F5?

I work with the 5 steps of Design Thinking. Since the pandemic we’ve been working remotely. Firstly, I get to know my audience really well. They are young and vulnerable people and sometimes it is difficult to reach them. They are refugees and immigrant people who know you can get to know through social media or in the unemployment office, women survivors of gender violence who need financial independence and a job, and long-term unemployed.

After meeting my audience, I do an idea prototyping project. I seek to outline what users want. In order to do this I work with surveys, user personas and focus groups. After doing in depth research I start working with the prototype ideas and take them to a first phase. Then comes user testing to see if the message or functionality is viable. I like to create but I do so focusing on the user's problems.


What’s your take on the startup ecosystem in Barcelona?

There is a huge tech tendency in Barcelona but I think there are two sides of this story. Barcelona is super cosmopolitan and techie, it’s a city that pushes forward but this innovative spirit coexists with a traditional and national fights for its identity.

In recent years, a theme park-style city scheme was created for tourism and now we’ve come to the conclusion that relying on only one scheme and a single strategy has led Barcelona to this crisis. I believe that the industry will be strengthened if there is good investment and support so that the innovation hub that was growing and continues to grow in an accelerated way keeps expanding. The city should have a multi-strategy composed of tourism and, also, an excellent health, education and technology infrastructure.

What place do women occupy in this industry?

Only 15% of technological positions in Spain are held by women. I have never had to overcome obstacles for being a woman but I have heard very difficult stories, especially by women. Many say that they have to speak quickly to take advantage of the brief moments they are given to express their opinions and views and then face criticism. I empathize with women and I want to help overcome these barriers and fight against anyone who is not capable of listening to women.

What inspires you?

Inspiration comes to me in stages. There have been many moments of different inspirations. I have always been inspired by my brand Ketterer Design. A brand that I created 7 years ago and that continues to evolve.

It inspires me to look back at all the things I have done. My childhood inspires me. Venezuela and its smells that are so difficult to find here. Tragicomic moments in my life. The colors of Carlos Cruz Diez's art at the Venezuelan airport when I said goodbye to my family. Watching Almodovar movies in Barcelona during the 90s. Restless culture. I'm very eclectic with tastes. I'm inspired by people. I'm inspired by musical tastes, I'm inspired by the avant-garde. It is a mix.

How do you imagine yourself at a professional level in five years?

I believe professional activities are like a good meal. I enjoy the appetizer and the first course, I learn from the second one and I close beautifully with the desserts. I mean, I don't like being in a project for three months and then leaving. So, in 5 years I would like to continue working on something with a sustainable and social perspective like Factoría F5. I would like to focus much more on UX / UI design and do it in a diverse team within their genres, their capacities, their nationalities and their customs. I would also like to work full in English and I would like to work by challenges and objectives instead of by days or hours.

What did you learn in these months of confinement?

I have learned patience and, above all, that my house is a multidisciplinary apartment in Barcelona. I have learned to have games for my son during the day, to create visual arts, to do sports circuits and family circuits and, in addition, I have completed a bootcamp in total confinement. I have also learned to ask for help before reaching the limit.

Josefina Blattmann
,
Marketing Strategist

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