Spotlight on Soledad Alborno

Introducing the unstoppable Soledad who talks to us about what she’s learned from being a woman in tech, the importance of storytelling and how having an influential sponsor changed her life.

Soledad is a Senior Product Manager at Google and has 20 years of experience in technology. She is originally from Argentina and began working as a Software Engineering before switching paths to Product Manager. For the last 10 years, she has been leading AI products for mobile devices, Smart Cities and security.

Her words of advice in particular ring true – it’s a challenging year for tech companies and their employees, making networking more important than ever.

Maya Angelou Quote

What quote inspires you the most?

“People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

What has been the most significant barrier in your career to date?

I had many barriers in my life and I learnt so much from each of them. I have been in projects that closed and had to look for new challenges several times. I have been called bossy. My manager once told me my toddler had fever and bronchitis “too often”. I had to deal with male co-workers that thought our team would be “Big Daddy” of the market (why not Big Mommy?). I have been told I had “an attitude”, an attribute I never heard was delivered to a man. I earned less than my male co-workers. I had to work extra hard to gain credibility on technical matters. I also accepted positions without negotiating salary because the company was “my dream”.

I think I can keep counting, each of them is a story on my suitcase and a learning experience. However, the important part is that I kept going and growing, and leading the way by telling women and LatinX the stories, so maybe they can have an easier path than mine.

What is the best way to negotiate salary and scope of work?

I would say we always need to negotiate salary. When we move to a new company, during promotion time and compensation adjustments. Salary should stop being a taboo, the best way to negotiate is to use your network to get advice and advocate for yourself.

When negotiating scope of work, I always follow my motivation, what would make me happy? It is also useful to check what you need to demonstrate for the next promotion and have that conversation with your manager so your scope can get you there.

What do you think are the three most important characteristics to be an amazing leader?

  1. An amazing leader always puts people first. They believe that building relationships and motivating people can drive success.

  2. An amazing leader is willing to listen to their team feedback and ideas and is open to change approach when necessary.

  3. An amazing leader is always willing to stand up for what they believe in and for their team, even when it is difficult.

  4. A great leader leads by example because actions speak louder than words. They set the standard and are the first to follow it, and they are not afraid to fail.


How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?

I build confidence by celebrating the small wins and by listening to feedback from my peers. When that is not available I follow the first principle of the impostor syndrome: “fake it till you make it”.

To build resiliency is a process, I let myself mourn the loss and heal. I try to focus on the things that are under my control, gather hope and create alternative plans that will give me a way forward.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?

The diversity of perspectives help companies to make better decisions and be more successful. In my experience, women have the gift of communication and empathy. Women are more collaborative and inclusive, they are empathetic and understanding. This can help companies to build stronger relationships with their customers and employees while creating a more positive and productive work environment.

What is the role mentorship and sponsorship have played in your career?

I had many mentors in my life. Any time I started a new project I had a new mentor that taught me the ways in the field, and I am grateful for all of them. One of the mentors that have been consistent over my career is my husband, he is also in the technology market and I love to hear his perspective about my problems and what he would do. I do the same for him, I like to think that we are kind of a power couple.

Sponsors are unique, they speak about you when you are not in the room. They help you get places and earn positions. Mark was one of these sponsors in my career, he was my skip-level manager and he was very important in the company. When I decided I wanted to relocate to the USA, he sponsored me to get the visa and the transfer. Some time later, when our project was closing and I needed a new team, Mark contacted the hiring manager and told him about my way of working. I got the position even when I had zero experience in the new field.

As a leader, how do you stay mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing?

I pay attention to members from underrepresented groups and make an effort to invite them and to elevate their voices. I have had instances in my life where I made agreements with other people like me where we would elevate each other’s voice and it works beautifully.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Create connections, build your network and share your experiences so everyone can learn and grow.

How can women support other women in their organizations?

Being mentors of new women in the organization, being promoters of women that are at the same level and helping each other up.

Talking with the male colleagues in the organization and getting more allies.

Any words of advice you’d like to share?

2023 is a challenging year for technology. Embrace the change and focus on the things that are under your control. Remember your networks, stay connected and check in with your people, they will love to hear from you.



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