Based in Salt Lake City by way of Barcelona, Mayte Mata-Sivera, PMP, is truly a global project and program manager, speaking several languages and leading efforts in Europe, Asia, North America and South America. She believes in challenging, empowering and trusting her teams.
Mayte, how did you get into project management? After six hard years at Chemical Engineering School in Valencia, Spain, and a week before my graduation, one of the Big 5 technology firms offered me an internship plus free tuition for an SAP course. I struggled for days about accepting the offer. I was not very tech savvy, but thanks to my mentors and coach in the company I learned not only technical skills but also leadership skills that I continue to use and develop today.I realized that my passion is being a great project manager. After 13 years in tech, I have moved to the business side, and I’m leading strategic and operations projects now.
What do you love most about the work? There are some myths about project management. It’s not only spending the day in front of the computer sending mails with due dates. It is also engagement, communication and leadership! I try to be someone who inspires the team, someone who creates more leaders and more project managers.
What do you find most challenging or frustrating? Each project is a different challenge, and I need to feel challenged and empowered to be creative. If I don’t feel challenged in my work, I get bored. I need to be learning something new constantly, from the project and from the team.
Does your approach change depending on the country you’re working in? Cultural differences matter, communications needs and gestures are different. I always recommend learning something about the culture of the team and country that you are working in—even a few words such as “hi” or “thank you” in the native language. If you show interest in the culture and people, you will win over your team.
What's your proudest professional achievement? Any project that challenged me and my team, and anytime that we delivered value and benefits due to a project implementation.
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? Take care of your team. It doesn’t matter if you are their functional manager or not—challenge them, empower them and trust them.
How has ProjectManagement.com helped you in your work and career? I joined before getting my PMP certification, and after a few months I realized that this is an amazing community where I found mentors and friends. People helped me and I was able to give back to the community, too.
Hometown? I was born and raised in Xàbia, a town in the East Coast of Spain.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside your day-to-day work? I’m a co-organizer of the TEDxSaltLakeCity event. I really enjoy learning from the speakers, building a diverse community, and sharing ideas worth spreading. I also love to spend time diving and snorkeling, though I can’t do that here. I really miss the ocean, so I try to travel to California when I can for a weekend break.
Favorite TV show, artist or movie? I don’t really have a lot of time to see the TV; however, I’m a fan of the Star Warsmovies.
Best vacation? If you asked me four years ago, it would be any country where I’ve backpacked—India, China, Vietnam—or the European cities that I have discovered. I define myself as a traveler, not a tourist. Now that I’m living in the United States, the best vacations are those few weeks or days when I can travel back to Spain and share quality time with family and friends.
Thank you Mayte!
To connect with Mayte, visit her ProjectManagement.com profile.