Cristina París García, how to make an international career Cristina París is Senior Business Manager at Artevie, a Luxembourg and Berlin-based specialized HR consulting firm focused on building digital capabilities within client organizations

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ARIANA SHER

Cristina París Garcia was born in Sevilla, since then she has had a sucessful international career. She has lived and worked in Spain, Ireland, France, Germany and now Luxembourg. Currently she holds the title of General Manager at Artevie, a specialized solution provider in the field of IT, business intelligence and digital expertise. The CEO is Christian Lepsien. She has also founded and still manages a travel blog about her home city Sevilla, MUS (Magazine Urban Seville), which features content about travel, food, architecture and culture.

Going into college she did not have a clear path she wanted to follow. She knew business and law would open many doors for her and give her a broad understanding of useful information in the business world. Even though now she does not work as a lawyer, she finds the information is useful in her job and as a citizen to feel more aware of her rights as she travels the world.

Cristina París García like communicating with the people.

Cristina has always had a willingness and desire to travel and discover different places. Her first experience abroad was after high school when she took a gap year in Ireland. After her trip she came back to Spain to study at the University of Sevilla where she graduated with a double Masters in Business Administration and Law.

Erasmus experience

During her Erasmus in Paris she was exposed the contrast between the different educational systems in Europe. “In Spain it is very theoretical and you are totally disconnected to the market”. While getting her masters so she got an internship abroad in Paris. Valuable experience which exposed her to the work she was studying. It was during that trip which she ultimately decided she wanted to get an international career. Another motivator for her was the job situation in Sevilla, she graduated in 2007 and the job market was not looking good for her.

Though she did not see herself as gifted in learning languages she knew she would have to try in order to start a career abroad. Now she has an understanding of 5 different languages: German, Spanish, French, English, and Italian. She is fully proficient in Spanish, English, and professional French. Not that it is easy, “sometimes I’ll start a phrase in italian and finish it in French. It is very challenging and very rewarding”, but she continues to hone her language skills despite the difficulties. “I like communicating with people. You can be more related to the culture as well”.

Cristina París, at the headquarters of the company Artevie in Luxembourg.

Apart from her internship, Cristina’s first international job was in Luxembourg at an European investment bank. It was an interesting experience for her, but only illuminated the fact that she did not want to be in the finance world. When she came back home she felt a little bit lost as to what she should pursue, so she explored her options and found herself in Berlin. There she worked for a large company, famous for its rapid growth and development, called Abengoa, a technology driven sustainable company in energy and environmental sectors. She was happy there, but the branch closed down and yet again she was faced with the question of what to do next.

How she found Artevie

At that time her boyfriend was living in Luxembourg so she decided to join him. After her first job in Luxembourg she was not excited about finding work because she was under the impression that finance saturated the Luxembourg job market. Though she gave the country a second chance and realized how wonderful of a place it was to work. She loved the business oriented yet kind nature of the people, “it is like a huge networking system were people really help each other… they are open to different people and ways of doing business”.

She had always been fascinated in the startup experience, “I loved it because you have great exposure to the market and a broad understanding of the business, but in a large business you have more access to better tools and software. [However,] the bigger you are the more difficult it gets to be agile, which is the key to business these days”. She wanted to work somewhere it was easier to be flexible and reactive to a client’s needs.

Pursuing startups in her job hunt she found a position at Artevie where she has worked for over a year and it quite happy as General Manager. At Artevie,“we address the lack of specialized IT profiles. We provide access to our clients a paramount amount of knowledge for 3 pillars: consultancy, recruiting (for permanent employees or freelancers), and micro consultancy/ knowledge search. We put experts in certain domains in face to face meetings (max 72 hours) with the company that needs it. This is expert knowledge not on the internet that is linked to the expert. We also consult our clients on how they should look in the market, how to be agile, and how to manage processes from the IT perspective”.

At Artevie clients learn what softwares are more suitable for them, how their ads are impacting them, and more. “We also consult in talent management on how to identify and reward talent in your organization, how to keep them motivated and engaged”. The company has two major focuses IT – with the three pillar model – and Human Resources. Cristina is in charge of acquiring new clients, developing new channels, inspiring new ideas and services to manage the existing clients, and she also uses her legal knowledge to draft contracts. After one year the company has achieved an impressively large pipeline of clients in terms of name value. Currently the company is working on a cyber security project that spreads across Europe.

New market in Luxembourg

The biggest learning experience for her at Artevie was how important a positive attitude is when working on a project, especially at a startup. “I opened a new market in Luxembourg and I had to navigate through different ups and downs. It is very important to remain positive and calm and learn from your failures which might turn into another relationship or a different, more productive, approach. We must be patient, you cannot expect success immediately”. Cristina mentions how this can be a struggle for those will the millennial mindset used to seeing instantaneous results, though patience is key no matter what technological advances have been made.

The offices of Artevie in Silicon Luxembourg.

About Magazine Urban Seville

MUS, Magazine Urban Seville, was a passion project started by Cristina París when she started feeling homesick for Sevilla. With it she was able to feel a sense of connection with her home city and the people there. Not only did the blog help satisfy her curiosity of what was happening in her city, it was also a practical end to the stream of email recomendations people asked her to send when traveling to Sevilla. Her and her friend Blanca creating the blog while they were in Berlin together and it has been active for a year and half.

The blog is quite demanding, especially with another full time job, but she says the toughest part already passed when they went through the technical work of setting up the site. Cristina has many ideas it just while it may take her a little longer to share them. From the reader’s perspective the blog is full of interesting and useful information, one would not guess it is not updated as often as the creator wants it to be.

Writing for the blog has introduced her to so many dynamic people, as they often feature interviews. Speaking to so many people she has learned that, “you can never underestimate the people you are speaking to”.

“There is no technical or creative problem in Seville”

Currently she is working on a project to showcase startups in Sevilla. One which was inspired by another interview she was featured in with Silicon Luxembourg which you can view here. During which she was asked about the startup scene in sevilla. She mentioned that recently there has been a lot emerging from Sevilla, but she would like to see a bridge between the two economies. For this article she elaborated on that idea. “In Luxembourg everything is super well connected. The government and politicians are very involved and aware of real problems for businesses. They do their best to adapt and offer their best to enabling these businesses. It is not about regulating, it is about helping. The problem in Sevilla is that there is a lack of communication, but I think the talent, ideas, and passion are there. There is no technical or creative problem, but maybe there is a lack of promotion and coordination”. Ideally she would like this new Sevilla startup blog project to help build a bridge between the two halves where both sides can learn from each other.

What comes next

When asked about her future Cristina doesn’t refer to a predetermined 10 year plan. She knows that there are so many things to discover one could not anticipate. In the last year alone she has realized to many new things. “The world is changing and everything is related to IT and digital transformation and it is exciting. It keeps my mind very full of ideas. I am grateful to have had the opportunities that I did. I think if I keep working I will find something positive”. Cristina is a wise woman who offered several valuable pieces of advice during the interview by simply stating her point of view. A good one for the reader to take away is this, “I am not someone who likes to think on the past and regret. Things happen because they happen that way and you can’t change it but you can learn from it and change the way you look at the future”.

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