Tatiana Moreno is the commercial and marketing director of Equipos Coamco, a company dedicated to selling and renting equipment for construction, industry, and the maritime sector with over 30 years in the Panamanian market. She has 20 years of experience in the construction market and has been with the company for 16 years.
Did you take over the management by creating a company, buying a company, or benefiting from an internal promotion?
Everything happened through a 16-year process in the company. I started as an assistant in the advertising department, and over the years, I was promoted internally based on my production performance and achievement of goals. I was head of advertising and marketing director. I then applied to be part of the company’s sales team. I liked sales and customer service. Then the two directions worked out, and I was allowed to be the commercial and marketing manager of the company.
Is it a preconceived idea that women are better business managers than men? Do you have to work harder to prove your leadership skills?
I think that every human being has the potential to be organized, responsible and proactive. It is in our hands to develop this potential. Speaking from my own experience, I have never had significant obstacles because of my gender as a woman to demonstrate my work skills and my leadership in the work environment. Man or woman, if you have the potential, you must develop it. No one is more organized than the other because of their gender. We all have the same potential.
We cannot be extremists and label ourselves as the ideal managers vs. the male counterpart. It has not been difficult for me because I am a woman to make my capabilities known. It is more a question of the potential that each person develops and not of gender. I speak from my personal experience.
Most of my clients and commercial advisors are men, and for example, today in Panama, the only commercial manager in this sector is me. It is a sector led by men, but that has not made my process more difficult or an obstacle, nor have I felt that they look at me differently.
It is often said that women managers have a more participative management style than men, in your opinion, "myth or reality"?
Are women leaders less tender with their peers?
Again, I believe that we cannot be extremists and classify ourselves as the ideal managers for having participative management vs. our male counterparts. Each person has their style of leadership from their strategic point of view. In my case, every opportunity I was given to climb up the career ladder was through participative management that my female and male senior management colleagues provided me. I was given a chance because I was always fortunate to be within strategies where employees were allowed to participate, where we were given opportunities. I cannot say that it was always women or that it always happened to me when the bosses were men. I had both women and men; they always allowed us to develop. So, I think it is more a myth than a reality.
It all depends on personality rather than gender. Women have always been more emotional, but the character needed to lead a team comes to the surface when leading a project. Being more or less tender depends on each person’s personality, not on whether they are a man or a woman. Women tend to be a little more emotional, but you must show some character to organize a team. For example, here, I am classified as a person with solid personality. I always have been, when I was an assistant, in the lower and higher management, it is not a man’s or a woman’s character. It is simply my character. It is what I have always reflected in my way of leading teams. It is the personality; it has nothing to do with being a woman or a man.
Daily, what do you find most challenging to manage and most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing for me is interacting with our clients. Our goal is always to exceed customer expectations, create rewarding experiences and solid business relationships. It has always been my goal, and it is what I find most rewarding to achieve.
The most challenging thing in management is human resources, having people in the correct position and motivating them not only because of economic gratification but also by making them feel supported and recognized. Knowing how to handle the issue of motivation is the key. Finally, maintaining a teamwork environment is the hard part. I have always wanted to reach that point of balance with my work team, but I think it is the most challenging thing to manage.
Would you say "preconceived ideas" if I told you that it is difficult to reconcile professional and personal life?
It has always been challenging to organize a quality time to invest in personal and work sides. Whoever says it’s not difficult, I don’t know how they do it, because we all have responsibilities to our family. Some people see themselves in a house taking care of their family. It is perfect if the person feels good doing it. In my case, I always wanted to develop professionally, but I also have a responsibility to my family. It is a life project in which I need support from my family environment to fulfill my objectives and work aspirations. I have always had help from my husband because it is a team effort. It is difficult to reconcile both, but not impossible. I never take my work home with me, and I learned that when I had my daughter. When I didn’t have her, I worked at home, and I felt good doing it. Nowadays, I organize myself better, and I never take it with me because the time I dedicate to my daughter cannot be mixed with other things. I have had clients call me on Saturdays or Sundays, and I take care of them without any problem, but I don’t sit at a computer to work on a project taking time away from my family. It is challenging to get organized, but it is not impossible to reconcile things in my point of view.