Valentina

How did you come to be a part of the Shell community?

I first began working in Information Management (IM) and document control back when I was just 18, in Venezuela. It wasn’t for some years, until I immigrated to the US, that I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. That degree was hard won. After that, I worked as a document management lead for a couple of companies, before joining Shell in 2013 as an Document Control lead. Now, I’m a Principal A&D IM Advisor.

What do you currently do at Shell?

My work involves supporting Shell’s various divestment and acquisition projects. Any time the company buys or sells an asset or interest, a natural team is assembled that understands the asset’s data in addition to having IT expertise to carry out all transition activities. We aim to make sure Shell maintains the highest standards when organizing data transfers during these deals.

 In a nutshell, Information Management is about providing consistent organization, compliancy and reporting on asset data to the project team, tracking its progress, and ensuring data is transferred in a timely and safe manner to its final destination. We provide that crucial visibility overview to all the stakeholders.

[Shell is] very serious about helping promote people that are doing a great job and recognizing them. But it’s also refreshing to work with respectful professionals. I love getting to know and working with new people; it energizes me.

Valentina, Principal A&D IM Advisor

What has the experience of working at Shell been like?

In the previous companies I worked in, the Information Management team was in a little bubble of its own, supporting engineering projects and in the management of their documentation. Everything we did was very specialized, and every time we needed something set up, we had to rely on IT support. At Shell, however, we erect these projects ourselves from the ground up; I wasn’t prepared for that when I joined. Additionally, you talk directly with multiple stakeholders, all of whom are outside your bubble, and all that meant that I learned about the wider community that we work with. It was a humongous change for me, but it provided a great learning experience to both broaden my overall business knowledge while also allowing me to refine and improve overall IM process.

Another huge difference I must point out is that, at Shell, you feel like the people around you care about you as a person and not just as a professional. People understand you have a life that’s also important. The higher leadership seems to understand that caring for people is important because they contribute to the company’s success.

In some of the other companies I’ve worked with, I’ve been forced to skip my kids’ recitals or other important days because it would jeopardize my position in that job. That builds up resentment one can’t shake off and when someone offers you a better-paying option you won’t think twice about taking it. With Shell, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I just ask myself, ‘Where else will I have the respect and value that I feel here?’

What are some of the best parts of your job?

Of course, my benefits and pay are great, as well as the opportunities Shell provides. It’s very serious about helping promote people that are doing a great job and recognizing them. But it’s also refreshing to work with respectful professionals. I love getting to know and working with new people; it energizes me.

It’s also great to deliver a project as part of a team. To stand back when the work is done and say, ‘Yup, I was part of that.’ It helps show me exactly how my work contributes. In my previous roles, I wouldn’t always know what kind of impact I was having on the company's vision.

Even when the work is demanding, there’s a commitment from Shell to make sure we have time to dedicate to our personal lives. When I can be there for my family, that makes me better at my job.

Valentina, Principal A&D IM Advisor

Since you mentioned having to compromise on your personal life in the past, have you been able to remedy that?

Even when the work is demanding, there’s a commitment from Shell to make sure we have time to dedicate to our personal lives. When I can be there for my family, that makes me better at my job. My oldest child is now out on his own and the second has just started university, so I devote my time to encouraging my youngest son's interests in his extracurriculars like music and acting. There was a time when they may have felt a little neglected. Over the past few years at Shell, they have appreciated that I could be more present for all their school events because I could take time off. At the very least, my oldest son, even if he hasn’t figured out a work-life balance yet, has learned from me that your family comes first.

Aside from my kids, my husband and I also make time to go out and do the things we love. Our roots in Latin music are strong, so we’ve looked hard and successfully found a few decent salsa clubs nearby where we spend some time. We used to sing in a salsa band together before we had the kids. Maybe when our youngest is out of the house we’ll take that up again. That’s a question for retirement maybe.

Speaking of retirement, what are your plans for the next couple of decades?

I’m always changing my mind about what exactly I want to do, but I do know for sure that when I retire, I want it to be from Shell. Perhaps in the meantime, I’ll continue in the IM and IT space, just because I love it so much. I suppose I’d like to take on a more senior role eventually, supporting younger employees and enabling them to flourish.

Once I retire, my husband and I are going to travel, and maybe even move out of the US. I just want to be at the beach all through my twilight years, able to dive into the water whenever I want to. Maybe we’ll join a salsa band again after all and sing together just like in old times.

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