Carlos is a Global Director of IT at Springer Nature, a leading academic publisher. He is passionate about leveraging technology as a core driver of business and customer value, and how to lead individuals through an increasingly complex and fast-changing environment.
What’s the story of your career so far?
I finished my Masters in Computer Engineering in Portugal, having started working as a part-time basis for a friend’s media startup building websites for clients during my studies. After finishing my degree I worked in the energy and telecom industry working as a software developer and as a QA, in a mixture of old school waterfall and agile environments.
After moving to London, I joined a Media brand to launch their two products in digital news and gambling, and joined Springer Nature soon after that. At Springer Nature, I’ve moved through a variety of roles and job titles. From quality assurance, analyst and portfolio to finally working as a Director of IT for the past 3 years. The last 3 years have been super exciting, as I’ve been part of a large programme of digital transformation in the business, supporting a transition in business model.
Lately, I’ve started an Executive MBA programme at London Business School, that I’m due to finish soon, to complement my tech background with a stronger business acumen and leadership experience.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love to be part of a business that has such a positive impact in the world, especially in these times of a global pandemic. We are an enabler of scientific discovery and in such a critical period for the globe, you can only be proud of the value you bring to your customers.
As well as the purpose, I love the people I work with and the level of collaboration, teamwork and openness to new ideas that we have. I believe we have a culture that fosters the collective instead of the individual.
Finally, being able to combine in my role business strategy with technology to generate business value is super exciting. Digital is the product and I’m lucky to work in an organisation that puts the customer at the forefront of what we build.
What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2020 amidst all the Covid-19 disruption?
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, is that we tend to take a lot of things for granted and COVID has challenged the base of Maslow’s pyramid. Through this pandemic, I’ve seen friends and colleagues going through burnouts, losing or risking losing family members, having to completely change their lives, lose their jobs, etc. As a leader, the key to deal with these difficulties is empathy, understanding and providing the flexibility for individuals to adapt their plans and schedules to make sure they are well and safe. By adapting a paramedic mindset, where you have to provide assurance, psychological safety and support while empathising with the situation, you lead people to excel.
As far as you can predict, what’s on the cards this year for you and your business?
Springer Nature like many other businesses was also impacted by the pandemic, having had to readjust expectations in 2020 and 2021. However, we believe in a stronger recovery in 2022 and onwards. The pandemic can also be an accelerator of the transition to Open Access publishing (scientific manuscripts freely available, rather than being behind a paywall), which we are investing significantly on, modernising our products and services to cater to the needs of the scientific community. More than ever, we need to make sure scientists spend less time in tedious publishing tasks, making their job easier, simpler and more convenient.
Regarding the workplace, I believe it will also be a challenging year where we start transitioning back and adapting to the “new normal” of a hybrid work life. I feel that we never got really to the point of maturity in remote working and yet, we are changing again to a new set up, which will be definitely challenging. Entropy!
If you could go back and do it all over again, would you choose a different career path and why?
I don’t think I would have changed much. I love what I do and I’m proud of my career and my achievements so far. I am and will always be a technologist, feeling excited with the digital transformation happening in the whole world. It’s great to be able to be work in companies where you leverage technology to provide value to your customers. Also, I’m still young so there’s a whole lot to discover, to experiment and to do in the professional life, (e.g. starting a business, moving industries, changing roles, etc.).