Interview: Dora Valdez (Monterrey Chapter)

Dora Valdez: Rewriting the Rules of Recruitment While Embracing the WPO’s ‘Circle of Trust’

As a people-driven entrepreneur and author who specializes in human capital and talent management, Women Presidents Organization (WPO) Monterrey Chapter Chair Dora Valdez says finding the right employees and “fit” for a business can have a major impact on its profitability, growth, and all-round culture.

Drawing inspiration from Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage, she says: “For a business to be successful, it needs to have a good strategy – like good finances, good operations, and good marketing – and robust health, meaning a good culture. No matter how great your strategy is, your company’s growth depends on the people you employ.

“So, it’s very important to choose the right people to work at your company. If they are able to be their very best and are doing what they love, you are going to see an immediate effect on your profit, your growth, and everything around it. Some people underestimate the power of company culture, and I’ve seen that mistake made many times in the 20 years I’ve been in the business.”

A safe space to grow and learn

Passionate about people, Dora’s purpose in life is “to change the way the world works”. It’s a lofty ambition, but one that she’s determined to achieve – and one that has seen this self-made businesswoman climb the ladder in stratospheric fashion since she began working at the age of 17.

Her quest to drive positive change has earned her recognition in the form of a National Leader Award from Impulso Social de México in the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. The first person she called to share the news? Her mother, who’s always been her “number one fan”.

This focus on the transformative power of human potential has no doubt accelerated the growth of Dora’s Monterrey WPO chapter to the extent that a second WPO chapter is in the offing in the city.

She speaks enthusiastically about the benefits of WPO membership, saying it isn’t easy to find a healthy space in which to grow and learn as a woman entrepreneur, especially in Mexico.

“When I joined as a member, I loved it because I’d never had the opportunity to talk with other female entrepreneurs or businesswomen, and be guided and given support about the challenges I was going through with my business,” explains Dora.

“It’s not something that you would bring into a conversation or a dinner with friends, so we needed a safe space where we could talk about these situations with people who can give you advice from their experience. I’ve made a lot of friends and received a lot of really good advice, not just in my professional life but also in my personal life. It’s a circle of trust where nobody judges you and you can just be yourself.”

Being part of such a global network is invaluable, she says. And, as chapter chair, she loves offering women in Monterrey a non-judgmental space in which to speak to like-minded women entrepreneurs about the often competing demands of work, family, and other responsibilities.

“In Mexico and Latin America in general, it’s very challenging to be a woman and the owner of a company, because of all the roles you have to fulfill. The culture is changing, but it’s changing gradually,” she notes.

Out with nine to five, in with flexibility

Another thing that is changing – but far more quickly – is the world of work and recruitment, an evolving arena in which Dora thoroughly relishes playing. She believes the days of the traditional nine-to-five job are well and truly over.

“With the pandemic, we saw huge growth in home offices and remote working. People want to have multiple jobs, they want to live in the gig economy, they want to travel – they want to do a lot of things. Generation Zers don’t believe in a nine-to-five job; they don’t even believe in being stuck in a job for one year.

“People don’t want to have just one income – they want to have several sources of income. They don’t want to be owned by one company. They want to dictate how they spend their time and they ask: ‘Why do I have to give all my talent to one company?’ This change in the way we work is happening as we speak, but I don’t think companies are there yet. Actually, I think they’re scared. But having a fear of change will make it harder for them to grow.”

As the CEO and founder of Yingo, an artificial intelligence-powered talent marketplace that connects foreign companies with Latin American talent, she is trying to change that mindset. For example, she tries to persuade companies that certain positions can be filled by freelancers – who don’t need to attend meetings or come into the office.

In between revolutionizing the world of work, being an active thought leader on social media, and winning awards, Dora loves dogs (she has nine) and enjoys running – she has completed three marathons to date. Much of her passion, however, is directed towards growing the WPO’s “circle of trust” and influence in Monterrey.

“I have the opportunity to sit with very smart ladies who are challenging me all the time, and it’s awesome to know that we’re helping women grow their businesses and grow in their professional lives,” she reflects.

“For me, it has been a blessing to be in the WPO and have my fellow members with me, helping out and listening. It has been like therapy – they have really influenced me in my business life, in my decisions, and in my personal life.”