Member Interview: Eva M. Prieto (Spain Chapter)

Smiles, support and collaboration –

WPO ambassador Eva Prieto’s recipe for business success

Eva M. Prieto’s mother gave her a piece of sage advice that has served her well in life and in business: “Do everything with a smile on your face, even if you’re crying inside.”

And so a radiant smile greets everyone this telecommunications engineer encounters, whether it’s in her role as general manager of Madrid-based technology consulting firm Keytron SA or welcoming new recruits as an ambassador for the Women Presidents Organization – its sole ambassador outside the Americas.

“Both my mother and my grandmother were businesswomen in difficult times,” she relates. “They created companies from zero, and educated me in the values of constancy, working hard and honesty.

“Following my mother’s very good advice, I’ve learnt that a smile is a very powerful presentation tool in the business world. It’s a good exercise to always try to meet everyone with a smile, and not think about yourself and your problems.”

Prieto joined the WPO in 2020, just before Covid-19 hit, and “fell in love” with the organization and the “safe space” it offers women business leaders like her. “I had been feeling very alone,” she confides.

“As the GM of a company in a male-dominated sector, I needed some support, and I saw the light when I joined the WPO. I discovered such amazing, powerful women in the Madrid group whom I had no idea existed.

‘Giving visibility’

“The WPO gives visibility to women entrepreneurs in a way that’s not overtly feminist but that rather promotes equality. It’s a safe space with very talented women who help each other personally and professionally. Hearing other visions or points of view also helps you get out of your box and innovate. It’s also the perfect platform if you want to spread your reach internationally.”

She says the women business leaders and owners in the WPO chapters form deep connections. “I’m happy to be in the company of such successful women who make each other feel comfortable, confident and supported. Each of them is brilliant in her own way, and they are very inspirational. They are like my family – I worry about them and they worry about me. It’s magical!”

Having fellow women entrepreneurs and business go-getters to bounce ideas off and confide in is important, she adds, because “in my sector it’s very difficult to find women in high-profile positions such as manager or director – the glass ceiling is very real”.

One of the things she’s learned over the years, she says, is to believe in herself. “Often, our main enemy as women is ourselves. Sometimes we are too humble and do not make ourselves visible. We should trust in our own abilities more and not worry about the perceptions of others.”

Creating women-led communities

Prieto says the various WPO chapters in each city are configured in such a way that the members are drawn from different professions and disciplines, meaning there is no business competition – only constructive conversations.

“We learn from each other’s experiences, as we have a lot of problems and concerns in common,” she says. “It’s a collaborative and not a competitive space. It’s about networking and helping each other, and being visible.”

Realizing the value of a safe and stimulating space in which to work and exchange ideas, she recently initiated Digiespace, a technology co-working hub located in a renovated industrial warehouse in Alcobendas in the north of Madrid, where 50% of the companies are owned by women. “It’s easy to work with women and do business with women. This is a very innovative space and we’re creating an amazing community – the people working there feel they are part of something bigger.”

Managing a technology business and keeping shareholders, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders happy is a demanding role, but Prieto finds that if you place people at the core of what you do, it reaps rewards. “Companies are formed by people, and if you look after your people and your employees feel like they are supported and belong, they will be more productive. Trust your people and give them recognition.”

She believes that being open to change is integral to being a good leader. “I easily adapt to any environment or situation. In IT, you have to adapt very quickly – it’s almost impossible to follow all the innovations that are taking place in fields such as cybersecurity, for example. In such an accelerated environment, you have to constantly adapt your offering to clients to optimize your business, to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s demanding but very entertaining – and never boring!”

In her high-pressure work environment and in her WPO chapter, Prieto’s focus is on connecting, collaborating, growing and supporting others – all with a smile backing up her formidable business brain. She is proud to be a WPO ambassador who, together with her fellow WPO role models, wants to show young girls out there that there need not be any “glass ceiling” on their career dreams.

  • For more information about joining the Spain chapter, please contact us for more information.