Luzia Sarno made her history between the accuracy of numbers and the awakening of a person who dreamt and accomplished things through technology. From this equation, she created a unique view about the digital side of life and the ability to access and transform the world.
You had your major in Mathematics. When did you find out about your passion for numbers?
I’ve always enjoyed Exact and Biological Sciences, so much so that I attended Biological Sciences at High School. I even think I would be an excellent doctor—working in the ER because I like the adrenaline (laugh). The college decision was very “deep” since my sister is a lawyer and my brother a doctor. Based on what I had seen on their studies, I decided to take Exact Sciences. However, I told my parents that having an Engineer for the trio was very cliché. I decided to attend Mathematics.
My mother’s answer was that I would not have “the patience to be a teacher” and she knows me well. I didn’t really know the University of São Paulo (USP) Mathematics course options because the first year was generic and then we would choose our major. I hated Computing (laugh) and having a Teaching and Mathematics Degree did not please me either. I loved Statistics. My first internship was in Technology, and the professional life was much better than the academic one. I fell in love and here I am.
How did you imagine the future back then?
I didn’t really know what I was going to do, let alone see how technology had the potential to impact the world. But I always enjoyed science fiction and imagined a disruptive world. At work, I always managed projects so as to apply technology in daily life, I enjoyed creating and proposing new things and experience different ideas. During the first years of work I, created a neural network prototype to analyze credit risk, for example. I felt the potential of what we had in hands and tried to fit into something useful for the company.
Can technology help creating opportunities and gender equality? Are we on the right track?
Before talking about genders, I think of opportunities for everyone. I think technology can either be a hassle or something very helpful. I’ll explain better. The world is closed to digitally excluded people, whether for their generation gap, educational condition or pure lack of skills. They are not able to run daily errands (income tax, digital use of banks, for example) and are socially and professionally distant for not using social networks, communicators, email. On the other hand, for those who understand and enjoy using technology, it provides a much bigger world than the one they have imagined, with access to contents they would never have accessed otherwise. Therefore, it creates more equal opportunities.
Regarding the gender issue, prejudice against a female programmer or someone with other sexual preference, for example, is eliminated because you don’t even know that human being on the other side of the planet and the only thing that matters is the work he/she delivers. However, the number of women working in this field has been dropping because it is a very demanding area, and the family burden women carry is not proportional, thus making it difficult for them to achieve more strategic positions.
What would be the three words you would say to a young woman starting her professional career now?
Can I say four? Choose something you love—and the rest is a consequence. If you make the wrong decision, go back three spaces and start all over. If you learn something new you like even more, change and move on. Being happy is what matters, no money is worth if you are not well.