Patricia Diniz Soares, senior corporate counsel at JDA, is a proud single mom and trailblazer in her career. Describing herself as resilient, persuasive and passionate – all qualities that shine through in her personal life, career journey and current role at JDA – she shares her love for the beach, some of the biggest challenges in her career and how she came to learn three different languages. Patricia’s story is anything but ordinary and nothing shy of extraordinary.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I was born and have lived in São Paulo, Brazil, all my life. I also have a son who recently graduated as a lawyer. He makes me a very proud mom.
Any additional personal information you’d like to share?
I love the beach and swimming. I have a beach apartment that I like to go to on the weekends, even during the winter. Being there recharges my energy.
What are three key words you would use to describe yourself?
Resilient, persuasive and passionate about learning.
How do you live the JDA values?
Teamwork is essential for me to deliver my daily demands. I consider my colleagues family. Also, I’m obsessed with results, which are expected of me in my role. I take care of all the countries within the Latin American region and participate in negotiations, especially at the end of the quarter, where I’m expected to work and deliver very fast and in the right way. Relentless is my every day. I have to negotiate with lawyers from many different countries in my third language. Portuguese is my native language, English is my second and Spanish is my third.
How did you learn those different languages?
I started learning English at seven or eight years old with songs, numbers and colors. Then, I studied to be a an English translator in high school, and before law school, I studied to be an English teacher in Brazil. English, for me, is my second language and I consider myself to be fluent. I studied Spanish because I used to work for a company with sites in Argentina, so I decided to take my Spanish more seriously at a Spanish school in São Paulo. I even went to Spain and spent some time there to improve my skills. Now that I’m used to talking in Spanish, my accent is no longer from Spain. My accent has transformed into a mix between Mexican, Columbian and Spanish.
Why did you choose a career in supply chain/tech?
I chose my career in legal to be focused in tech. I love it. I love the way people face changes and the way technology influences people. At JDA, I feel my skills as a lawyer are a perfect match for supply chain technology. I like how quickly everything changes and the dynamic that comes with a fast-paced industry.
What are your favorite parts of your role?
My favorite parts are interacting and learning from people, especially people from others countries with different cultures and mindsets.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career and how did you tackle them?
When I graduated from law school it was the gender bias. I had to study a lot – not only legal matters, but languages. Nowadays, I think women have many more opportunities but when I graduated, it was not like that. I had to prove my worth many times.
What is your proudest achievement?
In my career, my development and growth but personally, my son. As a single mom I raised him and helped him develop and now he is becoming a lawyer as well. I’m very proud. Many times, I thought I would pursue a different career to have more time with him. When he was a child, I worked in a law firm on projects that kept me until one or two in the morning, but I needed the money and it was the best choice for me at the time.
Where do you see your career headed? What’s next for you?
I received a Best Performer award at a quarterly business review (QBR) this year, and my goal is to continue to be a Best Performer. My region is growing very fast, so my expectation is to continue to perform at a high level.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It’s not easy, especially during quarter-end at JDA, but it’s a work in progress.
How do you resolve conflict?
With serenity and maturity. My job is to resolve conflict, so you must understand the other party’s needs and actively listen to respond and provide a resolution that is worthwhile.
Have you ever had an experience where you couldn’t resolve conflict, and how did you handle it?
Of course. Sometimes you come to a point where you can’t go any further and as a lawyer, you have to be assertive in deciding when you and your team reach that point.
Have you ever found yourself as the only woman in a meeting? How did that feel?
All the time. I’m so used to it, but it makes no difference to me. I treat everyone the same way regardless of their gender. In the beginning of my career, I began working at a law firm. I remember being in a meeting with our intern – who was a male – and the representatives we were in discussions with would only address him. I had to step in and ask to be addressed as the lawyer instead of the intern. Once I made the comment about being disregarded, they completely changed and began to value my presence in the room.