Rocio Diaz Contreras – Smart Green IT
Just five years after receiving her bachelor’s degree, Rocio Diaz Contreras has already secured a highly-coveted CEO post at a thriving Mexican company.
The IT engineer’s fast-track career has included building and implementing a health information system for one of western Mexico’s largest hospitals; performing case studies on competitiveness and sustainability in Latin America; and tackling issues facing women in IT and methods to face digital transformation.
Now, she’s taken the helm at Smart Green IT, where she is applying her technical, analytical and leadership prowess to prepare the growing telecommunications company for the future.
“I like working with people who love technology as much as I do,” says Diaz. “I enjoy being involved in an innovative culture that is always looking for continuous improvement.”
A focus on innovation and empathy
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Smart Green IT helps companies design, build, implement and maintain telecommunications systems. With its lean team of 17 and a growing cache of service and technology partners, the company provides customized services in information security, IT infrastructure, cloud services, wireless network design, access point technologies, physical security (CCTV), structured cabling, and thermal management of IT systems.
Diaz took over as CEO in late 2018; beyond growing Smart Green IT’s business capabilities, partnerships, brand, compliance standards and customer base, another of her aims is to restructure the company’s internal processes.
This involves leading initiatives around personnel development, specifically helping employees master “soft skills” so they can develop stronger relationships with clients, she explains—streamlining work environments and workflow, defining work roles and emphasizing teamwork and communication strategies.
“We know that businesses have to innovate and grow, and to be sustainable, there have to be changes in the way we operate,” Diaz says.
Her intent is to build a high-performing, specialized team that is efficient and transparent, she says. “We want to give our clients a fresh and an innovative service and brand.”
Diaz emphasizes the company’s tenets of innovation, empathy, honesty, compromise and teamwork. These in mind, she is working to ensure that staff members offer timely attention and regular follow-up to users and clients. Employees constantly undergo technical training, so they are well-versed in state-of-the-art methods, she says, and they also learn the importance of personally connecting with customers.
“Our culture is to understand what our teammates and clients need,” she explains, “as well as how they feel.”
A drive to succeed
Smart Green IT started out in 2009 with one computer, two contacts and little money—the brainchild and side project of installations collaborator Yehoshua Velázquez.
Now, partnering with names such as Cisco, Panduit, Fortinet and Bose, the company has worked on projects throughout the hospitality, education, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. One notable endeavor? Smart Green IT helped build a hyper-converged data center —virtualized, as opposed to hardware-defined, IT infrastructure—for Hard Rock Hotels. The new system, Diaz explains, enabled staff to access information from any hotel in the network.
The crucial element in Smart Green IT’s success? Velázquez “always had conviction and he never gave up,” says Diaz.
Which describes Diaz, too. Driven and determined, she began her career at San Javier Hospital in Guadalajara, quickly progressing from a technical support analyst, to an IT manager, to IT director. In addition to helping implement a state-of-the-art health information system, she managed various other software development projects, led an enterprise resource planning (ERP) upgrade, and developed and implemented a strategic plan for the IT department.
Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in computer systems engineering from the Zapopan Institute of Technology and Higher Education—where she received several scholarships—she has obtained diplomas and certifications in leadership, ESL, project management and management skills. She has also given talks, sat on panels and written extensively about new technologies, women in the industry and the evolution of IT. And this year? She is set to receive her master’s degree in business administration from EGADE Business School.
Things moved quickly for her at Smart Green IT, as well; she started as an external consultant in July 2018, presenting training in project management and documenting internal procedures. Just three months later, in November 2018, she took the CEO reins.
Going forward she intends to grow the company internationally as she builds upon its services.
“Smart Green IT has a lot of potential,” says Diaz. “I knew it was going to be a good opportunity for me to grow, not only as a professional, but as a person.”
And in that, she has also found success.
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