MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Alejandra Martinez puts her Executive Certificate to work

Alejandra Martinez at MIT Sloan

Alejandra Martinez is Managing Director of Software Solutions at Agile Solutions, a software and IT professional services consultancy. Alejandra is based at the company’s main development center in Honduras, where she is responsible for multiple projects and teams. However, she recently moved to Canada to help grow an office in Montreal, including defining strategies and priorities and aligning these priorities with the company operations.

Alejandra has worked for Agile since she graduated from school, and she praises her colleagues and leaders for a supportive and mentoring environment. “Sometimes we’re lucky to find someone who shows us, guides us. I’ve learned a lot from our leaders and directors who have a great vision and a well-established culture of innovation. We share in the value of constantly learning and being challenged, every day is exciting.”

Alejandra decided to enroll in courses at MIT Sloan Executive Education to learn the state of the art in specific topics that were critical to her present challenges. She completed four courses and earned her MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership.

“There are many frameworks and approaches that proved useful, including Dynamic Work Design. We learned how important it is to manage projects visually as well as how to move from a push manufacturing approach to a pull system, especially useful for knowledge work like ours and the necessity to standardize those processes. The framework is as practical as the advice the professors gave us about implementing it: don’t leave the course and then rush to try and change every process in the entire company. Start with small wins, gain trust, then continue to replicate across the company. So that’s what I’m doing.”

Alejandra also great enjoyed the Neuroscience for Leadership program, led by Dr. Tara Swart despite her initial skepticism around neuroscience buzz words and practices like meditation.

It’s incredibly important to understand who you are as a leader and how your background and everything you have been through shapes your leadership style,” says Alejandra. “We are also learning to be more present and aware of our emotions, bringing decisions to the frontal cortex, in order to be more rational. We’ve recognized a huge difference in the way the leaders respond, not just react and make decisions. The results are more accurate.”

Alejandra says that her work is exciting and challenging every day and having MIT-based frameworks that she can rely on is valuable. “Every time I’m struggling with something I can rely on these theories.”

She can also reach out to the network she has established through her time at MIT. “The people attending these courses are as enriching as the program content itself. These are leaders who have been successful in their organization, and it turns out they are having the same problems you are. It’s reassuring. We are able to share our challenges and problems, and everyone genuinely comes together to try to solve those problems for each other. It’s very clear everyone wants to make a contribution so everyone else succeed. You remember your peers and encounter them again in other courses, it’s great to know how they have implemented the learnings and made changes. It’s fascinating, I have met some truly amazing professionals.”

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