18 Mar 2021

Humans of Kent: Louise Mendes, Finance Manager, Calgary

Humansof Kent Louise 01

Your circumstances do not define you

Brazil is a multicultural location that’s ethnically diverse, with incredible nature and landscapes. I love my country with all my heart – It’s an amazing place with astonishing natural beauty and the people are friendly, happy and unbelievably welcoming. However, Brazil is still a third world country with lots of socio-economic problems and extreme poverty. To illustrate, many have a daily income of less than 2 USD and only 1% of the population can speak English fluently – college education is a privilege for a few. Down there, if you are not from a wealthy family, your chances to thrive are not very promising, which was precisely my case.

My parents are from one of the poorest regions of Brazil, the northeast, where lots of people still suffer with lack of food and water, only living on subsistence. They came to São Paulo in the early 80’s looking for a better life in a bigger city. Working hard to put food on the table for their four children was a constant effort on the daily. It makes me sad when remembering my childhood days as my siblings and I didn’t have the opportunity to attend quality schools, but I know my parents did the best they could. In the depths of my heart, I’ve always wanted to have a better life.

Ever since I was little, I had a passion for finance and this passion carried me through my education in Accounting. I was the first member of my whole family to get a university degree ever and this took a long journey of hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance through the ups and downs. I remember that while most of my friends were having fun, I was working full time during the day to pay for the university and taking classes during the night. These were tough choices, but I have no regrets.

I worked in the biggest oil & gas company in Brazil for over 9 years. I started working in an administrative position and was fascinated with the project management environment. From there, I decided to improve my knowledge in this field and obtained an MBA in Project Management and sometime later I started to work with cost control and financial planning. I got my PMP certification that put me in a specialist position in the cost control department. I have worked on some of the largest oil & gas projects in Brazil and I’m very proud of that.

In 2016 my husband and I made a big change in our lives. We moved to Canada looking for a safer place to raise a child and for better quality of life. After we moved to Canada, I engaged with PMI Regional Chapter as a volunteer and had the pleasure of meeting Lorcan O’Carroll and sometime later, David Touhey. I found them to be extremely fascinating! After some conversations about my background, they invited me to join the Kent family. This was my first opportunity in a foreign country and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity.

As a Finance Manager at Kent North America but based in Calgary, I’ve been working at this amazing company for the past 3 years. Working in a multicultural company, in my non-native country and doing what I love is like living the dream… I never imagined this could be possible for me. If anyone had asked me back then ‘where do I see me in 10 or 15 years’… considering the challenges I had faced in my life, I would have never imagined I would be here.

Kent is a great company to work for. They really care about the employees professional and personal growth. If you want to join the team, be flexible and committed. It’s a multinational company and you will need to deal with different time zones and with recurring changes along the way, which is fascinating for professional growth.

During my journey in the labour market in both Brazil and Canada, I met lots of people who underestimated me because of where I came from, but I also met lots of great people who noticed and believed in my potential and gave me great opportunities and for all of them I’m forever grateful. They made who I am now. And that’s the best piece of advice I have ever received from a lovely ex-boss: Life is like a bus that you are waiting for, but you don’t know when it comes so you must be prepared and have your luggage with you at all times. The bus represents the opportunities and the luggage constitutes your skills. If the bus comes and you have your luggage with you, you will take it. And if not, you will lose it. It’s possible that the bus will never pass again. So be prepared! I think nobody should believe in luck. Believe in yourself, be resilient and work hard! Your circumstances do not define you, your response does.

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