When “equal opportunities” is more than just an empty phrase

Early on in her career, Maria Carmen experienced for herself that men and women often have quite different opportunities in the professional world. A few years ago, when she ventured into the financial sector – long dominated by men – she was prepared for anything, but soon realised that things at OVB were different.

When one door closes, another one opens

Maria Carmen started her career in the hotel industry. After seven years, she was “rewarded” for her years of loyalty and hard work with redundancy. But, instead of wallowing in self pity, the young woman decided to use the setback as a new beginning. “I believe that everything happens for a reason and I had the feeling that a new and better path was opening up in front of me”, Maria Carmen tells us. “I decided to start working for OVB because I was excited about the idea of being able to set up my own business. I wanted to find out what it's like when your own hard work really pays off.”

Experiencing equal opportunity

“While I was employed in the hotel sector, I often noticed that women weren't offered the same career opportunities as men”, Maria Carmen tells us. At OVB, by contrast, she found that gender is of no relevance at all. “Everyone has the same opportunities to further their career”, she adds. Of course there may be differences in the type of advice given. For example, women are often more empathetic, but this is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. “Anyone who wants to put in honest hard work, has the long-term in mind and has a professional approach will be successful at OVB.”

Mutual support is the key factor

In the meantime Maria Carmen has been with OVB for 10 years and, as Regional Director, is responsible for numerous employees. A key determining factor for her success was her belief in herself. “It's important to put all your doubts aside and to surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude and who trust you”, Maria Carmen explains. This support from your fellow human beings, above all your own colleagues, is extremely important. “I have always had fantastic colleagues at OVB, and I always felt that they really valued me – and this was not despite the fact that I’m a woman or even because I'm a woman, but purely on the basis of my personal qualities.”