Inside Aperian Global: Debora Chacon
Q: Debora, you are one of our Program Managers who are in direct daily contact with our multinational clients. If you think back to the beginning, what led you to the cross-cultural field and Aperian Global?
I’ve always been interested in and curious about this field. I remember when I was a child, I was fascinated by meeting foreigners and was very keen on speaking with them and asking questions about their culture. I was constantly daydreaming about exploring the world and visiting or living in new countries. My dream finally came true when I moved to Denmark to study and soon found out that there was actually a field dedicated to cross-cultural awareness and interactions. When I started working at Aperian Global, I could not believe that I was actually working in an area I am passionate about! It was love at first sight!
Q: To give people a better understanding of what your work looks like in the Kolding office, could you describe a typical workday for us?
It’s really hard for me to describe a typical workday. The life of a Program Manager/Project Manager depends on the programs & projects we are supporting, so every day is or can be a new day. Overall, I deal with both external and internal key stakeholders. Every day, I am in contact with our clients. We work a lot virtually, so on a typical day, I am communicating with people over email or teleconference and participating in virtual meetings. I support and guide our clients by managing projects & programs while assisting with any logistical details. That said, I also work closely with our Global Account Managers and Consultants. The main goal for me is to serve our clients as best as I can and also make sure to advise and guide our team towards the delivery of our services.
Q: As a native of Brazil, you have relocated and adapted to life in Denmark. What were the biggest challenges when you arrived in Scandinavia, and how did you overcome them?
Weather, language, the “directness” and humor of the Danes. There was not much I could do about the weather other than accepting and invest in some good rain clothes, boots, and winter jackets! I learned to live with it but my colleagues still tease me when I come into the office wearing a winter hat during spring! The language, I learned (or at least I think I did).
But the “directness” and humor of Danes are still working in progress. I struggle to understand some of the jokes as they don’t always make sense to me right away (unrelated to the Danish language). With regard to the “directness”, I try constantly to remind myself that it is cultural and not personal. I am starting to feel more comfortable with it and I feel that I am also becoming a bit more direct myself. It comes in handy from time to time.
Q: Your birth country is often associated with football, samba, and caipirinhas. Could you describe what your Brazil looks like from an insider perspective?
Sure, we are good at football, samba makes people want to dance and caipirinhas taste good, but Brazil is so much more. In fact, many people are surprised when they learn that I don’t know how to samba and I don’t drink coffee. Brazil, to me, is a place where I will find friendly and hard-working people and beautiful nature (which is sometimes taken for granted). Overall I would say Brazil is a very young country, with a very diverse population (native Brazilians, Indians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians) which is in a stage of development. There is a lot to learn and improve upon but overall it is a huge country with many talented and creative people, natural resources and tremendous business opportunities.
Q: Finally, if you don’t mind, share something we don’t know about you yet!
Even though I knew how to bike, I acquired my first adult bike while living in Denmark to adapt to the local culture!