Women in Localization: Questions for the new President, previous President, and VP

On January 4, Women in Localization (WL) announced their new president and board members for 2023. MultiLingual Media reached out with some questions for the 2021-2022 president and her successor. Olga Beregovaya pitches in as the new VP.

CECILIA MALDONADO — President ’21-’22

Cecilia, you’re stepping down as President of WL but remain on the board to lead the Operations and Metrics Program. Should we expect this program to become more visible in terms of output now that you can spend more of your focus on it, or will you be spending more time elsewhere (outside of WL)?
I will definitely have more time to support my amazing team who has put up with me being super busy as president for two years in a row, a longer period than usual. I’m very much looking forward to having time for them and our volunteers. The Operations and Metrics program is responsible for running the behind-the-scenes of the organization and focuses on three main pillars: metrics, volunteers, and organizational health. I will always volunteer in projects I’m interested in but today my focus is WL and Latamways, my company, and have no plans to spend time elsewhere.

Does your stepping down have anything to do with anything in particular?
Yes, the term is usually one year and I served for two years in a row. Since WL is a volunteer-driven organization, sometimes it’s tough to find the successors who will have the bandwidth to commit to such a big role regardless of how much succession planning we do. Being on the board is not only a huge commitment but it is also a role for which you need to be voted in, which helps ensure the best board members are chosen to run the organization.

What has been the most significant chance of personal growth during your time as president of WL?
So much growth on a personal level! Understanding that I didn’t need to imitate anyone’s leadership style to be successful. I found my own voice, my own style, and I was always myself. When I didn’t know something, I admitted it. Next time, I was better prepared. I loved the challenge and took every single opportunity to learn something new. I have benefited so much from being an active volunteer that I encourage anyone looking for similar experience to join us.

CARRIE FISHER — President ’23

Carrie, you’re a household name in our industry and someone many people look up to. When did the possibility of leading WL as president first come up, and had it been a personal aspiration for you at that point?
Really, a household name? I feel like a fancy, expensive coffee maker, thank you! I fully admit, I wasn’t expecting to ever be the president of Women in Localization, but it is an honor. It was never an aspiration, in fact I always thought women with a lot more business acumen than I possess would be the only ones considered for such a position. I was scared when I first considered it, and humbled that I’d even be a candidate. But it is my absolute pleasure to serve. 

What specific skill set that you are bringing to the table do you think will make the biggest difference for WL?
I really enjoy collaborating with others with a like mindset to fulfill a vision. I’ve never seen such a dedicated group of women trying to help others in our industry. I look forward to working with them individually and as a team to help our volunteers and members get the best training, information, and inspiration we can offer to this amazing community.

OLGA BEREGOVAYA — Vice President ’23

Olga, you’re taking on the role of VP at W.L., while continuing to lead the Technology Program. You’ve also recently changed jobs and are now the VP of Technology and AI at Smartling. How do you balance all of these tasks, and how do they complement each other?
Yes, I moved over to Smartling a bit over 4 months ago, and am really excited to be leading the company’s AI and MT strategy. I am equally excited to take on the new Women in Localization VP responsibilities and continue leading the Technology Program. The two jobs complement each other perfectly: W.L., given the scale of the operation and the global nature of the organization, have very similar requirements and challenges to what global enterprises need to address and optimize processes for. So, everything I learn at my daytime job is applicable to W.L. — how to scale, how to support and motivate the global audience, how to support and integrate multiple platforms. Now, having assumed the VP role here at Women in Localization I will do my best to think outside the Technology box and tie my knowledge to the organization’s big picture goals and mission.

Is being a public figure something that comes naturally to you? How do you imagine leveraging your leadership skills in the outward presentation of W.L. values?
thanks a lot for considering me a ‘public figure’. I am always looking for ways to use my leadership experience to benefit our industry, and being in a leadership role with W.L. is a natural progression of my previous career path — us industry veterans need to use our knowledge to educate and develop the next generation of industry professionals, and in case of W.L. also empower women in the translation and localization sector. I hope that I can make a difference by both coaching the Technology Team volunteers, and participating in the educational events for the broader audience. Another avenue is ensuring our strong presence at industry events, and this is something I am always happy and excited to take on.

Women in Localization is the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry and was founded in 2008 by Silvia Avary-Silveira, Eva Klaudinyova and Anna N. Schlegel.

Marjolein Groot Nibbelink
Marjolein realized early on that the Netherlands was too small for her. After traveling to 30+ countries over the span of 10 years she moved to the United States in 2014. She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Rotterdam and has long had an affinity for creative writing.

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