“VFS values its people,” proudly states Brazilian-born Izabel Medeiros, Strategic Program Manager in the Digital Solutions & IT team at Volvo Financial Services (VFS). “When I was in the interview process with VFS in 2015, I remember being told that it was ‘a very nice place to work’, but I didn’t really think anything of it. Not long after I started, I really understood what they meant. It’s the company’s values, culture and people that make it such a fantastic place to work.”
Izabel never thought she’d end up working in the world of finance. Her dream was to be an industrial designer, which is how she began her career after completing her degree. So how did her career take such a different direction? Well, it all comes down to embracing change, process improvement and wanting to grow, according to Izabel, who’s gone from designing jewelry to leading a global finance optimization program. “I’ve got a diverse background but the red thread is process improvement,” says Izabel. “I’m passionate about making things better for the end-user. I like to look forward, learn, and I’m not afraid of change – which I guess explains how I’ve ended up working in different industries, studying, re-training and working in four different countries! My background isn’t in finance, but I’ve been driving a finance program for nearly four years, and I think that’s been possible because I’ve embraced new challenges and learned new skills along the way.”
From jewelry to finance – and everything in between!
After starting her career close to home in Brazil – where her parents and brother still live – Izabel wanted to gain more perspective, so she left her job at a jewelry company and moved to Paris to study for her master’s in the Management of Cultural and Creative Industries. Not being one that’s afraid to start again and try something new, she went on to do an internship in the fashion industry and then moved to Brussels to join a start-up where, in true start-up style, she did a bit of everything! After that she hit the books again and completed an MBA in Business Administration and Management. This led her onto another internship, working as a Project Manager at ING bank where she later went on to become a Process Manager, before joining VFS.
“The program I’m leading involves different project teams across the regions,” says Izabel. “It’s all about process improvement and making things easier for people. In the initial phase of the program the job involved a lot of travel, which was great as I’m a people person – so it was nice to meet everyone and discover how we could improve things together.”
Home is where the heart is
Living abroad, traveling for work and holidays have inspired one of Izabel’s passions – cooking fusion food for her identical twin sister Tina, nephew and niece. “When I taste something different on my travels, I like to bring those flavors back home and create something for my family,” explains Izabel. “I spend a lot of time with my sister, nephew and niece – they’re the reason I wanted to move to England. Being close to my family is very important to me at this stage in my life. I am fortunate that I have a job where I can live and work anywhere and it’s amazing that VFS supported me and allowed me to make the move. I feel very lucky to work for a company that cares about its employees’ lives both in and outside of work.”
As well as nights in cooking and playing board games with her family, Izabel enjoys making jewelry with semi-precious stones (a throwback to her former life as a jewelry designer), walking her dog Milo, trekking and climbing. This summer she climbed Mount Fuji in Japan with her sister, niece and nephew.
VFS is unique
“I truly believe that VFS is one of the best companies you could work at,” concludes Izabel. “We are a diverse team with a good mix of genders, nationalities and ages. We have a unique company culture and the values are aligned with my own. Everyone is treated equally and we work in a collaborative way based on trust and respect – what more could you want? I’m proud to be a woman of VFS.”