Fabiola Guzman: “My main interest is my people’s well-being”
She’s the Administration & Finance Manager in Colombia, and she believes in innovation, in teamwork, and in the importance of diversity. Meet Fabiola: ally, boss, and mother.
Fabiola Guzmán is the Administration & Finance Manager in Colombia and runs the Territory department in charge of obtaining the permits to access the areas where the company operates. She’s also a staunch supporter of the +d program. All this, without neglecting her duties as a mother. That’s a lot for one person. She explains how she does it: “I try to portion out my time to achieve a fluid work-life balance. Tecpetrol really cares about its people’s well-being; every day, they offer us more options to build a flexible work space, making our work and personal lives so much easier.”
With a degree in Public Accounting from the University of Zulia, Venezuela, Fabiola began her career at Tecpetrol as an accounting analyst in 2005, one of the company’s Young Professionals. Three years later, she moved to Bogotá and in 2009, returned to the company to join its new outfit in Colombia.
It’s been a ride of thirteen years and five months at Tecpetrol, so far. From the beginning, when she learned from the most experienced hands, to today, where she continues to affirm that the most important thing is the team. “My main interest is my people’s well-being, and I make sure I’m close to them and pay attention to their needs. If they're good, everything's good."
How much impact do the activities of the Administration & Finance area have on the energy industry?
Ours is an enabling area whose task is to ensure that the focus of the business can be developed properly. We consider ourselves to be facilitators: our challenge is to ensure all obligations can be met and that a steady stream of resources is available as required.
The international context is fueling growth expectations for the industry. What role does your area play in this sense?
Our job is to anticipate the needs of the business so we can provide the right advice and support for the company to achieve its own growth targets.
Diversity and maternity
Do you consider yours to be an exceptional case compared with other women and their professional development in the industry?
Not really; I’m seeing that the industry is quite balanced at the moment. For example, at Tecpetrol there are already several women in management positions, such as María Laura García, or Silvina Abad, the IT Senior Director. And in Colombia there are several women in management in Oil & Gas in general, and there are women who are CEOs of companies such as Shell. We have different skills to offer, and those unique qualities can be a bonus.
Do you feel any kind of special "pressure" because of the position you hold?
Not at all, it’s not about pressure but about my sense of responsibility, holding myself to a high standard to be an example for future generations. Particularly for my team, I want them to understand that I can be a good leader for them.
What are you learning from people from other generations with whom you’re working?
I really value the knowledge and experience that older generations have to offer. And regarding younger people, I learn from their ability to take risks, to be bold; they’re about thinking less and doing more. And they have a real appetite to learn and tackle challenges.
How have you combined motherhood with work in the company?
I had my daughter twelve years ago, and this was a truly wonderful experience, as I felt supported by the company. That made it easier for me to cover both roles, as a mother and a professional.
Forging a leader
What’s your personal style like when managing work teams?
One of my priorities is to ensure good communication. I consider myself to be open and I believe that generational changes can be managed to everyone’s benefit, and that objectives can be met through considered negotiation.
What things do you uphold from your traditional training, and what new elements have you incorporated?
I believe that respect for hierarchy and experience is something we should never lose. But I’m also open to the possibility of finding new ways of doing things, taking advantage of the curiosity of the less experienced who frequently contribute creative, innovative and out-of-the-box ideas.
Innovation is the way forward
Thinking about your area of influence, what innovation opportunities do you see in the industry? And in your particular area?
I see the need to automate many of my own tasks and processes as an opportunity for improvement. If we incorporated more automation, we’d be able to spend more time analyzing information, in turn allowing us to come up with different ways of doing things. In Territories, we’re aiming to automate information thanks to the deployment of an Integrated Management System. The more we focus on that, the faster we can get our work done and spend time on more important things.
Everything changes… especially our culture
Do you participate in the activities proposed by the company around cultural transformation?
I’m with the group of +d allies, and part of my role is about working to maintain an open environment, and creating spaces of trust, so that people can see that a company with a long history like Tecpetrol can learn new ways of doing things. As a leader, I try to develop my employees in a space where everyone has the same opportunities. Being part of this program has been an amazing learning experience for me.
How do you see Tecpetrol being in 2025?
I envisage the company offering a collaborative environment, where all personnel are working to meet common goals rather than personal ones, a company full of opportunities where everyone wants to work, one that’s recognized worldwide.
What role has Tecpetrol played in your development?
For me, the most important thing is that I feel valued by and in the company. These years have given me the opportunity to learn about subjects I never imagined myself working on, let alone teaching. But above all, it’s given me stability. I don't see myself working in another company, I feel like I belong to Tecpetrol, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team.