Thirty-six action-packed hours
Our employees Kevin Hernández from Colombia Jennifer Regalado from Ecuador share their impressions of their trip to the Tecpetrol Sector Conferences, an initiative that gathered together those working in the same sector throughout the company’s different operations in Buenos Aires.
Finally being able to put a face to a name, meeting colleagues from other countries, exchanging experiences of good practices and chatting about ongoing projects were just some of the benefits of the latest round of Sector Conferences. Beyond their principal objectives, these events have brought together teams working in the same area from different countries to Buenos Aires, offering participants a chance to travel, learn about other cultures and broaden their view of the world.
This was the case with Kevin Hernández, an IT Analyst in Colombia, who travelled to meet his colleagues from Systems, joining the contingent from the northern region—Mexico and Ecuador—for a six-and-a-half-hour flight to the Argentine capital. “Although we’d already been talking, because we set up a team in Systems, we actually met in person for the first time at the airport!” says Kevin. “Now everybody knows that we can help out when support is required from Mexico, for example: we’ve met face to face!”
Attractive, stylish and modern is what 27-year-old Kevin thought of Buenos Aires, a city that features an efficient road infrastructure and is visually reminiscent of southern European cities. With the team from the northern region, Kevin strolled from the Obelisk through the streets in the center to reach the Boca Juniors stadium. Although he’s a keen supporter of the Colombian team Millonarios, he bought souvenirs featuring the distinctive blue and yellow of the popular local club, rounding off the tour with a typical barbecue in the neighborhood. “It was one of the best things I have ever eaten,” he enthuses.
Kevin got the opportunity to travel shortly after joining Tecpetrol. “When they told me about the trip, I didn't believe it!” he says. He traveled in the company of the Systems team leader and in Buenos Aires met the area director. “He told me where he was from, his nearby hometown.” The experience also gave him a broader vision of the company, and “I thought it was a really cool idea to bring together all the Tecpetrol staff, and I was very curious to find out more about Neuquén.”
Super exciting. This is how Jennifer Regalado, from the Human Resources sector in Ecuador, describes the chance to travel to the sector conferences. “I was really hyped to meet other people from my sector in other regions and especially to visit Argentina, because of all its culture,” confesses the Quito-based professional.
Like Kevin, Jennifer had only been working with the company for a short time. “I was quite new and it’s really nice to be able meet people in-person that I’d only talked to on email. "Putting a face to the name is a major plus: it really changes the energy dynamic of relationships," observes Jennifer, 29, also praising the agenda for the conferences where different regions exchanged knowledge and good practices. “Knowing that there are people out there who are doing the same thing as you, and have other—and probably better—ways of doing it, is a great learning experience.”
Travelling to visit Buenos Aires in summer was also a special experience: Jennifer found the city very beautiful, very big, and very busy. “Our hotel was close to the offices, so we walked around a lot, which gave us the opportunity to learn more about the city: I was struck by the fact that Argentines seem much more relaxed in the way they dress and walk, they don’t seem to be in a hurry,” she recalls.
When it came to walking around, Jennifer carefully followed the recommendations of her colleagues from Argentina. The bars and cafés in the streets of Palermo, the dock-front chic of Puerto Madero and the buzz of the Lollapalooza music festival, for which she’d bought tickets in Quito.
Both were struck by the mate tea sharing ritual. Accustomed to his tinto, a shot of unsweetened coffee in Colombia, Kevin tried mate tea after seeing people strolling around with thermoses of “very hot” water under their arm. “Next to me there was this man, I thought he was on fire, because it looked like smoke was coming out of him!” laughs Jennifer. Of the social events, their best memory is of the musical entertainment when representatives from each country had to sing a song, an eclectic selection ranging from traditional folk music to Karol G, which got everyone dancing and singing along animatedly. Kevin also enjoyed the bowling session, along with all of his classmates.
Both stress that the main thing was to be able to develop closer relationships by spending time with people. “Knowing the person with whom you have to work every day, whatever the distance, is a great help when it comes to problem-solving and sharing ideas with them on a screen.”