Phenomenal Women of AltoPartners – Valentina Flores
Meet Valentina Flores, an industrial and organisational psychologist from Vienna and our talent manager and senior consultant for AltoPartners Austria with a knack for forecasting HR trends.
What was your childhood career dream?
As a kid, I fancied becoming a marine biologist, but after a childhood holiday in Greece, where I came face-to-face with some frightening ocean creatures, I lost interest. In my teenage years, I became fascinated by profilers, and it remains a great interest of mine.
Did this influence your choice to study psychology?
Yes. I did two years of law school before getting into Sigmund Freud University in Vienna to study psychology and psychotherapy, although I ended up doing my master’s in industrial psychology.
You are one of the very few Altonians who joined the executive search industry straight out of university. How did that happen?
It was by chance, actually. During the final year of my master’s degree, I overheard some of the older students talking about an internship in headhunting, and it sounded intriguing. I was then lucky enough to get an offer from Rantasa Executive Search, and after my internship, they offered me a back-office job. That was when I met Dr. Julia Zdrahal-Urbanek and thus began my association with AltoPartners. It’s a relationship that has lasted eight years, and I’m not planning to change careers anytime soon.
What do you like most about this business?
I get huge satisfaction from matching people with organisations. It’s a win-win outcome as you add value to both the client and the candidate. I am also really interested in the assessment side of things as a way to identify and develop latent potential.
Did you have a mentor?
I have always been attracted by people who build ecosystems that shape and influence society for the better. Early in my career, I was lucky enough to be mentored by Fabiaan van Vrekhem, who taught me organizational development and leadership. My current mentor is Luis Conde, founder and chair of Seeliger y Conde in Barcelona and Madrid (AltoPatners / Spain). Apart from the fact that Spanish is my mother tongue, he inspires me to aim high and is generous with his advice on how to achieve my career goals.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Aim high! Be bold. Things only get better.
What’s your superpower?
My intuition. I can identify areas of interest that will become relevant before they start trending. I sensed early on that behavioural therapy would become the next big thing in executive coaching, and this is what I’m currently focusing on providing to our clients.
Oh – and I am also blessed by perseverance. It’s probably my best quality. I never give up on an assignment, no matter how challenging. This has been really tested in the last six months, where we have had a lot of cross-border search activity. The upside, of course, is that I also get to engage with my international colleagues in AltoPartners.
How do you relax and unwind?
Relationships are critical to me – I invest time and energy in my friendships, so I tend to have plans every night of the week, which usually involve spending time with friends over a bottle of wine or champagne.
You come from a medical family. Was there any pressure for you to join the profession? I am the only one out of eight generations in my family who did not study medicine nor marry a doctor. But it’s early days…. You never know where life may take you