Phenomenal Women of AltoPartners – Pamela Jiménez
Meet the irrepressible Pamela Jiménez, a psychologist from Santiago de Chile, and one of the powerhouses behind the team at Equation Partners / AltoPartners Chile. Armed with abundant joie de vivre, Pamela is an HR force to be reckoned with and the go-to person for clients in the retail, financial and energy sectors.
Were you born in Chile?
I was born and raised in the city of Rancagua, 85km south of Santiago in the Andean foothills along the Cachapoal River in central Chile.
What was your childhood career dream?
Oh, I had so many! I wanted to do something unusual (for that time) and went through various stages of wanting to study Political Science, or work in Public Relations, Fishing Engineering, Agronomy, and even Nutrition. But it was clear that I had an enormous interest in – and aptitude for – people, so I opted for a career in the Humanities.
So, you chose psychology?
I wanted to make a contribution to people’s happiness, especially those suffering from poor mental health. But it was a big decision; not to study psychology, but to go and live on my own in Santiago at age 17 and leave my big, extended family. At that time, there were no universities in Rancagua, so a friend and I moved together to Santiago, where we shared an apartment while studying at Universidad Andrés Bello. Thirty years later, I’m still in Santiago, and while I love this city, Rancagua will always be home as that’s where my roots are.
Are you currently studying?
Yes, I am perfecting my English, and I have classes twice a week. I love them because they are very intense and dynamic.
What was your first job?
I started working at 13 for my aunt, helping her in her store during Christmas time. She sold baby clothes, and I loved it, especially when she paid me, and I could go buy Christmas presents for my parents, brother and grandmothers. My first formal job was at Scotiabank, where I worked for more than 10 years. It was a wonderful experience; I have the best memories of it.
How did you get into executive recruitment? By design, or by accident?
In my case, it was very much by design. Since university, I had been attracted to the selection field, and I started preparing for it: I studied the Rorschach Test, the Luscher Test and every single test that crossed my path. I began my career at Scotiabank as a Recruitment Analyst, and in fairly short order, I was promoted to head up the department. However, the move made me a bit insecure as I felt that by becoming a specialist in a narrow field, I would sacrifice some of the more “generalist” insights within the Human Resources discipline. To counter this, I opted for Business Partner positions so as not to lose that connection, and it served me really well as I learned a huge amount. It was while working at Scotiabank that I received an invitation from Mario Mora, the Founder & Senior Partner of EQP, to join his firm and become a head hunter. Frankly, I didn’t hesitate. It was an excellent decision.
What motivates you to do what you do?
So many things! Meeting different people from different industries, cultures, and countries; hearing their stories; interacting with our clients; working with my team. You have no idea how much fun we have. We laugh and learn together. I am very lucky because working on something that you love is a great privilege, and even more so if you work with such powerful people, from whom you never stop learning.
Tell us about your mentors. What’s the best piece of advice they’ve ever given you?
Fortunately, I´ve had several mentors throughout my career, and each one of them has been key to my professional development. Today my mentor is Mario Mora, from whom I learn every day. We’ve been working together since 2011, and I continue to learn from him, from his strength, his perfectionism and his passion for doing things well. Hence, the best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: “Always go that extra mile,” and it remains my life motto today.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Where to start? So many things I wish I knew then! But it probably all boils down to this: never stop believing in yourself, and do not be paralysed by fear of failure. When I was younger, I often held back out of fear of not being able to do things perfectly. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know, and if you don’t fail, you’ll never learn.
How do you relax and unwind?
I LOVE to spend time with my family and friends. I am very sociable and enjoy coordinating fun activities where I can be with the people I love, and it does me good. I also like my bed, watching series and reading. And I really like to end my day with a good glass of Carménère wine.
Do you have a superpower?
I am very intuitive, and I have learned to trust my judgment. It’s easy for me to read situations and know how to act accordingly.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know.
I have recently discovered Pilates, and the reformer has become my happy place. Four times a week, it affords me the space and time to disconnect, and it’s the closest I’ve ever been to having a work-life balance. I like it so much that I wake up happy at the very thought of my class. As an added bonus, my 13-year-old daughter, Agustina, has taken to practising with me, which makes it all the more precious.
Name one thing you love about your work or your firm.
That is, frankly, impossible: I like everything! We are a strong team, we love each other very much, and we demand a lot from each other in terms of thoroughness and rigor. We take a lot of pride in our work and strive to be better every day.