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Why the CEO of Technology Giant Softtek Once Signed a Resignation Letter on Her First Day on a Job

September 16, 2019, 11:09 PM UTC

When Blanca Treviño, the president and CEO of Mexican information technology giant Softtek, joined a Mexican industrial company in the late 1970’s, the executives had an usual request.

On her first day on the job, Treviño told attendees at Fortune’s MPW International Summit in Toronto on Monday in Toronto, she was asked to sign a resignation letter in the chance that she eventually married. The executives told her that they “wouldn’t want to have to take any chances,” she recalled.

Treviño’s recollection of her hiring anecdote underscores the struggles Latin American women have to overcome as they embark on their careers. After she got engaged, Treviño turned in her pre-signed resignation letter, but she remained happy.

After all, she was about to start her own company, Softek, which would eventually become one of Mexico’s biggest technology companies. Still, she had to deal with the negative association some Mexican businesspeople had of entrepreneurs.

“At that time, when you described yourself as an entrepreneur, they would say, ‘You’re unemployed, and you like to use a word that sounds so sexy,'” Treviño said.

According to the CEO, it can still be challenging for Latin American women to focus on their careers, because of of societal norms. Although businesses seem more open to hire women than in the past, she suspects that many women are being pressured by their families think twice.

But there’s been some progress.

Columbia, for instance, has an increasing number of female CEOs compared to other Latin American countries like Chile or Brazil, Treviño said.

“I don’t know what is different, but you do see more women in there,” she said.

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