I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela and had the privilege of living for 26 years in a 15-storey apartment building with a 180-degree view of the Avila Mountains. If you’ve never heard of this gem, it’s the most majestic mountain range on the outskirts of Caracas. Mornings were filled with songs of birds, the squawking of crows, helicopters starting their day, and noisy ambulances. We lived adjacent to a military airport base at which, before it was shut down by former President Hugo Chávez, private jets and military aircraft did their usual flight routines and training.
My maternal grandfather worked his entire life at the largest steel corporation in Venezuela. It was one of the most productive and recognized companies in the country at the time…until Chavez decided to re-nationalise it in 2008.
My father is a successful business owner having worked for the Venezuelan Health Ministry providing medical equipment and supplies for hospitals in rural areas around the country…until Chavez corrupted the entire system in the 2000s.
My father-in-law, one of the smartest men I’ve ever met, is a mechanical engineer with a PhD from Stanford, worked for 31 years at Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company.…until Chavez fired him on a national TV broadcast in 2002.
My husband is an industrial engineer who worked at a private consulting oil and gas company in Caracas until, well, Chavez made it impossible to live in Venezuela anymore.
After being fired on national TV—without being able to retrieve his personal belongings from his desk (from over 30 years!)—my father-in-law suffered a severe heart attack that, thank God, was just a scare. He then decided to search for new opportunities and, thankfully, a private consulting company in Canada ended up hiring him. On short notice, he and my mother-in-law moved to a different country leaving behind two of their three children (both were enrolled in university at the time).
A few years after this, I met my husband and after dating for a year, we were engaged for another year, and finally got married in the beautiful Margarita Island, at the most adorable church called “Christ of the Good Traveler.” Little did we know that our immediate future meant travelling far away from everything we knew. Despite that, we knew that we had this special blessing.
Long story short, we jumped on a plane and moved to Calgary. Why? My in-laws were here, and we thought it was the best call since Calgary was the oil capital of Canada. We weren’t expecting a downturn in the economy, much less a two-year unemployment period for my husband. Wow, that was a trial by fire!
Thankfully, being bilingual caught the eye of dmg events, an international event producer that puts on the Global Petroleum Show (GPS) each year in Calgary. They needed someone who spoke Spanish and was experienced in marketing to help with their upcoming events. In two interviews I was hired and started a fresh new year in one of the most welcoming offices I’ve ever worked in.
Participating in the GPS has been a most rewarding experience. It has taught me so much more about the industry and helped me understand how the business has evolved and the commitment of the people who dedicate their lives to this it—especially my immediate family!
I already knew that oil and gas was a complex industry with many processes and innovative technologies, but being part of the GPS helps me understand that one of the key components for success is connection, is having someone who can help you find a solution or give you an alternative to improve your business.
The Global Petroleum Show is not only a trade show, it is wonderful meeting place where you can find the best of the best. From someone in Lagos who just discovered a process and is trying to make the world know about it, to the big American company looking for a process to solve their 20-step verification one. Seriously, you can find it at GPS.
Think about it, if someone handed you the chance to connect with the solution you’ve been anxiously searching for this past year or to that something that promises to improve your business, would you miss it? Sometimes the answers you are looking for are well within reach at the GPS.
It’s funny how the oil and gas business has taught me so much and how it has introduced me to so many amazing people. I never imagined being here, so far from home and away from everything I’ve know. But I’m constantly reminded that this is my new home and my new family.
And I have a favourite Canadian closing line, too…“Cheers!”