Brazilian Expat on the Adventure of Living Abroad

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It’s a cold afternoon in Paris. On her way to the Charles de Gaulle airport is expat Aline Paulino, Human Resources Business Partner Director for Industrial Automation at Schneider Electric. Currently, she lives in France but her story with the company started back in September 2014 in her home country: Brazil.

Expat Aline PaulinoNatalia Pachón: How has your career evolved since the day you joined the company?

Aline Paulino: It has been a very interesting journey since I joined the company [as] I’ve been having great opportunities for my career. I joined as Human Resources Business Partner for Brazil, and after 7 or 8 months, I was invited by the regional leader for South America to have another hat as Talent Manager for the region. I accepted and I was glad of having this opportunity in less than a year in the company.

I spent three years in the region, and I’ve always dreamed of having an international career. I have lived abroad before, in Dublin, but I was a student, I was not working in a company such as Schneider. So, I had this dream to join an international company that could offer me the possibility to drive my career anywhere in the world and that’s Schneider.

It has been a bit more than two years that I’ve been Global HR Business Partner for Industrial Automation. I cover the Industrial Automation Business, the Commercial Organization, Finance, Global Marketing and Segments. I have a quite broad scope. I relocated to Paris since then and I’ll be here until mid of next year.

NP: So far, three countries. Do you have a favorite?

Expat Aline Paulino

AP: I don’t think so. If you think of Brazil, Ireland and France, they are very different. Ireland and France are in Europe, but the cultures are very different. So that’s what I appreciate the most: the opportunity to learn a little bit about each country I’ve been living in.

My home country is a place that I love very much. The people there, the food, everything. Last month I went back to Dublin after seven years that I’ve lived there, and it was very emotional because when I’m there I feel [at] home. When I’m in France I feel [at] home, when I’m in Brazil, I feel [at] home.

So, I truly feel that the company, my career and the way I’ve been living in the past years allows me to be very adaptive and appreciate each moment in the countries that I’m in. I cannot say I have a favorite one, they are all in my heart.

“That’s what I appreciate the most: the opportunity to learn a little bit about each country I’ve been living in”.

NP: What is the first thing that you do when you move into a new home?

AP: That’s funny because before working for Schneider I knew very little about it. I wasn’t from this market, so I wasn’t in any of the end markets that Schneider works for.

Right now, after years of working for Schneider [when] I go to a hotel chain or in my place, for example, all the switches and the panel in the house, everything is from Schneider. And I’ve made my parents and my siblings switch to Schneider Electric [products].

NP: What are some of your favorite moments of your career?

Expat Aline PaulinoAP: I think as a Human Resources professional you have the opportunity to work with people and to see careers growing inside the company. So, my best moment [would be] the time that I felt I was really supporting the development of someone in the company. Those are the moments I feel much happier about my job.

Last year and this year, I had the opportunity to be part of the Schneider Electric Marathon in Paris because I was here, but I didn’t run so I contributed as a volunteer. [Seeing] the Champs Elysees green, and [understanding] we are doing the first carbon free marathon [shows the] purpose of the company to our customers.

NP: What are some of your fondest memories of growing up?

AP: I’m not old but I have to really look back. I come from a big family. All my family is in Brazil, I have three [siblings] and when I think back, being among them with my parents are some of the most happy moments of my childhood. They are my best friends.

NP: What does home mean to you?

AP: Every time I arrive in a country, I try to understand what makes me feel [at] home. Usually having things that are a recollection of the places that I’ve been in, or things from my country, pictures of mi family, so I can really feel comfortable at my place.

Feeling [at] home is also having my own space. Coming from a family of four [kids] you’re never alone. In the past 10 years that I’ve been switching countries, I’ve been learning to appreciate my company. So, wherever I am I try to take care of myself.

Expat Aline Paulino

Making myself my home, and taking care of my body, exercising, eating well, doing things that I really appreciate on my own.  So, somehow, I discovered I’m a great company to myself as well.

“Making myself my home, and taking care of my body, exercising, eating well, doing things that I really appreciate on my own.  So, somehow, I discovered I’m a great company to myself as well”.

NP: At the end of the day, do you have a place at home where you always feel more at home?

AP: I live in Paris, I have a small apartment but is really cozy. I like being in my living room and having my TV and all my apps where I watch things. It is warm, and I love having my cup of tea and watch something interesting.

NP: Comfort and safety, how do you conciliate both of them at home?

AP: So, living in a country like Brazil compared to a country where we have colder winters [like Paris], you need to make sure you have the right temperature at your place. This is something that makes the place more comfortable. And I think Schneider, in several countries, has Wiser. [We also] have different technologies that can connect our residential [offer], so that’s something really important.

I always make sure that I’m being conscious about my consumption of energy, and I think all this connectivity support my commitment to a more sustainable world.

I just left my place and to came to the airport I removed everything from the outlets. I don’t leave any lights on, I always double check. I try not to over spend and be conscious about my consumption. I think this is something our solutions are able to do and is something that I appreciate.

“I always make sure that I’m being conscious about my consumption of energy, and I think all this connectivity support my commitment to a more sustainable world”.

NP: How will you celebrate Christmas this year?

AP: I will be in Brazil with my family and friends. It should be a celebration with family because is the time of the year to appreciate to be with my parents, brothers, sisters and boyfriend.

I have had some pretty Christmas celebrations here at the office or with some colleagues that live here. It is interesting to be living in another country and see how people are celebrating during Christmas time. It is very different when you are in Christmas in the winter time and in the summer time, so I have had both, but I think family brings me home to Brazil.

NP: What do you want for Christmas?

AP: I think 2020 is going to be an exciting year for me. Is a year of a new country and I’m sure it will bring much more knowledge and growth as a person and as a professional. So, all I want is to keep the good energy of 2019 for 2020

NP: If I would ask you to choose three words to define what it is like to work at Schneider, what words would you choose and why?

AP: I think Schneider is very unique. Although ‘unique’ is not part anymore of our EVP [Employee Value Proposition], I really feel unique is a very good way to differentiate Schneider.

And of course, on top of unique, I would add meaningful, empowered and inclusive because I really feel it. Meaningful because the purpose of Schneider is very clear.

Empowered because I feel very empowered to [pursue] my career, I’m very autonomous in my job and I have had great leaders in this company.

And inclusive. I’m a Brazilian with less than 35 years-old developing a career and working with high level senior leaders.

NP: Do you have any cravings from back home? Any guilty pleasures?

AP: Usually people ask me when they’re coming from Brazil ‘Do you want me to bring you something?’ and I say ‘coffee’.

I love my coffee from Brazil and I always bring it with me to make my own. That’s the way that I feel [at] home and that’s what I crave the most.

This blog post is part of  the series ‘What Does ‘Home’ Mean to You?’, created to understand the concept of home and its meaning by discovering the unique stories of expatriate employees located in China, France and the United States. They all have left their native countries to start a life in foreign lands and to build a home outside their own. To know more about the series, visit the other entries below:

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