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Someone I know

Evaluation and Feedback  

The retrospective view on my career at NI  

Good morning, dear Toastmasters Club. Today I’ve prepared a speech that narrows the view on my career at NI during this time. 

And it sounds kind of funny how everything started because, in the beginning, applying to NI was not a direct option since I wasn’t sure I was ready to work in a Transnational company.  

As you might know, English is not my first language, and my mom decided I should start studying a second language against my willingness after I graduated high school.  

Even though I wasn’t happy about this decision, I completed the entire year of intense English class. I remember the first 2, 3, maybe 4 months not understanding a club of what was happening. I just saw my classmate next to me and repeated the same answer he says.  

When I started to actually think in English, was an epiphanic moment. But it was not all what I need for me to get a job in English.  

When I finished the intense class, I thought I was ready to start working in a call center, but the interviewer said that I was not ready, and I definitely needed to improve my fluency.  

After like 5 or 10 job rejections, I started to see the interviews as a way to practice interviews and space to practice English as well.  

When I saw that a company with a weird blue and white logo was going to have an Open House, I said to myself, well let’s give it a try to practice again and interview. 

I have been always a fan of the nerdy science thing, and the first thing I saw while I was waiting for my interview, was a brochure with information on how NI was a supplier with the CERN Lab and how they collaborate with the particle research, I was totally mind blowing!  

After that epic moment, I couldn’t believe that NI actually was giving me a job offer. Without a doubt, I accepted and on Aug 11 from 2014, I started my first job as a Backoffice CSR.  

Mile Oporta 

Oct 30, 2022

Women in STEM

“You can’t force a woman to study something that they don’t want. Women do not study science and engineering fields because they don’t want to, no because they can’t.”

Those were some comments I received in a TikTok video I posted for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, for those who don’t know, this day is commemorated every Feb 11 since 2016.

And, what’s wrong with those comments? Let me tell you what’s wrong. Even though I agree with part of it, that we can’t force someone to study something that they don’t want to, how do we know that women and girls don’t want to study engineering or science careers? if in a lot of cases, we, women, or little girls don’t know what’s an engineer. 

This may sound silly but in fact, there is a huge gender gap in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Math), and, a lot of research has demonstrated that this phenomenon does not just happen for a lack of interest but for numerous of facts that tend to be normalize or invisible in our life.

Believe it or not, society influences a lot in our lives when deciding what to study in the future. And with society I mean, what we see, what is surround. It influences even more, how we picture a scientist more like man and not like me.

Historically, men have been more associated with STEM careers, excluding woman participation and credits for their science contribution.

And yes, I know we’re in 2023 but, how is that possible that we still keep traditional actions like giving dolls and kitchen supplies to little girls as a present, and LEGO blocks, construction games, and cars with control remotes to little boys? Those stereotypes influence the type of stimulation we give to kids’ imagination, creativity, and innovation. To the moment when girls lose interest in science at an early age.

We keep stereotyping men as math people and girls as beauty icons when if we want, we can do both.

All those facts have repercussions on the accessibility how much confidence we have in “complex classes” and how welcome we feel in a room full of men in our engineering class. Trust me, it is hard and intimidating to be in a class and be the only woman, and not even find female teachers along the way.

Once I hear, if you don’t name it, it doesn’t exist. We can’t help little girls try science if we don’t provide exposure.

We can’t help a teenager dream of being an engineer if we don’t provide career awareness. We can’t help a young lady pursue her science career if we don’t offer ourselves STEM mentors.  

Having more women in STEM won’t just provide more accessibility to girls but also, to see more points of view and ideas of what the world is facing right now. A field with more inclusive and diverse professionals that together can solve today’s challenges.  Thank you!

Mile Oporta

Feb 2023

The Gift of Feedback

I would like to start by sharing with you an anecdote.


During my first weeks as a CSR at NI, I made a mistake with a LATAM order. A mistake that I wasn’t aware of but, sure enough one of the managers at that time gave me visibility of it.

I remember when I received, back in that time, the Sametimes notification saying, “Hey Mile, I would like to talk about you about the ticket you just worked on and provide you feedback”, I was so scared, and immediately I related this with a fired scenario.

Perhaps it was my childhood trauma that related to my mom looking at me with a fearful look after a childish mischief saying, “Young lady, you will see when we get home”. Definitely not a candy but 5 minutes in the corner as a punishment for my actions (giving you a light version of a real Latina mom’s punishment).

However, when this manager came to my cub and found out my obvious nervous, she was like “Mile no worries. This is not bad, this is just a way to learn and improve” and, after that moment, I understood the magic, the opportunity, the gift of the feedback.

It was at that moment that I got the Epiphany that it was definitely a gift to learn. Learn from my own mistake, the root of it, and make it better the next time.

It was an opportunity to do the thing again and do it in a better version.

It was magic to have a special tool where someone is kind enough to tell you from a space of improvement, what you did wrong not just that but, how you can improve from here.

As you might see, this action changed my life and my mindset. I became a feedback lover, ready to find whenever possible an opportunity to do a better version of my job, a better version of Mile as a professional, as a mom, and even as a student.

Trust me, after a while, I don’t wait to receive feedback (which I always expect though) but some years ago, I proactively asked for feedback.

It seems like I have asked for it so much in my current position that my manager said “Mile, I have to give you feedback about your feedback”, please don’t ask it so often, otherwise, it lose value.

I guess he has a point.

Mile Oporta.

Sep 2022

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