If there is one consistent element that has permeated Camila’s academic and professional career, it is working closely with people. After studying law for two and a half years back in Brazil, she decided to change vocational direction. She had been strongly impacted by the people she had met in vulnerable positions while doing law-related internships, which in turn influenced her decision to pursue the path of psychology, which she began to study in Brazil, and that she continued after her move to Germany. Having jumped a few German bureaucracy hurdles herself, Camila feels a strong connection to refugees wanting to enroll in higher education, and for the future, she is particularly passionate about welcoming more female students into the Kiron family.
Author: Sofia Hedberg
Describe yourself in one sentence.
I would say I am a people person and someone that is very passionate about everything I do. I think that is the main reason why I found my call in HR, a field in which I have the opportunity to be in constant contact with people.
What is your role at Kiron?
I started here as an intern in May 2017. After the internship, I was hired as part of the HR Team and since then my role shifted quite a lot until I officially became the HR Manager in June 2018. My role is quite diverse and flexible and covers not only recruitment but internship and volunteer management as well as the onboarding of all new employees and other interesting projects.
What did you do before Kiron?
I am from Brazil and went to university when I was still very young, so at that time I chose the classical route and started studying law. After 2.5 years I finally had the strength to drop out and started a degree in psychology, which I later finished in Frankfurt am Main at the Goethe University. During university in Brazil, I had the opportunity to do several interesting internships working very closely with domestic violence victims and the prisoner’s community. Those internships definitely directed my path to the social sector.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The fact that my role is so flexible. Kiron being a young organisation, I have the opportunity to take on and develop my own projects, whether they are in the fields of employee satisfaction or personal development; these are topics we will be focusing on even more in 2019. Also, I really appreciate the positive responses we get from applicants regarding what Kiron is doing – people are usually super friendly and positive even when receiving job rejections, because they believe in what we do and want us to thrive.
What are the challenges you are facing?
For sure the budget limitations, due to Kiron being a non-profit organisation. There are some ideas on how to advance the HR department that we have to leave aside for now because of restricted funds. At the same time, I learned to appreciate that aspect too. I think it drives me to be more creative and to network more. The fact that we are project-funded also gives me a great sense of responsibility towards our partners – and our students – it drives me to be a better professional because I feel that everything I do has a bigger weight than it would have in a more corporate environment.
What is Kiron to you?
One of the reasons Kiron was so attractive to me has to do with my personal background. I grew up in a middle-class family, so for me going to university was a given. Yet, the only reason that happened was that my grandparents sacrificed so much: my grandmother worked full time to pay for my dad’s and aunt’s private schooling, which meant that my generation didn’t have to worry about access to higher education. Many people are not as privileged as I was, and I think what Kiron is doing is just so amazing, exactly because of that. I also relate to our students because I was once an international student trying to fight my way through the German higher education system.
What was your favourite moment at Kiron so far?
When I first started – I think on my second day – I had the opportunity to support a student recruitment campaign we were doing at the time. So I really went out there, talked to people and tried my best to explain Kiron to as many people as I could. Listening first hand about the difficulties that potential students encounter just made me feel more strongly about what Kiron does. It was also very striking to me at the time how hard it was to recruit female students, which shows in the low number of women registered on our platform. It is a big challenge for us.
What is your mission/vision for Kiron?
My vision is that we are sustainable and strong; a strong organisation, and a respected one. I hope Kiron never loses its innovative spirit and that we always strive for social impact. That would be my vision, that we are around for many, many years, that we are supporting more students every year, and that we have even more opportunity for this one-to-one interaction with the students as well.
Who are you outside of Kiron?
I’m exactly the same person! I think my biggest trait is that I’m a very passionate person that can get excited about even the smallest things. I’m really connected to my family, I’m really connected to my friends. I am the kind of person that people can always approach if they need advice and I always try to be this kind of person. So I would say I am exactly the same person because what I do here and what I am as a Kironista is such a big part of who I am already, of my personality, that those things kind of mix together.
Any last words for Kiron?
Keep believing in what we do and that it has the potential of having a positive impact on students lives. If we keep working hard, keep building strong partnerships and being a place that values people’s potential, I believe we will be around for a long time.