Alejandro Marten is the Manager of the Canidium office in San Jose, Costa Rica. Since starting in 2011, he has been an integral part in expanding Canidium’s Latin American operations and building a successful, driven team to complement our business strategy in the
What is your position at Canidium?
“My official, long title is Latin American Operations Manager, but I just call myself a Manager.”
What made you interested in the tech industry originally?
Alejandro has been a programmer since age 12 when he received a Commodore 64 computer and Basic Programming Reference Guide for his 6th grade graduation. This gift from his parents got him hooked on programming and logic, which fueled his interest for math, calculus, physics and science. “I actually studied Industrial Engineering and Business Administration in college. This career combination allows me to have a thorough understanding of business operations processes in any industry and the information systems that go along with it. I can dive deep into the details and also explain the big picture.”
What are your day-to-day responsibilities and activities in your position as a manager?
Managing the office in terms of recruiting, growing the business, supporting current employees, and taking care of finance and payroll are just a few of Alejandro’s responsibilities as a manager. Strategically, the Costa Rica operation grows around recruiting and developing a strong team to support projects in the U.S., which makes us stronger than local companies when we need to support customers in Latin America. Thus, the most important part of Alejandro’s job is enabling his team to be successful. Being a manager means being there to push your team while also supporting them. For Alejandro, it’s a combination of making sure the team is successful in delivering their work, checking in with them on project status, and stepping in as a project manager when needed.
He also acts as the Account Manager for Canidium’s Latin American customers, doing “everything from sales to consulting as a solution architect.” In this role, Alejandro gets to use both his interpersonal abilities as well as his technical skills.
What are some challenges you experience working in the Latin American branch of an American company?
The cultural differences between Latin America and the U.S. can pose some unique challenges for someone who works in both spaces. Canidium first expanded to Costa Rica in 2011, and Alejandro and his team have been providing competitive advantages and impressive adaptability and versatility ever since. They represent a powerful asset to Canidium because of their ability to work with clients of diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. Because such an important part of his job is finding talented people who can work with both American and Latin American customers, Alejandro places an emphasis on recruiting employees who do not just speak English, but who can also “think in English”, meaning that they are able to think critically in the language. “Cultural understanding and fluency is key.” Luckily, working with American companies comes naturally to Alejandro since he studied at an American school in Costa Rica from an early age. He and his entire team work hard to be multi-culturally literate, and they are therefore able to work with clients from many different backgrounds.
What strategies do you implement to achieve team success?
“The main thing is being involved: checking in daily or rolling up my sleeves, staying late, and figuring out a technical issue with a consultant.” Alejandro’s primary focus is helping his team in whatever way each individual needs. He works hard to stay knowledgeable about what they’re all involved with, as well as to determine what kind of help they need. His philosophy is hands-on management of the team and making sure they know he is on their side and will support them.
What do you like about working for Canidium?
“The people and the feeling that we’re a team.” Each person wants everyone else to succeed and will do everything in their power to enable each other’s success, both in projects and professional development. Hard work is recognized and rewarded. Peer affirmations and shout-outs are commonplace. As such, “Canidium is unlike any other company” Alejandro has worked for. The leadership team makes it a priority to create a company culture that makes everyone feel like Canidium is their home. Although we are constantly growing, we are still small at heart and very inclusive.
At Canidium, we value each other’s diverse interests and experiences. We asked Alejandro some fun questions to learn more about him outside of work.
If you could master a certain skill instantly, what would it be?
“I would love to be an airline pilot.” Specifically, Alejandro would enjoy being able to effortlessly fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. He would also play the piano if he could. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but have put it off.”
What are some of your favorite things to do in Costa Rica?
Alejandro loves to go to the beach, although it is an hour and a half drive from his house in San Jose. “It doesn’t happen every weekend, but it is a cherished family activity,” one which he also used to do with his grandfather when he was a child. He now takes his wife and two adorable kids to make sand castles and play in the ocean together, spending quality time as a family.
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