A portion of our newsletter will feature interviews with women from different professional fields and backgrounds to connect you to people that inspire us. A platform to empower our generation of female leaders.
Laura Baptista – Brazil
Laura is the co-founder of Catálise and the director of Mina de Ouro, a project that empowers young at-risk girls in Curitiba, Brazil. She works as a Judiciary Law Clerk at the Court of Law of the State of Paraná and is a former lawyer with experience in Civil Rights, Consumer Law, Telecommunications Law, and International Law.
What’s your first order of business in the morning?
LB: The first thing I do in the morning is drinking a large glass of water. Then I do my skincare routine, eat breakfast and I’m ready to start my day. I’m currently working on including some exercise and meditation in my morning routine too.
What motivates you?
LB: Staying motivated has always been a struggle for me, but I try to always plan my activities ahead and have a specific goal that I’m excited about. Of course, seeing the results of my work help motivate me even more.
Can you explain your career and how it led you to where you are now?
LB: I’ve practiced law for 3 years and now I’m a judiciary clerk at the Court of Law of the State of Paraná in Brazil. I’m also the co-founder of a non-profit called Catalise, and have been working on a project for helping at-risk girls achieve their potentials and have a chance at a better future.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome, in your career?
LB: I believe the biggest challenge in my career so far was trying to find opportunities in the fields I like. In Brazil, lawyers are usually underpaid and overworked, and it’s not easy to find work without the right connections. Although I enjoyed being a lawyer, I wasn’t working in my preferred field, so I decided civil service would be a unique learning opportunity for me. But even after passing many examinations, and even after coming in first place, I had to wait many years until I was hired due to the serious economic crisis Brazil is going through. Therefore, I decided to look for other ways to feel a sense of accomplishment, like helping at-risk girls fulfill their dreams.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
LB: When I started my career, I thought my knowledge and hard work would be enough. I wish I knew that sometimes it takes a while to see the results of your efforts. When I didn’t see immediate results I felt frustrated and demotivated, and then I lost too much time feeling sorry for myself. Now I know I have to hang in there and keep on doing my best. The hard work will pay off!
What book are you reading and/or a book you highly recommend?
LB: I’m currently reading The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, a powerful memoir of a Rwandan girl who escaped the war and went through unimaginable horrors. The book is both sad and inspiring and it’s giving me a lot to think about.
What do you do if you’re not working?
LB: I would love to say I exercise a lot and go to the beach, but I actually just watch too much Netflix and play with my cat, Prince.
What’s next for you?
LB: I plan on applying to a Master’s program, I’m working on perfecting the Mina de Ouro Project and developing other projects with my colleagues at Catalise, and I’m also studying for other civil service examinations.
If you were given a plane ticket right now, where would you go?
LB: I would go to Peru. I love Peruvian food and I’m very interested in Peru’s history and art. I would like to visit all the countries in Latin America I can.
Where can we find out more about your work?
LB: You can check our website: https://catalise.org, our Instagram pages: @cataliseorg and @minadeouroproject, and our Facebook pages: @teamcatalise and @minadeouroproject; or you can find me on Instagram and on Twitter: @lauralbaptista.