I work as a data scientist at Continental in Lousado (close to Porto) and I’m part of our Ambassador program. Being an ambassador is not an official part of any role, but a worldwide community within our company full of engaged colleagues from all countries, areas and levels who represent Continental in many different ways.
Before Continental I worked in a start-up. From there I was used to being active beyond data scientist job tasks. Coming directly from university of Porto I was also still involved with university stuff and just continued in a different way.
When I joined Continental I of course entered a much larger organization. I was very impressed by the topics my colleagues were working on. When I talked to friends and family about my new job I was surprised that nobody knew Continental was working with such amounts of data in a professional way with huge teams. That’s where I realized I wanted to share my excitement with other data scientists and people in the region in general.
In Portugal Continental is very known for premium tires, but I wanted to uncover the huge global corporation with all it’s data science work.
In Lousado I sit together with fellow data scientists who apply data science and AI to several business domains across Tires. With them I have the opportunity to exchange knowledge on AI and share best practices.
Currently, I’m mostly involved in the development of BAL.ON: a new product launched by Continental built for golfers. It comprises a mobile application, connected to smart insoles, that can act as a virtual coach.
All ambassadors choose their activities themselves. Everyone decides about how active one wants to be. In my case I already arrived at Continental with some activities in my suitcase and kept on going as a Continental employee:
- Meet-ups: Already before joining Continental I regularly visited Meet-Ups from “Data Science Portugal”. Once you start going to these events you know everyone, it’s a familiar environment and very interesting community.
- Data Science for Social Good Portugal: This is an organization I belong to for ~4 years now. We are data enthusiasts that want to tackle problems of social organizations with data. As those organizations don’t usually have experts to work with the data, we jump in with our 200-300 experts assigned to various projects for a good cause.
- Portuguese Women in Tech: This is a community of women in tech studies or jobs. I’m a member of that community, but also supported an activity of Continental with the community – an open day at our location. I felt proud seeing other tech women also having this surprise moment of astonishment about what great things we do.
In addition I entered the field of hackathons:
- Datattack Hackathon: The event which was the most intense, but also the most rewarding as an Ambassador, was organizing a data hackathon in partnership with a students organization at the University of Porto. For this hackathon there was the need to create the challenge in the first place, to prepare the data, meet with the students to plan everything and then support the teams during the weekend. It was great to work together with my colleagues in Continental to put this together and bring such a dynamic initiative to the students.
- Aveiro TechWeek Hackathon: I had the chance to participate in this hackathon together with the data science team of Lousado. It was an amazing opportunity to brand Continental as a tech company and meet other tech experts of the country. I learned new things and had fun with the team outside of the office while building solutions for the proposed challenges. The cherry on top of the cake: watch my colleagues winning a first prize and celebrating with them, as a Conti team!
For me all these activities are fun. They add some more spice to my career and I feel that I can add value with my skills. Every time I get new perspectives and it enriches me a lot. I also share my work and advertise for Continental because I want to work with the best people and attract them.
Being an ambassador is not a big responsibility, I see it as fun and something I would do anyway also without an internal “title”. Many colleagues support me, not everyone likes to be in the front, but still would like to be in.
I’m lucky that my team manager values a lot what I do and even supports himself (e. g. by joining the hackathon we went), so I don’t have to separate work and these activities strictly. Like that the activities don’t weigh a lot on your shoulders.
For those who would like to start off as an Ambassador as well, these would be my recommendations:
- Find your style (which purpose would you like to support, what are you passionate about)
- What do you enjoy (Speaking in front of others? Teaching 1:1? Answering questions? Supporting others? Running marathons for Conti?)
- Discuss with your manager about what you would like to do
- Join an event as a participant first to get familiar
- Just start small and grow 😊
Watch out, maybe you meet a Continental Ambassador on the next Tech event you are joining. Feel free to reach out, we don’t bite!