Farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021 from Women in Localization

One of the EUATC's strategic partners, Women in Localization, reflects on the year and looks forward to the next with its out-going and in-coming President.

Over the last two years, it’s been my pleasure to lead Women in Localization. This year I hand over the leadership to incredibly worthy hands – to Ceci Maldonado. Ceci brings incredible industry and board experience, energy, drive and focus and I know she will bring amazing results and inspiration to the organization.

Pictured left: Women in Localization President 2019-2020, Loy Searle

So Ceci and I are tag-teaming this article for EUATC. I am taking the past year and Ceci the future. I think I got the easy part as the past is clear at this point.

Around the world, we spent the better part of the last year avoiding a pandemic while trying to work as usual, run our lives as usual, keep our families safe, our kids engaged and keep our cool – as usual. Most of us didn’t do any of these things perfectly. That said, this year taught our peers in technical professions that they could work remotely and still get things done. For those of us in localization, this was our normal and I’m hopeful this will be one thing that will have a lasting effect on how we work. We also learned how much we need each other. We miss meeting in person and the hug of a friend. Zoom, while great, does not take the place of sharing a meal with a friend. Yet, video visits have taken on a truly special quality that wasn’t there before.

At Women in Localization, over the past year our amazing program volunteers quickly pivoted to online events and established our Global Community, all while building membership, opening six new chapters, onboarding sponsors and partners, supporting mentors/mentees and growing our social media. I’m so proud of our volunteers’ accomplishments during the strangest year in our history. We did two resets this year: first, shifting priorities to online once covid hit and then reprioritizing in the fall. Throughout it all, a fabulous group of ladies drove results, led programs and somehow found time to give during a year that demanded a lot from every one of us.

So, 2020 was tough. But it showed us that we are resilient, resourceful, committed and – in spite of it all – deeply connected to each other. I will remember this year as a lovely mix of amazing women and their stellar accomplishments amidst a surreal backdrop of covid, political unrest and social awareness. I wonder: in what small ways the year will stick with us going forward? Will we hug less once we can? – I hope not. Will we continue to overstock on toilet paper and cleaning supplies? – Yes, probably. Will we still connect over Zoom with our friends and family who are far away? – I hope so.

With that… I pass the torch to Ceci – who will lead us in the year ahead…

Pictured below: Women in Localization President 2021, Ceci Maldonado

Becoming President of Women in Localization after Loy is as tough as trying to write something after her! As we wrap an incredibly awkward year for most, it’s time to reflect on lessons learned and changes we want to see in the following year.

From an industry perspective, COVID accelerated remote work even beyond “country” limits. Those with a hybrid model (onsite and remote) gained the courage to think about 100% remote long-term since there are plenty of benefits with remote work: higher productivity, time and money savings, higher retention rates, the opportunity to recruit qualified talent regardless of location and no fixed costs. I believe most businesses will maintain a partial work from home structure even after COVID-19.

From a personal perspective, I’ve seen people reconnect with their families and communities during the pandemic and be grateful for the “quieter” times – no traveling, mainly. As much as we may have enjoyed social distancing and the possibility to be “everywhere” without traveling, I doubt we will continue to choose virtual over in-person meetings. After all, we are human and our brains are wired for personal interactions.

From a Women in Localization perspective, we were forced to work in new ways in 2020: work faster and better – and we responded! 2021 will be a year for restructuring and reorganization, simplifying and streamlining our organizational structure so we can set the foundations for enduring success. With 28 chapters in 18 different countries today, we need to step up our game to be ready for the challenges and opportunities growth brings.

As I read somewhere recently, “…in a crisis, what matters becomes very clear, very fast”. Let’s not forget what matters once the crisis is over. In the meantime, let’s focus on a sense of limitless possibility – in the end, what we focus on and how we live our lives is entirely up to us.