Who says you can’t be a numbers whiz and an art connoisseur all at the same time? Fernanda Gonçalves is living proof that you can. Her job is to develop statistic models for Volkswagen Truck & Bus. Outside of work, she loves music, dancing, and going to museums. The majority of her spare time, however, is dedicated to volunteer work.

Text: Roman Scherer

“I am Brazilian, black, and a woman. In my job, that makes me an exception,” explains Fernanda Gonçalves. The 43-year-old is a qualified mathematician and statistician and has been a data scientist and database specialist for over 20 years. Having joined Volkswagen Truck & Bus two years ago, she works on developing statistic models. “Essentially, my job is turning data into knowledge.” This knowledge is then applied within the framework of the Gestão de Soluções Sob Medida (GSSM), the custom-made solution management system for customers. “I use RIO’s telemetric data to help me predict how our products and services will behave in certain scenarios,” says the specialist.

Data Specialist

Fernanda Gonçalves also develops KPIs and manages reports for customer service. “For example, I help to provide guidance to people working in our service network,” she explains. The aim is to improve customer experience. “I would describe myself as someone who is very involved. I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities to work together with colleagues from other parts of the company and other brands of the TRATON GROUP,” says Fernanda Gonçalves. What really matters to her when working with other people is interpersonal interaction: “I am convinced that we can only do our best individually if we work as a team.”

Curator of Perspectives

Fernanda Gonçalves finds working together with colleagues from other parts of the company to be highly enriching: “All of us have our own areas of expertise, which means we bring our unique perspectives to the table.” She adds that this helps her to see things more clearly — and ultimately leads to better results. Fernanda Gonçalves is confident: “Sharing experiences, ways of working, and knowledge stimulates creativity and definitely improves your own problem-solving skills.” She stresses the important of people adapting their way of working to cultural differences, pointing out: “We shouldn’t just assume that we’ll always be able to work in the same place and in a familiar environment. We need new skills, attitudes, and patterns of behavior that allow us to transcend cultural borders and still be successful.” This is also true of people who are still facing prejudice as a result of their gender, skin color, and social background.

Committed Volunteer

Fernanda Gonçalves wants to help people overcome these obstacles and the challenges they bring. This is why she dedicates the majority of her spare time to volunteer work. For example, she helps distribute meals to people in need. She also teaches math lessons to underprivileged children, equipping them with the skills they need to find a way out of poverty. Additionally, she is a member of groups campaigning for racial and gender equality. As part of her involvement, she shares her experience of working in a male-dominated environment and encourages other women to stand up for their rights. This doesn’t leave much time for anything else, but when Fernanda Gonçalves does get a spare hour or two, she indulges her passion for culture. “I love music, art, and dancing,” she says enthusiastically, adding that she is an avid museum- and theatergoer. She values and admires African art and loves to play the piano and guitar, preferring classical and rock music. One of her favorites is Bon Jovi. For the past 25 years, she has been dancing in a samba school and taking part in parades. To switch off, this busy mom-of-one likes to travel. Her favorite thing to do is discover new places and cultures together with her husband and their eleven-year-old daughter.

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