Fulfilling a dream is a deeply gratifying experience. Have you ever had the feeling of fulfilment, of an accomplishment achieved? Well, that’s what I felt just a month ago, when I discovered that…
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to the beginning.
“We’re going to SAPPHIRE.”
“And what’s that?”
“SAP’s annual event, Alejandra, where they tell us what’s new. They hold it in a huge pavilion – a lot of partners and customers go. Also, they usually have a party afterwards and it’s very nice.”
“Ah. It’s like Paris Fashion Week, I guess, but in a technological context.”
And I was ruminating… “Well, let’s see if I can go someday.” And it became an aspiration. The years went by, each year some managers and colleagues went. So I dedicated myself to learning as quickly as possible, to be up to the task and, perhaps, be lucky enough to be the one to showcase and represent Everis. Sorry, NTT DATA.
A few years later, when I had already learned to ski decently – or maybe not so much – I was speeding down the mountain, because, although I was on holiday, I was late for a meeting I was interested in attending as a listener. I got there, but on the way I fell, and I was told I had to rest.
So, bored at home, I opened my email. And there it was: Xavier Rovira was announcing a global competition, whose prize was to go to the SAPPHIRE in Orlando. SAPPHIRE… in ORLANDO! Well, here we go. Without hesitation, I went for it.
“So, what should I do?”
“Make a video explaining your project.”
Well, look, if nothing else I’ve made 300,000 holiday videos. I know all the editing options by heart. I’m going to add some AI… why don’t I use an AI text reader for the voice-over? And I’m going to ask ChatGPT to help me write the script. I’m going to delve into a video library… ah, look, these people are in a meeting. Here’s an assembly line; that fits nicely. A little bit of inspirational music, and I had it.
A few days went by, and I was announced as a finalist. I told all my colleagues. I spread the word about the contest on social media. I told my friends. I don’t have enough words to thank all those who supported me, the warmth I felt from the team and how supported I was. Also, I was able to meet another finalist from the Madrid office, Alberto Romagosa. I had a coffee with him and he told me how he was experiencing the contest.
A few days later, while I was in the office, I received another email: I was one of the two winners. Really? Out of 45 contestants, I won? I ran out of the room, to tell my colleagues. How nice, we’re so happy for you… let’s see what you bring us from Orlando.
So I packed my suitcase and arrived in the United States. The pavilion was huge, with screens everywhere; the chance to attend 170 sessions on different topics according to your interests, the NTT DATA Business Solutions colleagues I met, the CEO of NTT DATA Services…
I remember when I sat in on the keynote speech with Salvador Sagrado and Luis Domingo (thank you, thank you and thank you for your company over those days), and I saw live what were going to be the hot topics this year: Artificial Intelligence, Green Ledger, SAP Datasphere. And from there, freedom of movement; being at the NTT DATA booth, going to the sessions I liked the most, having a drink with colleagues after the event.
But that wasn’t all… the closing of the event was held at the Universal theme park, exclusively for SAPPHIRE attendees. We had the opportunity to enjoy the rides without queuing – I thought the Harry Potter ride was amazing… but I won’t spoil it for you – and to see Usher live.
A few days after my return to Spain, Hu You, the other winner of the contest, came to SAPPHIRE in Barcelona. I had the opportunity to meet and talk a little with her and some of the contest organisers at a party hosted by NTT DATA at the Fundació Miró. An amazing environment and a great night, surrounded by partners, customers and colleagues. I’m sure Hu You enjoyed Barcelona as much as I did Orlando.
That “How nice, we’re so happy for you” from my colleagues when I found out I’d won the prize only reflects a tenth of the feeling I had at that moment. It wasn’t just winning a contest; it was seeing something I’d dreamed of when I was younger come true. I look back now and I think that, if I could talk to the Alejandra of 2015, I would tell her, “Trust that you’ll be able to do it.” And what I see is that this journey started years ago. All the perseverance, dedication and effort invested, with a little bit of luck, are worth it.
So, from my desk in the office, I raise my cup of coffee in a toast to a dream fulfilled, and the many that remain to be.