"With different angles and ambitions you come up with the most innovative solutions"

Embark on Ofelia Alfonso's journey at Intrum, where she brings a wealth of expertise in data, analytics, and technology to her role as Global Solutions and Alliances Director. Passionate about innovation, Ofelia shares insights on her career challenges, leadership, and diversity within Intrum and beyond.

Ofelia Alfonso
There is value in a diverse team. If people think the same they don’t enrich each other. Different views enrich the way people think.
Ofelia Alfonso

Tell us about yourself and your role

I’m married with two boys. I’ve had multiple roles across my career, focusing on data, analytics and technology. I’ve been at Intrum for a year and my role focuses on solutions and alliances across Intrum’s 20 countries, using data to solve issues both internally and for clients across the whole credit lifecycle. That could be in analysing who to call, undertaking credit scoring for clients or using an affordability index, for example. 

What inspires you in your career?

When I finished university I wanted to be an engineer. My father told me the word comes from ‘ingenuity’. I joined Hewlett Packard and realised that technology and data are critical to delivering innovative solutions. I then did a Harvard programme for leadership development and joined Equifax where I held several roles, including chief innovation officer. Delivering insights that power decisions and have an effect on people is important to me. At Intrum we have a real opportunity to impact transformation not just internally but to have an impact on society. We help people get out of debt and we help companies of all sizes to grow, invest and employ.

What challenges have you faced as a woman?

Women have two particular challenges. The first is that we can’t be perfect wives, mothers, friends and workers – we have to learn to be less hard on ourselves and learn the power of delegation. The second thing is that I think women and men are completely different and complementary. Our leadership style works and works very well. We build caring connections, develop others, are very co-operative and have good intuition. We have to show men that works as a leadership style.

Which career achievements make you proud?

I was very proud to be appointed the first female vice president in Equifax Iberia – it is important to show women in leadership positions.

What values drive you in your role?

All of Intrum’s values are important, but as director of solutions and alliances, the value Solutions is completely aligned with our mission – Dedication is another I like a lot as we always go the extra mile and never give up.

How do you promote and support inclusion and diversity in Intrum and beyond?

I’ve worked with people not just of different genders, but from different cultures and of different ages, all of whom have different areas of expertise. When you compose a team to work on a solution, it is beautiful to see people working as one. With different angles and ambitions you come up with the most innovative solutions and the ones that are best for our customers and clients. There is value in a diverse team. If people think the same they don’t enrich each other. Different views enrich the way people think.

Who has particularly influenced your leadership style?

I had a mentor in HP who always used to tell me to be myself and not to change. He told me focus is the key to success – as long as you put passion into something it can’t go wrong.

How does this year’s IWD theme ‘inspire inclusion’ resonate with you?

We need to inspire inclusion every day and that goes beyond gender. Everyone has something positive to contribute. International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on the progress made. My generation is fortunate in comparison with former generations of women who didn’t get much of a say. It’s a time to thank those women who brought us to where we are now. It’s also an opportunity to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage by ordinary women.

What are the most important next steps in improving gender diversity?

At Intrum we see women in many different roles. Having women in positions of leadership acts as a role model for the coming generations. My boys who are 11 and 13 have always seen me working and being equal to a man. We have to show our children that men and women are the same in that regard.