Thursday, September 17, 2015

Smart-Confessions: Testimonies from Smartmatic parents (Part I)

September is “back to school” month for many parents and children around the world. The summer holidays are over and going back to our routines is unavoidable. This is why we thought it’d be great to talk about parenthood in Smartmatic.

Because we love incredible challenges, we have decided to open the “Pandora box” and ask some of our double parents to share confessions and anecdotes about their no-so-secret life as super working parents. By double parents we mean couples in which both, mother and father, work for the company.

In the next posts, we’ll meet three double Smartmatic parents: Ana and Heider, Geraldine and Arquimedes (Kimo) and, Yoslanie and Juan Jose, who have decided to share some unexpected truths about the challenge of combining their roles at home and the office.

Ana and Heider: “We have become expert jugglers”

Ana and Heider are the parents of two-year old Andrea Lucía. Ana reveals that balancing their jobs with parenthood has been very intense. “We both work full time and we not only take care of one daughter but also of two other ‘sons’: our dogs Luk and Draco. Meeting their needs and our own has been rather challenging. In doing so, we’ve become expert jugglers.

According to Ana the experience has made them more efficient and productive. “We have been forced to better organise ourselves. Schedules are now very important to us, as we realised that we are now depending on our family schedule more than on our own activities.”

Quality time is, without a doubt, a vital subject when talking to working young parents. And Ana confirms it: “We are not longer able to bring home loads of extra work, because we know we have a limited amount of time during the day to share with the baby and the family.”

On the other hand, as a positive note, Ana mentions that inside the office, she perceives a lot of understanding and sympathy towards parenthood. “The year Andrea was born, were also born Juan Diego, Sofía, Mateo e Ignacio, among other Smartmatic babies. All these firstborns came to our Smartmatic family one after another.” This created a first-time parents relation in the workplace. “As parents, we are always asking each other questions and sharing stories, because we are all living similar experiences.”

However, Ana warns that one significant lesson Heider and herself have learned, being surrounded by multiple parents in a similar situation, is the importance of being mindful and respectful of other’s beliefs. “We understand that every parent has his/her own style and we all need to respect that.”

Asked about one of those anecdotes as parents in Smartmatic; Ana enjoys the fact that when their little Andrea comes to the office, they find the most diverse opinions about who she truly resembles. “Some of our colleagues say she takes after me, others consider she looks more like her dad and some others change their mind every single time they see her, as her features are constantly changing. For us, it is hilarious to see all the different views!”

Either way, Ana and Heider are a couple that has successfully found a way to have fun as a family while keeping up with Smartmatic’s work-rhythm; and yes, it makes us proud!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why we celebrate International Day of Democracy

Back in 2007 the United Nations General Assembly made a resolution to observe the International Day of Democracy on 15 September - the day when the Universal Declaration on Democracy was adopted. 

Today, we are glad to join the UN, member states and organisations around the world in promoting and upholding the principles of democracy. In Smartmatic, as we stated in our website and core values, “We believe that the free world is moving toward a more participatory model of democracy, where in addition to periodic elections, there will and should be a more continuous flow of opinions between citizens and governments.” This principle leads us now, more than ever, to celebrate the 2015 theme for Day of Democracy: “Space for Civil Society”. 

The UN Secretary-General's message for this year notes that “Civil society is the oxygen of democracy. The role of civil society has never been more important.” Furthermore, as the world prepares to shortly implement a new development agenda (September 2015), Ban Ki-moon reminds us that “yet, for civil society, freedom to operate is diminishing — or even disappearing. On this Day, let us recall that progress and civic participation go hand in hand.” 

On this Day, we reaffirm together with the UN that “democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives. And while democracies share common features, there is no single model of it.” 

Therefore, this Day of Democracy, let us call the attention to three fundamental topics in which we believe we can help transform civil society: 

1. Elections: As the leading election company, we are committed to developing, promoting and providing services that guarantee transparency, efficiency and integrity in elections. Our voting systems keep on successfully supporting just this. 

2. Technology: At times when the debate on technology and democracy gets fierier, and we hear experts still argue about why “the advance of new communication technologies in the past fifteen years have not produced any overall advance of democracy in the world”; we raise the flag of our company vision with pride: “To move civilization forward with technology that has a profound social impact.” We acknowledge that technology alone does not solve all the challenges of democracy building, yet we firmly believe that engaged citizens and efficient government administrators stand a better chance! 

3. Education for freedom and peace: We envision a society where citizens have an education system that allows their societies to become fairer and more transparent and in which they can use technology to better communicate and join forces to demand more from their governments.

Particularly, we believe in education for freedom and peace as they are the spirited pillars of democratic systems.Therefore, this is the time to work together toward prommoting democracy and, this is the Day to create awareness and plan actions. Let us celebrate it together.

The Smartmatic Communications Team