“I still remember the date: February 20, 1986. It was my first day at Construtora Norberto Odebrecht. That time was a turning point for the company because we were expanding rapidly, winning contracts all over Brazil. In particular, it was a time of important decisions in my life. I was in my last year of college, deciding which paths I would take, which goals to pursue. So joining Odebrecht brought me many fresh prospects.
“I confess that the first steps were difficult. The accounting area was dominated by more seasoned professionals. Most were men. I was very young, just 21 years old, and had little work experience. By living the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology and identifying with it, I focused on working with tremendous discipline to earn the respect and eventually the trust of my co-workers.
“That recognition set me a major challenge: I was delegated the role of helping implement financial systems at CNO’s projects throughout the country. I visited several states, mainly in the Northeast, Midwest and North. I had unique and unforgettable experiences, especially in Acre, Amazonas and Rondônia. We sometimes traveled over 12 hours to reach places where we didn’t know where we could find a bed or something to eat. Often, the lack of infrastructure in the town meant that we had to stay in the worker accommodations or housing right in the middle of the rainforest. I remember nights when, before going to sleep, I would look for snakes and spiders under the bed and in every corner of the room. I was scared to death!
“But I also remember that it was all very exciting. On weekends, even when I could return home, I preferred to stay and learn more about the local culture and meet members of the community, really experience that setting. I’ve always believed that my commitment is basically to my work but also to the people around me. So I came to understand that, to be a better teacher, I needed to understand the needs of those around me. I think all that learning was essential to surmounting later challenges, like working with social outreach programs within the Odebrecht Foundation. Education through work has always been my mission in life.”
Daniela Ceccotti, 49, has been with the Group for 28 years. Married with two children, she has always lived in her home state of Bahia, Brazil. She holds a degree in Economics from the Catholic University of Salvador and an MBA in Finance. When she joined Construtora Norberto Odebrecht, she started out in the Accounting division (Sercon). Daniela helped set up financial and management information systems for Odebrecht projects throughout Brazil and groomed and trained its teams. Since 1994, she has been the leader of the Odebrecht Foundation’s Administrative and Financial program.