November 14, 2023

Interview with Ana Miranda: “Tourism and culture are sectors that can attract Americans”

Portuguese people who stand out abroad are helping to find out where business opportunities are and what kind of companies and activities the country can attract. An initiative that brings together Negócios and the Portuguese Diaspora Council.

1- What led you to leave Portugal?

The fact that I wanted to do audacious, often innovative projects and was always being told that it wasn’t possible and that it had never been done. That was the driving force behind wanting to leave and in some way a way to fight for my dreams and my abilities. Deep down, believing that there could be more possibilities than those that were presented to me at the time and taking a chance on a new life. I believe that we have to pursuit what we want, and we are responsible for this journey. If we don’t find the path where we are, it’s up to us to adapt until we find it or change our objective, which is also part of the process itself and not holding others and often the country responsible. That said, I still think that Portugal could do more to keep talent at home. There are many top professionals in Portugal, but unfortunately these skills are only valued abroad or often only flourish in countries where talent and the “new” are more open.

2- What advantages did being Portuguese bring you?

Many advantages, but I will highlight the preparation we have in our schools and universities, which prepare us to work anywhere in the world and in any company. The fact that there is this disbelief in the new and we hear that “it is not possible” is also a preparation for us to persist and not be moved when some situation has a “set back”. We learn to be resilient and make things happen with the few resources we might have.

The ability to have a natural talent for learning other languages also brought me many advantages and made me stand out in the jobs I had.

Furthermore, the Portuguese have a good image in the United States, as a serious and hard-working community. This point also motivates us to want to show more of our country and to want to see it more prominently. Because, as I always say, the Portugal brand is all of us and when one wins, we all win and so does the country.

3- What obstacles did you have to overcome and how did you do it?

The obstacles turned out to be challenges and many of them are today the added value of the organization I run – Arte Institute. The fact that at the beginning, we had practically non-existent funding and did not have a physical space for our events, made us look for other solutions, which today are the reason why we have a grid of networking and partners around the world. This is our great added value and the unparalleled know-how we have in the cultural sector and in the way we connect it to the economy and tourism. I often say in lectures, look at obstacles as something that will take us in a different direction than the one we idealized, but in this process we have to look at what is around us. We probably and almost always find other opportunities or ways of doing things that we would otherwise hardly think about. From my point of view, these obstacles or “set back” are opportunities to take a new look at the project, to review our strategy and the work we are building.

4- What do you admire most about the country you’re in?

The ability to achieve things, to work as a team and to encourage new things. It creates a dynamic of success and motivating energy. They always believe in the most unbelievable ideas because they never know if it won’t be the next “next thing”. They encourage a lot and know how to work together to pull in the same direction. There is a clear notion that personal gain lies in the gain of the group and the team. This positive spirit, combined with a collective feeling, is an excellent combination for the implementation and success of projects and organizations.

5- What do you most admire about the organization you are in?

Being a civil society initiative, which managed to be a brand for Portugal, a symbol of innovation, willpower, and persistence. Basically, the Arte Institute created an innovative model for its area and for the country, doing what had not been possible until then in terms of internationalization of contemporary Portuguese culture. Furthermore, it has been sustainable for almost 13 years and mainly due to investment from Portuguese companies.

There has been a vision at Arte Institute, since its inception, of wanting to show Portugal in the fullness of its capabilities and where it can be in the world. We believe that the country can still go further and that, at least abroad, there is still work to do to show its more contemporary side. The way Portugal is seen in the last 15 years has changed a lot, especially here in the United States. A decade ago, no one knew where Portugal was, now it is a destination of choice!

6- What recommendations would you give to Portugal and its entrepreneurs and managers?

Invest more in Portuguese talent and projects, which have quality and deserve this boost. I still see this mentality, which unfortunately is very much ours, of valuing foreigners more than our own. And this is very reflected in where the investment is made and in the opportunities that are generated for national entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it is very demotivating and demoralizes anyone who is trying to build and grow a project.

7- In which sectors of the country where you live can Portuguese companies find clients?

In the cultural and tourism sector, creating a national strategy to create more experiences and be more than a beautiful country, with good cuisine. Through cultural events and traditional experiences, we can increase the number of visitors, diversify the type of people who visit and encourage them to return. To achieve this, there must be a defined and integrated strategy between culture and tourism. Here, public and private initiatives could create an unprecedented synergy with very positive results for both parties.

8- In which sectors in Portugal might companies from the country where you reside want to invest?

In technology or any other business area that presents a good and profitable proposal for American companies. It would also be important that knowledge and importance of the economic power of Portuguese language in the USA to be more widespread.

9- What is the competitive advantage of the country you are in that could be replicated in Portugal?

Above all, the vision of taking risks in the new and in what is yet to be done. They work very well on the opportunities that arise. They also invest a lot in their entrepreneurs and their vision. It is obvious that they are very different economic investment capabilities, but there is a psychological factor of believing in the projects that is also very important and a driver for success.

10- Do you consider going back to Portugal? Why?

Maybe one day, when I have realized all my ideas and dreams. Portugal is an incredible country with a lot of potential, but it is still in the process of discovering how to deal with the talent of its people. I hope that conditions can increasingly be create

Read the original article here.