Flash Interview of the Month | Juliette Douglas - Water Alliance

Julho, 2021

The Flash Interview of the Month is a very short talk with one of our members, where the interviewee is able to talk about his/her experience in an informal way and where all stories are told in the 1st person. This month we are very pleased to introduce Juliette Douglas, Business Development International at Water Alliance. Two years ago Juliette, her husband, and their 2 daughters decided to move to Portugal for a period of 4 years to seek adventure!

1- Can you tell a little more about yourself?

My name is Juliette Douglas, 54 years young, 2 daughters and a husband by my side. Very much appreciated by family, friends and colleagues, most of the time…I am working for Water Alliance for over 10 years and was part of the team from the very beginning. At the time, we started with a team of 3. Currently, we are 17 and still growing!

For almost 9 years I was responsible for marketing and communications at Water Alliance. In 2019, my husband and I decided it was time for a new adventure and luckily we found a great opportunity: Portugal crossed our path! So we packed our stuff and moved to Portugal for a period of 4 years and we are now for 2 years here. It was also time to move further in my personal development, since I was already 9 years in the same job.

Since living in Portugal, I am in a new position at Water Alliance and part of the Business Development team. So although I am still in the same organization, I now have a totally new job. I consider myself very lucky, this was a unique chance for me personally and professionally.

As liaison Southern Europe, I specialize in ItalySpain, and Portugal and on doing business with these countries. A large part of my job is expanding our network in the water sector. Scouting business opportunities for our members, organizing events, matchmaking, and round table discussions. People do not do business with companies, they do business with people. My part in this is to help our members in these countries by expanding their and our network, by increasing brand awareness of the Dutch water tech sector, searching for partners to work with, and seeking business.

2- Why did you decide to move to Portugal?

My husband could get a placement as Marine officer at the NATO in Oeiras. As I am currently responsible for Southern Europe within Water Alliance, I can perfectly do my job from Portugal, so that's how we got here. Win-Win! 

3- What has been the most challenging for you in terms of doing business in Portugal?

I had just arrived in Portugal before Covid hit us all. Within my job as a Business Developer, my main concern is getting into new networks and making contacts. This has been difficult during Covid because there were no physical events you could participate in. But that's not just a challenge for Portugal, it applies to all countries. Portuguese are really nice people; warm and pleasant to work with. The challenge for me is mainly the language. Portuguese is a difficult language to understand. So we (the Portuguese and I) switch to English, but as this is neither our native language, sometimes communication is hampered.

4- How do you spent your free time? 

Recently, I started playing golf, as a sport it’s really fun. For me it’s not just about the exercise, it’s also about the mental challenge. For me being a somewhat impatient person, being quite direct, high-paced and quickly frustrated it is a proper test of patience. So this sometimes is a real inner battle, it challenges me to work on skills that don’t come naturally. Staying calm is key, the word calm hasn’t been in my dictionary for almost 54 years…

Also now that the world is opening up again, we are exploring Portugal, visiting all the beautiful places. And last but not least, I am still working on my Portuguese following language classes.

5- What are your plans after these 4 years in Portugal?

After 4 years in Portugal, I actually hope to be able to stay, but maybe it is time for a new wallpaper, or operating from another country? We are flexible, we will see by then!

Source: Some of the answers were taken from the interview Juliette gave earlier this year at Water Alliance. Click here to read the full interview.