Andrea Valle, Intercontinental endurance runner in all things cultural affairs, thrives on traveling, discovering new
cultures and exciting challenges, family person and bookworm, develops processes and manages company merger
in Spain and Latin America, campaigns for books and authors. Internal Auditor, Penguin Random House, Barcelona.
enjoy traveling very much, exploring other countries,...
... getting to know people from other cultures and working with them, says Andrea Valle.
And that is precisely what my job is all about. That is why it is such a wonderful combination of living the life I love and working.
Andrea Valle has worked for Penguin Random House in Barcelona as an internal auditor for the past three years. It is her responsibility to carefully examine the company processes in Spain and Latin America, and to improve or redesign them. This requires her to travel extensively – for example to Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay or Columbia. Spanish-born Andrea can only laugh about the preconceptions of her work:
Many people think that internal auditing is a very boring job. I don’t think so! Of course I have to follow certain procedures in my work, and I have to do that in a very structured way. But on the other hand, I also come into contact a lot with different people from widely varying areas of the company. In doing so, she frequently encounters serious cultural differences:
If you constantly deal with people from different countries, like I do, you can learn a lot about the different ways in which they think and work. Here in Spain, for example, people tend to do their own thing, so things might be quite unceremonious. In Germany, on the other hand, you need to be more correct and polite. Still, her open manner is usually welcomed by colleagues all over the world:
They say I’m a very cheerful person and that I’m also tough, since I always travel around on my own and can cope with many difficult situations without help.
When Andrea Valle travels, this often means a lot of work and a tight schedule.
Frequently, I only have one or two weeks to do my work in the respective country or company. But the cultural optimist also appreciates the good things about traveling so much:
When I work somewhere else, then I often stay there for the weekend after I have done my work – and go sightseeing or to a museum. She has also found the perfect counterbalance to her work: “
When I’ve had a particularly stressful or chaotic day, I go running.
Preferably in the evening, when it’s cool. Sometimes I run alone, and sometimes with friends. We talk to each other about how our day has been, get our minds on other things and notice just how beautiful Barcelona actually is. A healthy work–life balance is also important to her in other ways:
In my job, you spend long hours at the office. That’s OK, because I love my work – but I also very much enjoy spending time with my family and my friends. So I try not to focus on my job only but also on my personal life.
Even though it is not always easy to find the right balance, Andrea is currently very happy in her job overall. That was not always the case: After studying business administration in Barcelona, specializing in finance, she started out in a bank before going on to work for a major auditing firm. However, neither of these jobs gave her true satisfaction:
It was not until I joined Penguin Random House that I realized I wanted a job that has more to offer than just figures. Here, my working routine also includes culture, creativity and different mindsets. And doing what I enjoy is the biggest motivation for me.
She also has a weak spot for books away from the office.
I read one or more chapters every evening before going to sleep. I’m a real bookworm and read everything, although my favorite genres are romantic novels or books about historic events. One of the industry’s biggest challenges – book piracy – is also pretty high on Andrea Valle’s agenda. Together with her colleagues, she is defending the rights of the books and their authors:
We must explain to people that it is worth paying for books. Because books are culture, and behind every book, there are a lot of people who work hard to get it published!
And she has an optimistic view of the future:
I am firmly convinced that our industry will continue to grow, because culture will never disappear.