How can a transformative leader be defined? Can they be defined as someone who only drives profits or someone who inspires new ways of thinking? Or is it someone who, despite all the challenges, drives their team to victory? Let’s attempt to learn more from Marianna Boza, the Head of the Oil and Gas and Mining Practice at Brigard Urrutia. Marianna Boza, a dynamic leader who has paved her way to success, is leading the organization to some major business and operational breakthroughs. A leader with a clear vision for the organization and the industry, Marianna is making waves with her expertise and innovative approach.
In an interview with Aspioneer, Marianna shares her challenges, vision, and plans. Below are the highlights:
Aspioneer (A): Thank you for doing this with us, Mariana. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your organization?
Marianna Boza (M): “I am Marianna Boza, Head of the Oil & Gas and Mining Practice at Brigard Urrutia. Brigard Urrutia is recognized as a leading law firm in Colombia with over 85 years of experience providing legal advice and assistance in all areas of business law. We represent our clients in a wide variety of matters, including transactional advice, non-transactional advice, litigation, and conflict resolution. In addition, we have experience as a service provider for an important national and international clientele, which includes leading domestic and foreign financial institutions, multinational corporations, private equity and venture capital funds, state-owned enterprises, governments, and multilateral agencies. The firm frequently advises on complex cross-border matters, and its attorneys have been involved in many of Colombia’s landmark transactions. Our main office is in Bogota, but we have offices in Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla.”
(A): Can you also enlighten us a bit about your team and how it works?
(M): “The firm has a multidisciplinary team of more than 150 attorneys specializing in various practice areas of business law, who follow the most rigorous ethical principles and the highest standards of professional excellence. All its partners and associates are fluent in at least one language other than Spanish, and many are admitted to practice in foreign jurisdictions. We also have a management team that is constantly innovating through solutions, best practices, and trends to attain optimal customer experience levels. As part of its transparency policies and institutional values, it has a corporate governance structure that allows the firm to implement the best international practices. These practices help guarantee compliance with internal and external rules and achieve the objectives outlined in its strategic plan.”
(A): What makes your organization outshine others?
(M): “Brigard Urrutia has integrated management and marketing teams into its structure, ensuring that these initiatives run efficiently and that client feedback is used to influence any adjustments the firm makes. This is just one example of Brigard Urrutia’s ability to enact change from its business research on any number of matters. An appetite to compete on an international scale motivates the firm to stay tuned to global trends, although its local teams beyond the capital, Bogotá, have mastered an understanding of how to cater their approach to local demand too.
In 2021, the firm bolstered its business strategy with the incorporation of a sustainability task force, through which it is researching ways to make the business more sustainable in line with ESG targets. Brigard Urrutia has made strides toward improving diversity too. It has teamed up with gender equality organization Equipares to help devise a strategy that will boost female representation within the firm. Around 60% of Brigard Urrutia’s workforce are currently women, while just above half of that figure are in leadership positions.”
"Be confident and assertive. Don't be afraid to speak up and put yourself forward for opportunities. Be prepared to work hard. The mining and O&G industries are demanding, but it's also very rewarding."
(A): How has your professional journey been? Can you tell our readers something about your professional and academic credentials?
(M): “I am a transnational attorney authorized to practice in Venezuela and Colombia. My practice focuses on corporate and commercial matters related to clients in the oil and gas and mining industries. As a people person, I aim to successfully resolve issues by influencing and building relationships with people across a variety of platforms. With experience as a board member of commercial and NGO organizations, I have strong skills that contribute to the development of legal and integrity strategies, policies, and programs.
I have worked extensively with oil and gas producers, service companies, mining prospectors, and producers in Venezuela and Colombia. I have advised companies on the negotiation and signature of O&G contracts and joint ventures for petrochemical developments, including the project finance of large infrastructures. I have extensive experience working in bidding processes, contract negotiation, and drafting contracts involving NOCs and IOCs in Colombia and Venezuela. I am the Head of the oil and gas and mining practices at Brigard & Urrutia. Before joining my current position, I worked for prestigious international law firms in Venezuela with civil and common law contents, including Hogan Lovells and I was senior legal counsel at a major oil and gas producer where I worked extensively with upstream gas licensees in Venezuela and in the downstream business related to projects for the production of oil by-products. I have experience in international investment arbitrations in the mining energy sector and have participated in major transactions involving the big players of the mining and O&G industry in Colombia.
I am also a Public Interpreter authorized in Venezuela and Colombia in the English and Spanish languages and a certified legal project manager.
ESG and particularly gender equality issues are areas of particular interest in my practice and volunteering activities, and because of that, I and a group of highly ranked professional female colleagues created Women in Mining Colombia and Mujeres Oil and Gas, initiatives aiming to foster gender equality in the mining-energy sector. I became a lawyer because I wanted to make a difference in the world by building a fair and more equitable world. I started working in the O&G sector because my mom is a petroleum engineer, and I had the opportunity to closely and first-hand perceive the benefits of an industry that contributes to the social and economic development of a country, and I just wanted to be part of that positive impact.”
(A): As you lead a large team, what challenges do you face and how do you handle them?
(M): “One of the biggest challenges is effective communication, especially in a multi-diverse environment of different nationalities. It can be difficult to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and understands their roles and responsibilities. To address this, I have studied and implemented some important communication tools and techniques, such as regular team meetings, clear instructions with confirmation of understanding, and the general practice of providing feedback.
Managing conflicts and different personalities within a team requires a leader to be skilled in conflict resolution and creating a positive and inclusive work environment, and for that, I foster open and honest communication, encourage collaboration, and urge my team to address any issues that arise promptly and fairly.”
(A): How do you usually spend your weekends?
(M): “I am a fan of cooking and gastronomy experiences in general. I enjoy cooking with my husband on weekends and trying new recipes and dishes. We love having people at home to share our gastronomic creations. I also co-lead a gastronomy club, which has taken me to know amazing restaurants and enjoy incredible foods not only in Bogota or Colombia but also worldwide.”
(A): What advice would you like to give to women aspiring to make a career in the industry?
(M): “Be confident and assertive. Don’t be afraid to speak up and put yourself forward for opportunities. Be prepared to work hard. The mining and O&G industries are demanding, but it’s also very rewarding. Be willing to learn. These industries are is constantly changing, so be prepared to keep your skills up-to-date. Build your network. Get to know people in the industry and make connections. Be a role model. Show other women that it’s possible to have a successful career in mining and O&G.”