It is clear from the first time that you meet Paula Quiero that she has a passionate love for all that life has to offer and an energy that is as infectious as her smile.
The former Compliance Officer for the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture is now Compliance and Sustainability Manager at SAFE.
“I came to South Africa to support the Chilean team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and I liked it so much I decided to stay”, says Paula. And it’s not too surprising that she decided to settle in Cape Town. The “mother city,” she asserts has a lot in common with her home city of Vina del Mar-tyje (Vineyard of the Sea”) locally referred to as La Ciudad Jardín (“The Garden City”).
Paula qualified as a biologist and Agricultural engineer at the Pontificia Catholic University of Valparaiso before working at the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture as Compliance Chief Officer of Livestock and Agriculture.
More recently Paula was employed by a global company that specialises in developing solutions to maintain the shelf life of fresh fruit. And it is her experience in this field that she brings to SAFE, where sustaining the freshness of fruit is critical to the company’s international sales success.
Paula’s experience as a Lecturer in Biotechnology as applied to post-harvest fruit has also been helpful in her professional relationships with her colleagues at SAFE.
As sustainability Manager at SAFE, Paula evaluates production and quality processes working alongside SAFE farm managers, quality control inspectors and senior staff. “We work together to make sure that SAFE consistently delivers on its promise to deliver high-quality fresh fruit to our overseas markets.
“I also have to make sure that we comply with all the international certification, which is so important to our sales success.”
Paula says she enjoys the culture at SAFE which, in her words, has a very “human” approach to leadership.
“There are a lot of challenges to meet at SAFE,” she says, “particularly as global competition for our markets increases. But I am really enjoying being able to contribute what I can to help the company achieve its goals.”
While she is happy where she is, Paula’s long term goal is to continue to travel the world. She will return home when she is in her 60’s she says to live out her senior years, “at home.”
In the meantime, Paula, her husband Luis and their children Camila (21) and Agustin (16) are more than happy to enjoy the lifestyle that Cape Town has to offer the family.
“Having the opportunity to work outside of my country has been one of the most enriching experiences of my professional life especially in my time in Africa,” says Paula. “This continent has so much potential and it’s very exciting to be here contributing what I can.”
“To me, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I love living here. The outdoor life allows me to have quality time with my family in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”