Carolina Collantes, Partner, Baraona Abogados
How long have you been working for your current company?
Since March 2005.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
In 1998 I started as an attorney of the tax legal department at Arthur Andersen-Langton Clarke Firm. At 2000 I formed part as a lawyer of the tax legal department of Ernst and Young Chile. In 2005 I joined as a senior associate lawyer of the legal-tax area of BaraonaMarré Law firm, in which I am currently partner.
In parallel, in an academic field, I teach undergraduate and graduate classes at Law School College of Universidad de Chile- Tax Law and Company Taxation and Accounting - and also I am the academic coordinator of the Tax Law Magister in the same school. Besides, I am a graduate class teacher in Law School of Adolfo Ibáñez University.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
The corporate reorganizations in which I have participated have meant for the client important tax optimizations.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
As a partner, the main challenge has been to balance the time that I give to my costumers, which requires high standards, with a proper management of administrative and organizational aspects to be a contribution to the firm.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
I am grateful for life, since my career has not implied personal sacrifices. I have a wonderful family and friends, which have been an unconditional support that has allowed me to grow professionally.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
My tax law professor, Juan Manuel Baraona, who inspired me to follow the tax area, while I was still studying in college. Now a days we are partners.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
All integration initiatives are positive, since they allow the enrichment of the participants. Therefore, I support the existence of these initiatives and I consider that they are a contribution to the professional and personal development of its participants.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
More than a disadvantage, being a young woman has become an interesting challenge, considering that, you earn the trust of peers and customers demonstrating your skills and competencies. They test you, they place obstacles, and when you overcome them, you legitimate yourself and generate a deep trust relationship.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
The most important changes experienced by women in recent years, aim to a greater role and leadership in different spheres of life, not only in regards to the legal industry. Generally, these succesful experiences show the professionalism and commitment that characterizes us. For this reason, we have gained credibility and positioning in a world that has been traditionally dominated by men, but that today is open to generate more opportunities for integration.