Balancing an International Life

January 8, 2023

In talking with Luciana Carvalho about why she loves CEL, a theme quickly emerges: balance. At CEL, there is a balance between the silly and the serious, between periods of fast-paced work and periods of calm, between theoretical deep dives and practical, hands-on work. There is also a balance of personalities, work styles, cultures, and backgrounds.

As CEL’s Building Energy Engineer, Luciana analyzes customers’ buildings and the data that emerges from them. Part of her job is to guide customers through CEL’s process. Currently, the company is working primarily with schools. This means that Luciana ensures we are using our tech to satisfy all building occupants, including students. She has loved finding creative ways to strike the balance between the needs of everyone who uses the school and the possibilities that CEL’s tech enables.

As an emerging company, CEL is now beginning to see the fruits of its hard work. We are just beginning field demonstrations, and results from our pilot sites have been positive and highly encouraging. Luciana says that this is a particularly exciting time to join CEL because we have the unique opportunity to see the early results of our work. She says, “It’s not every day you can see these kinds of results in this field. We have a queue of about 50 schools in the pipeline. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of interesting results from them.”

When asked how she would describe CEL’s culture, Luciana responded with one word: humane. She elaborated, “We don’t need to be perfect, because humans are not perfect.” Returning to the idea of balance, she explains, “There is a limit for mistakes, of course, but mistakes are not seen as something negative because we learn from them. We are working in a startup. We are creating something new, so we don't know everything. So we will make mistakes and we are allowed to make mistakes.”

One of Luciana’s favorite perks at CEL is the flexibility. As a Brazilian living in Italy and working with a US-based company, flexibility is important to her ability to travel, see her family, and work effectively. She can work with the same ease from anywhere in the world. When she is home in Italy, the day-to-day allows for regular working hours. The occasional late meeting doesn’t bother her because she loves the work so much. CEL’s staff has been intentional about discussing how each person prefers to communicate and when. Because the entire team is remote, everyone is respectful of time zones, work hours, and individual preferences. The entire team balances their own needs with the needs of their teammates.

When asked why she loves her work, Luciana responds, “I could mention many reasons I love this work. One of them is the leadership because [CEO Tanya] has this ability to see the big picture and see the needs of the customers and of CEL, and we get to communicate in a very respectful and clear way and so we don’t get so exhausted and so overwhelmed.”

Luciana’s time at CEL has given her the opportunity to grow her technical, time management, and communication skills. Just as importantly, it has given her the ability to find balance in a life spread across multiple continents, multiple types of work, and multiple passions.

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