1. Who have you worked with that has inspired you the most in your career, and how?
My tutor in the R&D centre on “fuel cells” in Germany. She had been one of the very few female scientists at the centre for more than 25 years and she really wanted to change that situation.
She saw the potential in me after my graduation from university and gave me the opportunity to work there. She taught me how important it is that women support each other in order to achieve a greater presence in the so-called STEM careers.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I gave up my 18-year long professional career and decided to get into politics. I perfectly remember the day I told my boss and my team that I was going to run for election.
No one took it seriously, mainly because the party I decided to join was unknown to the public. But I firmly believed in their political project and finally got a seat at Madrid’s regional assembly.
I am one of those people who think that often you have to take risks in order to achieve things in life.
3. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
It was during my time as a regional MP that I realised how ephemeral politics and power are. It is very hard to climb up the ladder and, yet, so easy to fall down.
I have seen great leaders give up, but I have learned how important it is to be able to show dignity, also in the most di‑ cult times. Humility and honesty must be the values that guide our journey.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
Even though finding free time can be a challenge, I try to make the most out of it. I love spending time with my kids and cooking Japanese food over a glass of good Spanish wine.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
Siddharta, by Herman Hesse. It’s a short book, but very inspiring. It combines poetry and philosophy. It really helped me understand how we can improve ourselves and adapt to new circumstances as we go through the different stages of life.