Carmen is one of our longest-standing staff members, serving Frank Salt for over 2 decades, and has literally grown up in the company. Being the IT Manager, her sweet surprise is that she loves baking like Christmas cakes and biscuits for her dear friends and family. Do we have a budding Nigella here? It could well be! She prides herself in doing things out of love for the people around her, namely her pastries, and whilst she does not not have any plans to turn it into an enterprise, her creativity, dedication, and hard work shines through, just like her role as the IT Manager for the Frank Salt Group.
Direct and to the point, Carmen is someone that is fiercely loyal and will defend those that she trusts and loves to the bitter end, and she has a passion for animals. Her adventurous side also comes through when observing how she has tackled new challenges in the world; of not only IT, but zooming downhill on a zip line with her son during one of their adventurous family vacations, among other special memories.
Creative, hardworking, and kind, she’s the one you want on your side when you are facing a problem of any kind, IT or otherwise, we can truly say “Carmen is your Number 1 choice!” This is a lady who doesn’t waste time, and will go to all ends to get things done. We sat down with her to find out what she is all about:
“a very interesting job, full of challanges, deadlines but also achievements!"
Who is Carmen in 100 words?
I’m a very energetic person who looks at life very positively. I joined FSRE almost 22 years ago as a secretary at the St. Julian’s office. From there I had the opportunity to continue with my studies and I obtained a diploma in Information Systems. In 2001, I was given the opportunity to set up the IT department within the company which I embraced wholeheartedly. It required a lot of hard work and dedication servicing all the offices and coping with the on-going expansion of the company. I’ve been involved in many of the changes IT brought to the company: new networks in all offices, a software database, an email system and even refurbishing some of the offices! In 2017, I was appointed as the IT Manager for the Group. I like being involved in most of the activities organised by the company and I was elected as “Employees Representative” in 2021 and also served in the “Let’s Go Environmental” committee for some time.
What can you tell us about your background and your family?
I come from Lija and have been living there since 2001. I’m married to Patrick and mother to a young lad named Benjamin who is 15 years old. We fell in love with this village and will find it very hard to ever move out of the locality.
Tell us some cool facts about any hobbies or other stuff you enjoy doing in your free time?
In 2019, we decided to expand our family and we got our 1st female Golden Retriever called Nala. She is a very intelligent dog and now she is part of our family. We love going out for walks with her or for picnics in the countryside, especially in autumn and spring. I am passionate about interior design and baking cakes and sweets. I love decorating birthday cakes and my speciality is Christmas cakes and their decorations!
As described prior, the changes and improvements that IT brings constantly keeps me busy… this is what I enjoy most. I cannot see myself doing repetitive work all the time.
Share some details of your academic achievements and work experience with us!
I studied at a church school in Malta during my primary education and moved to the Junior Lyceum of Mriehel for secondary education. After obtaining my O levels, I attended the Junior College in Msida where I pursued studies in art subjects. This was before the new era of computers rapidly increased and became a very important part in our lives, something which piqued my interest. Before joining FSRE, I also worked in the property sector hence my interest and enthusiasm for the property market. The on-going changes and improvements that IT undergoes keep me busy with many projects while servicing all of Frank Salt Real Estate’s different departments.
What attracted you to join the Frank Salt team?
The love for property! Frank Salt Real Estate was already an established company and although the team comprised of only 40 people at the time, the company already had 6 offices in and around prime locations in Malta and Gozo. When I was still part of the sales office at Saint Julian’s, being part of an enthusiastic team was just great! Feeling the beat when they are negotiating and closing on a property deal is another story altogether!
How did you end up in IT?
I have to thank Mr Lupi who was the Managing Director of the company at the time: he saw I had a keen interest in the field. He believed in me and gave me the opportunity to pursue my interest in IT and computers. It was a great pleasure to work closely with him and having had him as a great mentor for many years meant the world to me.
If you could sit down and share a meal with anyone, who would it be and why?
Mr Frank Salt, very fine gentleman.
Tell us about any obsessions you have!
I need my surroundings clean and cannot stay barefooted….
What would you do if had enough money and did not need to work?
I will travel for a while and would love to help people in need.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
Amongst your friends, what are you best known for?
My delicious sweets and desserts…
What is the silliest of your fears? Why?
One of my fears is heights. I love going on a zip-line with my son, however I do not look down otherwise I feel sick! I had the opportunity to go sky diving but had to refuse because of this fear.
Is there anything you hate doing and if so, why?
I hate wasting my time. One should always find something useful to do whether you are at work or home.
Any stories or incidents you would like to share that happened at work and that you will never forget?
So many stories to recount here! I have a habit of leaving my office key in the lock of the door and it was not the first time that I got locked inside… but I was in the IT room and my boss decided to pull a prank on me and they locked me in. The door was still new and I thought that it locked by itself!
What advice will you give to someone who wants to start a career in IT?
It is a very interesting job, full of challenges, deadlines but also achievements!
What was the last gift you gave someone?
A pair of shoes as a birthday present to my niece.
Would you relive your days in high school if you could?
Yes, I had a lovely time at high school, but will choose different paths from the ones I took at the time.
Name two things in life that are the most important to you
Nala, our dog, as we love her to bits. She became our baby that will never grow up! Sports is also very important to me and would like to involve myself more, going for training on a regular basis.
What do you think of AI?
AI attempts to replicate or simulate human intelligence as machines. AI requires specialised hardware and software for writing and training machine to learn algorithms. Three important skills that AI programming focuses on are learning, reasoning and self-correction. The future for predicting budgets is with AI since it analyses the data for patterns and relationships and astonishingly correct predictions can be made this way.
What are the ingredients for a good party?
Great friends, good food and wine!
Can you get along without your mobile phone for a weekend and elaborate whatever the answer is?
It is difficult when you have responsibilities towards others, whether it’s work-related or family.
Can you cook and if so, what?
Yes, I love cooking any type of food. I love to cook delicious and scrumptious dishes for my family and also love to entertain close friends for lunch or dinner.
You are an animal lover…what are your thoughts on animal rights as sentient beings?
Animals have feelings both negative such as frustration, pain and fear while they experience positive feelings such as comfort, enjoyment and contentment. When you get a pet one has to be ready for sacrifices. Pets are not objects: they are like human beings with feelings. When they are surrounded by people who show them love and respect one can see and experience their joy.
Choose 2 famous people, past or present you would like to spend time with and tell us why?
Sandra Bullock and Halle Barry as I like their style and I follow their acting careers.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back in time to when I was still a girl and spend a day with my mum. She passed away 12 years ago and I sorely miss her.
Is there a truly exotic food you would like to try?
Some interesting facts about Carmen we’d like to share
Morning person or a night owl: Morning
June, the month my son was born.
Favourite all-time movie or book:
The Holiday – not only is the story good but the music is fantastic.
Favourite season: Summer/Spring
Idea of a night out:
A nice dinner in good company
Name one thing that you regret not having done:
Learn how to ride a bicycle. It’s never too late!