Employee spotlight: Cathy’s story

A woman smiles in front of a painted mural of many colorful faces
Cathy sitting in front of a colorful mural on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo

Corporate buzzkill

But first, like many of us, she got her first job out of college at a stuffy company — and had a major existential crisis. Remaining in Boston after graduating from MIT with her bachelor of science in Management Science in 2010, Cathy became an IT Project Manager at Philips Healthcare, a large, well-known corporate company that assigned her dispassionate, ‘soul sucking’ work. Cathy didn’t see her young, adventurous, and open-minded attitude reflected in the people around her, and was seeking a change.

Cathy standing on the monument marking the center of South America, located in mid-west Brazil

Discovering-and falling in love with-Brazil

Cathy instantly fell in love with Brazil. Armed with two weeks of Portuguese classes under her belt (not nearly enough, anyone would attest!) and her sense of adventure, Cathy spent four amazing weeks volunteering at a local school and making new friends with the locals — with a little partying on the beach, of course! The Brazilian people had such a love of life that Cathy had never experienced before, but spoke to her heart after her corporate time with Philips.

A view of the ocean and a beach and a cup of purple dessert with a spoon in it.
Açaí on the beach in Rio — a daily occurrence on Cathy’s first trip
Cathy (middle) and her two Brazilian roommates
Some of Cathy’s street performer friends playing music
Two of Cathy’s street musician friends

Banking the unbanked

After two years in Brazil, Cathy decided to move back to Boston in 2015 — but the Brazilian spirit and people she met along the way never left her heart. That was why when a job opening at Airfox came onto her radar in 2018, it seemed like the perfect fit: it brought together her love of Brazil and Boston, leveraged her knowledge of Portuguese, and filled a need for banking options she witnessed firsthand during her time abroad. Although the banQi project was in its infancy at the time, she was struck by the passion of the small Airfox team and their visionary leader, Victor Santos. This was a far cry from the stiff, corporate setting where Cathy had kicked off her career, which solidified that Airfox was where she was meant to be.

A ticket and passport held in hand
Cathy’s plane ticket in hand on her way home to Boston from Brazil



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Accelerate financial inclusion in emerging markets using technology built with trust and inclusion. www.airfox.com