Tanya V. Estrada Chapa
Ever since Tanya V. Estrada Chapa was a child, she has been curious about the way things work. Tanya recalls being interested in technology at school and being fascinated by all the new things to explore at the supermarket and retail stores. Now Tanya is the Relationship Models Discipline Leader at BBVA México, making it clear that her passion for technology and innovation thrived long after her school years.
Initially, Tanya wanted to pursue mechatronics engineering, as she enjoyed working on projects with her Dad, who is also an engineer. When it came time to choose, Tanya decided to study industrial design at Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México (Ibero). “It had the best of both worlds — creativity… and [a chance] to make ideas tangible,” says Tanya.
After graduating from university, Tanya began working at the retail company Liverpool as a store planning manager. In this role, she managed architectural projects for different brands throughout the stores. Despite her degree in industrial design, however, Tanya jokes that she was never good at drawing. Upon realizing that she was more interested in the strategic side of design, Tanya returned to Ibero to pursue a Masters of Innovation and Strategic Design. “I think that was the moment when my career really turned around and I decided to go for innovation and strategy,” she says.
Fortified by her master’s degree, Tanya was then hired at the innovation consultancy firm INSITUM (now Fjord part of Accenture Song), one of the few firms in México that worked on strategic design and innovation. In the four years Tanya spent there, she progressed from consultant to project leader to business account manager, where she worked on innovation for consumer goods.
While working for INSITUM, she says that “design thinking had a big boom and everyone here in México wanted to do things about design thinking.” It was also then that Benjamin Real, one of Tanya’s colleagues, began working as the Head of UX and Design at BBVA and invited her to join the team as a service designer. When Tanya joined BBVA, the company was just beginning to grow their design team, which is now recognized as one of the best and biggest in Latin America, with approx. 280 designers, consisting of visual, UX, content, and service designers.
Tanya started working in BBVA’s retail banking area, marking her first experience with technological developments. At this time, BBVA was focused on training its C-level to understand design thinking and the importance of a customer-centric culture. Tanya played a critical role in conducting workshops and training sessions for C-level executives, as well as helping the scrum teams with research, understanding customer needs and reprioritizing development funnels to ensure they were providing customer value. Two years later, Tanya was promoted to a Program Manager position within retail development, where she worked on strategic analysis for all projects to determine where to direct investment.
Last year, Tanya was promoted to her current position as Relationship Models Discipline Leader. She is now responsible for disciplining physical and digital channels and models in retail banking, as well as developing the strategy behind BBVA’s retail banking channels. “That’s where AI comes in,” Tanya says. BBVA deployed Amelia Conversational AI, renamed Blue, as a digital customer service agent to enable DIY service. As the stakeholder for all things related to Blue, Tanya says her team is working on expanding the digital agent’s functions and capabilities. They are also working on leveraging Amelia in a SaaS model. “I think that we will be one of the first banks that will do it here in México,” she states.
Reflecting on her years of experience in strategic design and design research, Tanya says she most enjoys being able to improve people’s daily lives with new products and services. That is why, when it comes to her work, Tanya is committed to leading with the customer perspective, versus product. In fact, design research enables her to explore new possibilities and solutions that address what customers actually need, not just what they want. “I’m really sure that we can do bigger things if we really get to know the people that use the things that we create,” she says. Tanya also believes there are countless opportunities for AI to address customer needs.
Tanya’s passion for service design extends beyond her day-to-day work, as well. Along with two other women, Tanya co-founded a training company in 2017 called Service Design México, which worked with different designers and non-designers to educate and train on service design. In 2019, the company hosted México’s first ever service design conference, called Frontstage. The conference brought together nearly 8 generations of students from various design areas to discuss key service design principles, such as how to build a customer journey and blueprints.
One of the company’s co-founders, Nora Tejeda, is also one of Tanya’s treasured colleagues at BBVA. While not officially Tanya’s mentor, she says, “both of us are really inspired by being in these roles... She’s someone that I really look forward to talking to.” Tanya says that whenever she is faced with a big problem, she turns to Nora for help. Tanya also expresses gratitude to the colleague who helped her land her first role at BBVA, saying “he believed in me, and I think that he believed in me more than I believed in myself, actually.” Finally, Tanya says she learned many invaluable lessons from her former boss and mentor at BBVA, Enrique Fernandez. He showed her the importance of developing strong professional relationships, helped her voice her ideas at work and provided guidance on presenting to the C-suite.
Tanya has gained invaluable advice and support from colleagues and mentors throughout her career. Now Tanya wants to share her insight with girls and women who are pursuing careers in STEM. “Never stop learning,” says Tanya. For example, Tanya reads financial news about México every morning, now that she works for a bank. “You never know what you’re going to encounter in your life, when you have a big opportunity in front of you, you ‘fake it until you make it’… Learning is something that is going to take you from faking it to really making it.”
Tanya also reflects on how women often think they can’t achieve their goals. For this reason, she highlights the importance of making opportunities for one another and lifting each other up. “If there is a chance that you can help others, you have to do it – starting by helping other women. That’s why I decided to get my team to be women mostly,” Tanya says. “We as women have to empower more women.”