“Telefónica has made it possible to promote progress in society through technology and digitalisation”, Elena Gil

Meet Elena Gil, Business Director of Artificial Intelligence & Big Data at Telefonica Tech. Discover her professional career.

Meet Elena Gil, Business Director of Artificial Intelligence & Big Data at Telefonica Tech.
Elena Gil

Elena Gil Lizasoain

Reading time: 4 min

How long have you been with Telefónica and what is your assessment of your time here? 

I joined Telefónica in Miami in 2000, a special year at the turn of the millennium and at the height of the dotcom bubble boom. At that time I never imagined that I would stay more than 20 years in the same company. At Telefónica I have developed professionally and personally. It has allowed me to live in 3 different countries (USA, Spain and Brazil), to get to know Latin America in depth and to acquire a transversal vision of the business, having worked in the Corporate, SME and Residential segments. Likewise, in the last ten years, I have witnessed from a privileged position the transformative potential of digital technologies for companies: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Blockchain. What more could you ask for? 

Is there a project at Telefónica that you are particularly proud or satisfied with? 

One of the projects I am most proud of is the launch of LUCA, Telefonica’s data unit for the enterprise segment, now integrated into Telefonica Tech. Rarely do you have the opportunity to create a business from scratch in a subject as innovative, at that time, as Big Data. I am very grateful to have been CEO of LUCA, defining its strategy, selecting the team, developing new services, acquiring and integrating a company like Synergic Partners and positioning Telefonica in the Big Data business. In addition, we created a very special team culture that we continue to maintain. 

What do you expect from Telefónica in the near future? 

The Centennial celebration next year is reviving a sense of pride of belonging, of feeling privileged to be part of Telefonica. It is an opportunity to recognise and honour the legacy of many people. To be aware of Telefónica’s history of permanent transformation, of courageous decisions that have led us to become a multinational company admired around the world. Moreover, it is happening at a special time, in a complex context and with many unknowns. The Centenary will allow us to celebrate the past in order to gain momentum and continue building the future. 

What do you think Telefónica has contributed since its birth? 

Telefónica’s impact on society goes beyond its financial results, its contribution to GDP, the creation of jobs and its contribution to taxes in the countries where it operates. It is a company with a purpose, with a clear mission, which has enabled it to promote the economic and social progress of society through technology and digitalisation. It is a key company in the competitiveness and well-being of the citizens of all the countries in which it operates.  

Where do you see Telefónica in the long-term future? 

It is very difficult to predict what will happen, not in 100 years but even in 10 years, in a sector as dynamic and in permanent transformation as the Telco. What I believe will remain in the future is Telefonica’s critical role in connecting people and businesses in our society. I believe Telefonica will continue to evolve from being a “telco” to a “techco” by leveraging managed services. The technology and business models will evolve to do so in a sustainable way, but I believe the essence will remain. 

Could you live without a mobile phone? 

I imagine I could survive without a mobile phone, but I would find it hard to adapt because of the dependence we have today for communication, work, shopping and entertainment. Of course, I recognise that it is addictive and there is nothing positive about the unrestrained and uncontrolled use of smartphones. But it is difficult to imagine life without the mobile phone because it has become an extension of people, it is present and facilitates many of the tasks we perform throughout the day. Possibly, not having a mobile phone forces us more to connect with others in a more personal, face-to-face way, but we should stop using them all at the same time … otherwise we would be isolated from society. 

Help us solve one of humanity’s great enigmas: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion? 

Indeed, one of the great debates at least in Spain… I have read that even the CIS has included this question in a recent survey. Personally, like most Spaniards, I prefer the potato omelette with onion, I declare myself a “concebollista”. However, for me, what is really important is that the omelette is very juicy, with the potatoes well poached and lightly browned. I don’t despise an omelette without onions as long as it’s nice and juicy. 

Nominate another colleague to appear in this section 

I am going to nominate two fantastic professionals who work in different geographies of the group: Carolina Navarrete, B2B Marketing Manager at Hispam and Glyn Povah, head of the SmartDigits service in the UK. 

In #Thespanishomelettething tag section we interview Telefónica’s employees on a variety of topics, while trying to solve one of humanity’s greatest dilemmas.

The Spanish omelette ranking

63%

WithOnionists

20%

WithoutOnionists

17%

OtherOnionists

Get into the ranking! We want to know about you – tell us your story!
* This interview is aimed at Telefónica’s employees


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