ReCollector Spotlight: Sara Varela Redondo, Product Manager

Sara Varela Redondo has cooked up an exciting career working with people and technology to help the planet. Her love and respect for nature and the outdoors paired with her technological know-how have yielded the perfect recipe for success as a product manager at ReCollect.

Behind the scenes at ReCollect, Sara works between developers and users, “basically just checking that things work and that, you know, what we developed is what people … actually want.”

Like many folks, she begins her workday making sure everything is working properly and that customers are not having any issues with their tools. She is still relatively new to the ReCollect team, so she also spends some time collaborating with coworkers, learning the ropes, and getting up-to-speed on everything ReCollect and its parent company, Routeware, have to offer.

Sara holds a master’s degree in essentially the usability of technology, and a bachelor of engineering in telecommunications engineering, but she landed her role at ReCollect by chance, she says.

The Spain native had worked in biometrics and enjoyed working in technology, but when she moved to Canada, she left the industry and worked as a chef.

“I came here (to Whistler, British Columbia) 12 years ago just (to) do a ski season and just kind of, like, take a break, and it’s been 12 years,” Sara says. “I haven’t really moved; (I) just came here and was like, oh, this is awesome — I’m staying here!”

While in Whistler, she changed jobs a few times, but nothing seemed to be the perfect fit. One of her best friends is a recruiter, and told her he had found a job that had her “name on it.”

“I was like, no, no, no — I’m not ready,” she says. After looking into it, though, she thought, “oh my God — this actually sounds amazing. So, yeah, here we are.”

While she had always enjoyed working in technology, she says its purpose or the end result of its usage never quite aligned with her values. With ReCollect, “it’s the opposite. It’s like, oh my God, it’s actually something that I really agree with and I really want to work with, and I feel like my work is doing something for the environment, for our world, for our society,” she says.

“I’m super happy to be here.”

Spain, Sara says, doesn’t have a very good recycling culture. “There is a lot of, like, skepticism,” she says. “Here, I find it different…I live in the forest basically,” she says, “so you get a lot more conscious about that.”

She also is a very outdoorsy person, so recycling, reducing her waste as much as possible, and being more aware of what she is purchasing and what it is wrapped in comes more naturally to her.

“I guess it’s driven by the fact that I want to have this outside,” she says, gesturing to lush trees. “And the winters are still being winters and not having fires and everything. I want to continue playing outside in a place that is not full of garbage and is not too hot.”

At work, she enjoys seeing the many fruits of the company’s labors, tapping into the metrics of how many people are using ReCollect’s digital tools, and “how this little thing that we change makes people in certain areas recycle more and being more conscious about, you know, like where to dispose of certain things,” she says.

“It’s very encouraging to be trying to make the software better with that in mind.”

While she hasn’t worked with ReCollect for long, Sara feels like she has found her place. “The people that I’m working with…I feel like it’s my people,” she says. “Everybody kind of has the same mindset, and conversations are always great, and I’ve never worked somewhere where I have had that feeling with everyone, so it’s pretty nice.”

When she isn’t at work, she and her “chosen family” in Whistler enjoy skiing, mountain biking, canoeing — “whatever I can do outside.” She also enjoys crafting, making clothes and cooking — complicated, multi-step recipes and all.

She also enjoys rebuilding trails and bike trails, teaching others to knit and picking up litter.

“I guess it ties up with the, I don’t know, taking care of each other” and taking ownership for ourselves and the world around us, she says.

“If we all own each other, we all own where we live, and everybody pitches in a little bit, then everything will be so much better.”

5 Fast Facts about Sara

If you were hot sauce, what level would you rate yourself from a 1-10, and why?
Like, eight — something like that. I am very chatty, I’m really active. You need to be on my energy level to follow along. I always need to be doing something; I cannot sit still.

What gets you through a hard day? Coffee, and then the perspective of (at) the end of the day, having time to go get scared with something like skiing or like going biking or something that is really sketchy and just that erases anything that was hard, so just having an outlet outside…I guess collaboration as well, you have the right team. But, yeah, coffee and having some adrenaline later.

If you had superpowers, what would they be? Maybe not needing to sleep. Maybe just, like, a plug-in; (having the ability to gain a) super fast charge and just, like, plug in for five minutes and you have another, like, 24 hours. I’ll sleep when I’m dead {laughs}.

People on planet Earth should: Think about each other more. I think people go straight into their own thing and they don’t look back on the consequences of their actions. So, if we were a little bit more, like, kind to each other or think more about each other, everything will be better in general, like the environment, happiness — everything, I think.

The world could do without: weapons, guns, battleships, tanks — all of that would just disappear.✌️♻️