Jana Gutierrez Chvalkovská (January 2018)

Jana Gutierrez Chvalkovská comes from Prague and finished her studies at the IES in 2008. She is currently working for the Red Hat as HR Manager for the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Currently, she lives in Brno.

In addition to her PhDr. from the IES, Jana achieved the Master´s degree from the Faculty of Law at Charles University. She graduated in 2010. During her studies, she passed several exchange stays: in Austria at the University of Linz, , in the USA at the University of Richmond, and at the University of Lima in Peru. During her studies she began to gain working experience at EEIP, she worked there for nearly 9 years. At the same time she worked for almost three years as a consultant at the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV). From 2010 she was the Deputy Chairman Counsel of the International Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic. She stayed there, just like in EEIP, until 2014, when she was appointed HR director at Vítkovice Machinery Group. Here, she also became the member of the board of directors of various companies in the Group. Jana is also the founder of zIndex.cz and was a co-owner of Datlab s.r.o. From 2016 he works for Red Hat as HR Director for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

In her free time, Jana likes traveling, especially to Latin America, painting and drawing. She also likes Latin American and Asian cuisine. She is married, her husband comes from Peru.


 Jana, you studied a combination of two quite challenging degrees. Aside from your IES degree, you also have a law degree from Charles University. Did these two schools complement each other? Why did you choose this combination? In hindsight, would you choose the same path now?

Honestly, when I finished high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I submitted several applications. And because I was accepted everywhere, I considered trying two schools and deciding later. I wanted to go to IES because I liked the entrance exams, and law courses complemented my IES schedule. During the first year, I discovered that due to the different rhythms of the two schools I was able to study both, so I decided to give them both a chance. IES was heart and soul for me. Because it has a smaller number of students, it had a family atmosphere and I met a lot of very intelligent people, which motivated me and gave me energy. On the other hand, law seemed more practical and easier to study. So, in a way, law school was my “insurance policy” in case I would not be able to finish IES. If I were to decide now, maybe I would also consider a technical school — but overall I am satisfied with my choice. In my professional life, I use what I have learned in both degrees.

You have been studying in the USA, Austria, and Peru. Which country influenced you the most and why?

I would say the most influential was my study stay in Peru, not only because I eventually married my classmate from the Universidad de Lima, but also because the stay in Lima was a great experience thanks to the different cultural environment and customs. The business spirit of Peruvians has inspired me a lot. While here in the Czech Republic most graduates want to become employees after school, in Peru most of them want to start a business and be an entrepreneur—which you see literally on every corner. People in Peru are not afraid to risk when they see a good opportunity.

You are currently working at Red Hat’s HR department, which is a relatively nonstandard career for an IES graduate. What was your path to HR?

During the course of my studies, I started to work as a consultant at Prof. Mejstřík’s company. My specialization was the assessment of the impact of regulations, but since it was a small company we did a lot of diverse projects including procedural and personnel audits in enterprises. The last project I did as a consultant was an audit of VÍTKOVICE Group in Ostrava. After finishing, the group owner offered me a position if I wanted to become an HR manager – an offer which I immediately took and spent two years at this position. Initially, there was a lot of HR stuff I had to learn. I was in charge of a staff agenda of about 30 companies in a group that had more than 8,000 employees at that time. However, thanks to my IES studies and practice as a consultant, I knew how to learn very quickly. After two years in VÍTKOVICE, it was obvious that the group was heading into insolvency. But management did not miss any crisis management — which was the impetus for me to rethink and move on. Although I was looking for work in Prague as a native Praguer, the most interesting offer came from Brno where I now work in Red Hat's IT as Senior HR Manager for Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The work is interesting because it is in HR, but it is different HR than in Ostrava. While at VÍTKOVICE my work was a lot about compliance, cost management, and staff reductions. At Red Hat I have more time to develop talent, work on the expansion of the organization as such, and individual work with managers in my region.

Before you started to work in HR, you had also worked as a consultant at NERV, as well as some other consulting positions. How would you evaluate this period? What was the most valuable experience you took from it?

I think the job of a consultant is great training for any position in any sector. As a consultant, I learned to deal with people, to learn quickly, to quickly identify client's problem and find a solution, usually in situations where only limited data were available and a very tough deadline was set to complete the project. So, as experience consulting was great, but I cannot imagine doing this work all my life. I am glad to move from giving advice to the role of someone who actually implements the measures. And gets to see the results.

What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I like travelling — the more exotic country, the better. I love science fiction and sometimes I like painting, which is such a creative therapy for me.

Your husband is a Peruvian and you live in Brno, Czech Republic. Do you think that you would move to his native country again? Can you imagine that you would live there?

We are considering moving to Peru over a longer period of time (5–10 years). I can imagine living there. It is a rapidly growing country with a high demand for highly qualified expats. So, if a suitable opportunity appears in the future, I would certainly grab it.







June 2023


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