Alumni of the Week: Oriana Fuentes ’12

Oriana Fuentes headshot

I’m excited to be updating this alumni profile, especially since I wrote the last one almost six years ago and a lot has changed. I graduated from Syracuse University in 2012, majoring in finance from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, as well as earning a minor at the School of Information Studies. I was also an Orange Value Fund student, part of the Honors Program and was involved in several extracurricular activities.

After graduation, I moved to New York City and started my career at J.P. Morgan, where I had a few different roles, including trading, investment banking and commercial banking. I ultimately left the bank in 2016 to attend Columbia University for a master’s degree in computer science with a concentration in machine learning. A degree in computer science is really versatile. From there you go can into careers such as software engineering, quantitative finance, data science or even computational genomics. At the time, I felt I wasn’t building equity in my time at a big company and started considering joining a small startup or founding my own.

Emptor was born in 2016. I’m the chief operating officer and one of the co-founders. As of today, March 2021, we’re a 48 person team and expect to grow to close to 100 team members in a year. Emptor builds software for automated background checks and digital diligence in Latin America, serving clients like Uber and Didi in eight countries. At Emptor, I’m directly responsible for legal, finance, investor relations, management and company strategy. I’m also heavily involved in the talent and culture, sales, product and project management functions. The group heads for each of those teams report to me and we work together to set goals and strategy. My role is constantly changing as our company grows and we enter new markets, pursue clients and bring on new talent. Leading Emptor has been a huge learning experience, my role, in particular, is so fluid and open-ended that I am still as engaged and excited after four years as I was on the first day. I have gained new skills in finance and corporate matters as well in sales, business development, product roadmaps, engineering infrastructure, creating culture, agile methodologies and many other fields that I didn’t have experience in.

With Emptor not only did we set out to solve safety challenges in Latin America, but we also are constantly working towards building a better place to work. Emptor began as a fully-remote company. Today we have team members in 10 countries. We have a strong learning culture that strives for constant improvement and also balances work and life. We have a wellness program and benefits such as a team nutritionist, a therapist and a coach. Creating culture has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far. We spend a significant portion of our lifetimes working, and we should spend that time learning with people we enjoy and feeling included and comfortable being ourselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of how some companies treat and support their people. I hope this spurs change in the way companies to retain and grow their talent and what employees also demand of their employers.

I’m looking forward to Emptor’s future and the new challenges and lessons that a growing company will bring. Our amazing team has made the experience fun and enriching. I hope we continue to attract creative, hardworking and unique individuals to help us innovate and keep being an amazing place to work.

Oriana Fuentes
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