From Matosinhos, next to Porto airport and facing the Atlantic Ocean, where it is headquartered, Finerge has been asserting itself as one of the leading companies in the Iberian energy sector. It is the second company in wind energy generation in Portugal, and its recent operations have taken it outside the Portuguese borders to start managing several solar plants in the south of Spain. But beyond all that, it is a company committed to the future, and one of the fastest-growing in recent times. We contacted the company that does not stop in its efforts to renew the energy future to have a conversation with the person in charge of the company´s legal area: Joana Martins Mendes.
A company for the future
Although her professional background is truly impressive, Joana considers herself first and foremost a mother. That´s the way she tells us, spontaneously, as soon as we start chatting with her, “I am a joyful hard-working mother of three. I love being a mom! It is my toughest and most challenging project, and I believe it is one always worth investing in, no matter what.” Far from being a whim, or a seemingly kind commentary, the fact that Joana lives her motherhood as her greatest challenge fits perfectly into her work within an organisation like Finerge, which she has come to after a remarkable career working for some of the largest companies in Portugal, until she joined Finerge, a company for the future, two years ago. “I had the fortune to have always worked in contemporary and stimulating business areas: Telecommunications and Energy. Following that inspiring and modern route, the Renewables business is one that I truly identify with. Finerge aims to contribute to Portugal´s sustainable development and its positive trade balance while striving to ensure universal access to reliable, clean, modern, and affordable energy by promoting sustainable economic growth and fair energy transition. It is an impressive and innovative business area – caring for our future as human beings, which is full of challenges and constantly changing. That is what charmed me into moving to this company and contribute to its ambitious and stimulating growth plans. My commitment to Finerge goals strengthened when I was invited to the position of head of Corporate Affairs – accumulating responsibilities in the areas of Legal & Regulatory, Human Resources & Support Services, Quality, Safety, Environment & Sustainability, and Information Technology. This has genuinely been a truly valuable project to jump into, especially with the support of committed managers and colleagues to help along the way to reach our goals. In a nutshell, my journey at Finerge has been a very stimulating and powerful experience.”
Joana is not only enthusiastic about her motherhood and her family, but also about the position of a lawyer within a business organisation, far from the traditional idea of a litigation lawyer. “I never felt the call of duty to be a lawyer or litigate in court, as many do. So, when time came to decide my future, I was a bit unmatured (with a little wise help from my field of existence, to everything that is related to the human, since that is the true meaning of the term, seems to have been realised in his day-to-day work, where she ends up approaching an endless number of Law practice areas. “Public Law and Infrastructures are certainly relevant areas in the energy business and increasingly so for us at Finerge. In fact, and generally speaking for in-house lawyers, we internally manage a much wider range of topics covering almost all areas of Law. Notwithstanding, my main legal areas of practice at Finerge have always been Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and Regulatory.” The routines must also take into account external investors, who are decisive in the company’s development plan, one of the most active in recent times within the country’s economy, and who must be in constant contact with other offices, as is the case with one of the company’s main investors. “First State Investments is a very close and collaborative shareholder, and we work in a very coordinated through autonomous way, where mutual trust and sharing are strongly valued.”
Interview by antonio jiménez
To read the interview in full please download issue N.98 here