Home: London, UK. Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela. Profession: Investor and marketing visionary. Organization: Hawkers Sunglasses. Title: President. Alma mater: Suffolk University. Languages spoken: English and Spanish.
Current project: Serving as president of Hawkers Sunglasses, a position I’ve held since 2016. Recent professional development: Expanding Hawkers into new markets in multiple countries and continents; forming partnerships with other brands of clothing, jewelry and shoes; developing more environmentally friendly sunglasses without sacrificing fashion. Latest contribution to others: My businesses have financed the construction of a new wing for the Carmen Salles School in Ciudad Bolívar [Venezuela] and we also support various initiatives for the Universidad Simón Bolívar. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Leading Hawkers on a €50 million financing round in early 2016.
Personality profile: Annoying and tedious until I see things done. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Driven. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Getting closely involved in the projects that interest me by investing and serving in top leadership positions. What is your greatest joy? Contributing toward the greater good. What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Recently bought a pair of Allbirds trainers — comfortable, soft shoes lined with wool. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? A good book.
What was your first paying job? Working for a global petroleum producer and trader. What book have you repeatedly read? Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness, by Steve Magness. What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Smart phones — I do everything through them. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Leading Hawkers to become the international multimillion-dollar company it is today. The biggest thing I learned from this experience is to never give up.
What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?
Creating high-performance work teams.
What message do you want to send out into the world? Always look forward. Never consider stopping or quitting. What widely held belief do you reject? That the workweek should stop on Friday. I’m constantly working, so there is no weekend or holiday for me. What mega-trend most excites you? The use of data as a way to achieve a competitive edge.
As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be an investor. My first investment was in Citibank when I was 17, which taught me some of the most fundamental lessons of my career. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? Old photos and photo albums. What advice would you give your younger self? Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. Also, learn as many languages as possible. What change have you made in business or your personal life that you wish you had made sooner? I would insist on greater transparency in customer service in any business I started. Today, my businesses immediately update customers on problems with their orders, no matter where they are in the supply chain. This wasn’t always the case, but making this change has led to greater brand loyalty and customer goodwill.
Personal mission: The constant pursuit of excellence in business management. Favorite quote: “Failure is just the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” (Henry Ford).