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Meeting Claudia Sender in São Paulo

Logo CoolBrands WomenI’m at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport to meet Claudia Sender, the CEO of Brazil’s main airline TAM. I’ve been looking forward to this meeting for a long time and am curious to learn more about this young woman who is a rapidly rising star in this very male-dominated industry.

I’ve done some background research on the way over here and have learnt that in 2012 Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM Airlines started to merge into LATAM. A process that is still ongoing and definitely very complex, which can benefit a lot from good leadership.

Claudia has been the CEO of TAM for just over a year and I am very curious to hear how this high responsibility leadership role is working out for her.

Claudia has asked me to meet her in the airport Arrivals’ Hall. “This is my favourite place,” she says with a smile. “I like coming here to see our customers: some are coming home to be reunited with loved ones, others are excited to travel here for the first time and arrive in a new city.”

Tall and elegantly dressed, she exudes a sense of authority but also great warmth and calm.

As we stroll over to her offices, we talk about her job and I ask her about women in leadership roles. “You’re at the head of the largest airline in Latin America, and you’re the first woman to hold such a high-level position. How do see women leadership roles evolving in the coming years?”

“I believe women leadership is very important in today’s world,” says Claudia. “Women are more sensitive to cultural issues and pay more attention to the impact of their actions on their surroundings, both the people and the environment.

Claudia Sender, Coolbrands Women

“Women are also more inclusive and this means that they are good at building strong teams and at getting the best out of people. The reason why some women don’t succeed in leadership roles is that they are trying to be a man. This is a mistake.”

“What characterizes your leadership style then?” I ask. “What are your ‘brand values’ so to speak?”

“That’s a good question,” says Claudia and thinks for a moment. “I think integrity is one of my most important values. This is something I learnt from my father and that is also very strongly related to my Jewish roots: my family fled Europe during WWII and they had to build everything up from scratch here in Brazil. All they had was their name and their good reputation.”

“In general I think my father was an important influence for me. ‘Never depend on anyone,’ he said. He also told me that if I worked hard, I’d do well. In a sense, he empowered me and broadened my perspective.

“That also taught me to value diversity. I believe it is a huge challenge to work in a diverse environment, but it also adds a great richness. It brings out the best in people and it makes us go forward.”


© 2014 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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Tags: CBNWS, #CBNWS, #CoolBrands, CoolBrands, ATW80B, #ATW80B, Around the world, CoolBrands Storytelling, Creating Talk Value, CoolBrands Women, CoolBrands Personal, CoolBrands People, Meeting Claudia Sender, Claudia Sender, Guarulhos International Airport, TAM Airlines, Brazil, São Paulo, CEO TAM, CEO TAM Airlines

“Everyone wants to innovate – no one wants to change” – Igor Beuker

I’m in midtown Manhattan… on my way to a roundtable discussion about innovation.  I pick up an espresso at a local coffee place, which I pay for with Apple-pay on my phone. I order a car with my Uber app and check my email during the ride.

After a 15 minute drive I exit the car and check the address of my meeting again on Google maps. “347 Madison Avenue…” This avenue has some of the world’s most upscale boutiques… and is of course famous because of the American television series about the advertisement industry. The phrase “Mad Men” is a slang term coined in the 1950s by advertisers working on Madison Avenue to refer to themselves.

While crossing the street, Igor Beuker comes to mind… with his presentation ‘From Mad Men to Math Men’.

Meeting Igor Beuker
Meeting Igor Beuker

I recently learned that his talk has transformed into a TV show, with Igor as the host. Add to that that he writes for Business Insider and that he regularly sees trends that he ‘spotted’, become real.

“Why don’t I give him a call,” I think to myself, “maybe he can give me some insights.”

Google Hangouts puts me in direct contact with Igor.

“Great to hear from you, I’m actually invited to speak at a marketing conference in New York next month,” Igor says, “so, what’s up?”

“Well, I’m on my way to attend a discussion about innovation in business, and I would like your view on some statements. Do you have a few minutes?”

“Sure, sounds like fun, shoot!” Igor replies.

“Okay here we go,” I say, “let’s start with one of your own phrases, just to get you going. Mad Men vs Math Men… what can you say about that?”

“Here is the short version,” Igor starts. “Mad Men are the people who have become world players based on advertising and old business models. The Math Men are strategic thinkers and entrepreneurs who believe innovation is the way to survival and growth. They believe in the power of digital transformation, which will create new opportunities for your business.”

“Great…,” I say, “and what about Digital Darwinism?”

“Survival of the fittest… adapt or die!” Igor exclaims. “Large companies underestimate the impact and pace with which this digital revolution is taking place. The companies that think that a new commercial or a new website will do the job, will not survive.

“Interesting, here’s another one: The fourth industrial revolution.”

Igor waits a few seconds before answering. “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another,” he says with a serious voice. “In its scale, scope and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.

“I see it as my duty to challenge companies, provide them with a forecast of where their company will be in 5 years from now, a realistic scenario. The first reaction is disbelief and denial. But after I show them numbers, facts and examples of their peers….they slowly get on board and realize the sense of urgency.”

“Do you see yourself as a ‘Rebel with a Cause’?”

“My way of working is challenging,” Igor replies, “confronting – saving nothing and nobody. I share my knowledge and experience to help companies to prevent them from catastrophe. To achieve this goal, I can not be Mr. Nice Guy. I have to be bold and direct.

”The main message I want to convey is that ‘everyone wants to innovate , but nobody wants to change’.

“We all know that human beings are change averse. However, in this time of the 4th industrial revolution, there simply is no way to avoid change. And if you keep resisting, you resist progress, innovation and hence you endanger your own survival.”

“Now taking a helicopter view, why are you doing all this? You have made your success, you have earned your stripes, what drives you?“

“Great question, thought you’d never ask,” Igor says with a big smile. “Actually, everything I have done and will do, finds its origin in my deeply rooted belief in the power of education. I believe that education breeds progress.

People like Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai inspire me to do my part, to learn and share what I’ve learned. That’s what will bring the world to the next level.”

“Cool,” I say, “thanks for sharing these insights and your purpose with me. If you don’t mind, I’ll use the insights in my next meeting.”

Read more from Igor:

A fresh and bold player in an arena of traditionalists – Meeting Igor Beuker

The power to inspire change – Igor Beuker

Tags: Igor Beuker, #IgorBeuker, Beuker, Igor, public speaker, publicist, serial entrepreneur, tv host

You always know the right thing to do… the important thing is doing it – Jamie Covello

Jamie Covello is recognized as a leader in the real estate industry. She has 30+ years of experience, expertise, and insights, most recently as Executive Director, Cushman & Wakefield. She joined Avison Young as Executive Director in 2017.

I am meeting with her to find out what motivated her to move to Avison Young and to see where her focus is right now.

We sit in a light-filled boardroom with panoramic views of Manhattan as Jamie explains her motivation: “I wanted a more entrepreneurial environment. The beauty of Avison Young is that it’s a principal-owned company. They don’t have fiefdoms and silos. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed as partners.”

Jamie Covello - Avison Young
Jamie Covello – Avison Young

Market evolution has brought significant changes to all aspects of the real estate industry. The national and global industry has become commoditized. At Avison Young, Jamie can build consultative partnerships with major corporations where she can problem solve from beginning to end. She creates occupancy and financial solutions which add value to a company’s bottom line.

She’s rebuilding her client base with a focus on local business. Jamie is finding the tech sector exciting: “They’re creative, agile, interesting and dynamic. I’m interested in helping them build while keeping them in the best financial status, by managing occupancy costs.”

I remark that those qualities sound much like her! She laughs and tells me she recently worked with a tech company where the founder was shocked that she, the broker was advocating for him! His lawyer had to reassure him she was on his side and working in his best interest!

“Would you say advocating for your clients with integrity is a central tenet of yours?”

“Absolutely! You always know the right thing to do. The important thing is doing it.”

Jamie pauses and takes a sip from her coconut milk latte before continuing: “The financial framework together with the recruitment piece is huge. The office should enhance profitability and productivity. Attracting and retaining top-quality employees is vital for young companies. Millennial employees will leave if a company is not in a great location, with a forward-thinking culture and the right ‘feel’ in the office. Great leaders understand this.”

She helps her clients identify the best working environment. Jamie also ensures that they don’t get taken advantage of by unbalanced lease agreements and hidden obligations. When they commit, they’re aware of what they’re committing to.

“I’m intrigued. Can you give examples of issues that might arise when leasing commercial space?”

Jamie glances out of the window and gives me a quick lesson: “Let’s say a company needs x amount of seats. Sometimes they’re looking to build up to a certain level and expect to acquire or be acquired. Should you have a lease tail, there are accounting issues. If you grow and have to move, there will be accelerated cost issues. If you look at due diligence and acquisition, you can’t sublet space for what one might think. Often after factoring free rent and other costs into the deal, a company can only recoup 10-20%. There’s a balance to determine the ratio of excess space leased versus flexible space arrangements. Flexible office space should always be considered as part of the equation.”

Spending this time with Jamie has been eye-opening –like attending a master class in commercial real estate!  (After all, she’s been a guest lecturer on real estate at Columbia University.) Her enthusiasm for the industry is infectious and her expertise, advocacy, and integrity are admirable.

I thank Jamie and head back to the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Interview with the CEO of Bloomberg on gender equality

The Women’s Forum of New York organizes The Breakfast of Corporate Champions, where companies who are leading the way to gender balance on corporate boards are saluted.

Be part of this salute to companies with at least 20% of board seats held by women and hear the country’s leading CEOs talk about why women in the boardroom is a strategic business imperative and how to make it happen.

The case for accelerating the advancement of women on corporate boards has never been stronger – Women’s Forum of New York

Chairman Bloomberg interviewed by CoolBrands People
Chairman Bloomberg interviewed by the Women’s Forum of New York and CoolBrands People
Peter Grauer - CEO Bloomberg & Maarten Schafer - CoolBrands People
Peter Grauer – CEO Bloomberg & Maarten Schafer – CoolBrands People

Video by CoolBrands

Challenging the status quo – Gerhard Michael Eckert

Michael Eckert’s career is far from commonplace. His extensive across-the-board and beyond-border experience has proven an invaluable asset to his current field. I’m looking forward to meeting one of Germany’s most highly respected executive search consultants, Managing Partner of Höchsmann & Company, and to hear how he navigated the twists and turns of his career. The insights, perspectives and expertise he collected throughout the years are now manifest in his unique approach to executive search.

Michael has been with Höchsmann & Company for nearly two decades. The executive search firm is widely acclaimed for its creativity, insight and genuine attention to its clients’ needs and interests. It is no stretch to say that Michael embodies all these qualities himself.

“How did you end up in executive search after starting out in medical school?”

He smiles, and says, “At first glance, mine may not seem like a logical career, but if you take a step back and consider the overlaps, every single move I made in my career falls into place.” He explains. Studying medicine had always been Michael’s plan, it was a part of his family’s DNA. While at medical school, he met someone who worked in the pharmaceutical industry. His interest was piqued. Subsequently, he worked as a product manager parallel to his studies. His background was decidedly different from his colleagues: his medical expertise proved a clear advantage, particularly complimented by his natural commercial savvy. Having joined the pharmaceutical industry after completion of his medical studies, he achieved enormous international successes.

Gerhard Michael Eckert - Höchsmann
Gerhard Michael Eckert – Höchsmann

Pharma took him overseas, and he spent a number of years in South Africa, after which he returned to Germany and joined Lufthansa. The airline was looking for someone from outside the industry, someone who would be able to add a commercial perspective to the then state-owned company. The job took him all over the world, among which a number of years living in Stockholm. He was more or less given free reign, and his unyielding thirst for in-depth understanding of why the company was organized as it was, why processes were structured as they were proved immensely rewarding. Both for Michael personally and for the company on the whole.

“As a doctor, you always have to determine a proper diagnosis before you can prescribe an appropriate treatment. That means you have to ask questions. And more questions. You can’t come up with a solution if you don’t understand the problem. Always dare to question the status quo.” It is exactly this attitude, his ability to pair his broad perspective with a keen attention to detail that has established him as one of the best in the executive search field.

Making the switch to executive search in 1998, Michael’s executive background is indispensable. Both candidates and clients consider him an equal – he knows the lay of the corporate land, understands the principles of business and is capable of identifying the needs and key factors necessary to achieving a successful match geared toward the future.


Tags: Michael Eckert, Gerhard Michael Eckert, Gerhard Eckert, Meeting Michael Eckert, Höchsmann & Company KG, HR consultancy, executive search, crafter of candidates, educator of clients, IIC Partners


Ride for Growth – Sergio Alvarez, Your Strategic Partner

Conversations with Sergio Alvarez are like driving a “zoom zoom car” – interaction with him is seamless, pertinent and dynamic.  This entrepreneur provides first-class services to his clients with a combination of 360-degree perspective, empathy, cultural competence, intellectual curiosity and adaptability.  By asking different kinds of questions, he has led his company Ai Media Group to propose solutions that are distinctive from traditional business units.  Sergio says the engine for growth is passion.

“What are you passionate about?” Sergio recalls a general sales manager’s question of his very first job interview.  “I said, cars. Then they told me to clarify and I did.  And as I continued, they stopped the interview and said I was hired.  The reason behind that was if you could have this much passion about something else, that can be translated into sales, and into your career.”  Today as the COO of a company, he is thrilled to find and work with a smart and passionate team.

Sergio Alvarez - Ai Media Group
Sergio Alvarez – Ai Media Group

Sergio’s client-oriented solutions help the digital marketers to maximize their return on investment.  “We all know that 50% of advertising is wasted, we just never knew which part,” Sergio continues.

“We monitor every step of our clients’ customer journey and have touch points behind every single advertising we do.  This is how we are able to curate different solutions for every single advertising we do.”

His people skills, the company’s high-end technology, and him and his team’s enthusiasm convert clients into loyal partners.  The company’s dedication to deliver client-centered solutions has led to 90% client retention rate.

During this conversation, I have discovered where his perfectionism was rooted in.   “I grew up in a hard working immigrant family.  My parents taught me the value of hard work and sense of accomplishments.  I have always tried to be an over achiever.  But I also want to have that success not just for myself but share it with my peers.  I want to make sure that our company is full of people who support each other,” Sergio says.

Sergio Alvarez - Ai Media Group
Sergio Alvarez – Ai Media Group

His over achieving spirit is embedded in his products and services.  “The core of what Google does, is serving the most relevant content.  On the consumer side, we go further as Google Partner, serving the right message at the right time for that particular product or service.”

Sergio’s passion is to accompany every step of the customer journey in order to provide personalized solutions for his loyal clientele.  The “zoom zoom car” has miles to go before he sleeps.

Tags: Sergio Alvarez, Sergio Alvares, Sergio Alvarez Ai Media, Ai Media, Ai Media Group, New York, Sergio Alvarez CEO Ai Media Group, CEO Ai Media Group, #CoolBrandsPeople, CoolBrands, CoolBrands People

Meeting Roy P. Kozupsky – Providing thought leadership to legacy families

The delivery of legal services to affluent families and their family owned enterprises has historically been an industry slow to adapt to consumer changes. Roy Kozupsky’s methods are decidedly different, which is why I’m particularly looking forward to meeting him today.

Roy is a widely recognized and highly respected attorney. He has become a thought leader in how affluent families and their family owned business can utilize legal services in a different manner. His approach yields more value to the families he represents. A guest teacher at Pepperdine University in California, Roy is committed to delivering contemporary and progressive areas of legal thinking to the families he works with.

Having worked and trained as a trusts and estate lawyer for thirty years, his work focus shifted a decade ago. He decided to work exclusively with families whose wealth, prosperity and emotions are all aligned around their family businesses and philanthropic visions.


His work for these legacy families and his role as ‘personne de confiance’ – or trusted advisor – demonstrates a passion for a new multidisciplinary field of law and its fundamental principles of helping families. He has the ability and professionalism to first to care about a client’s well being, to try to understand their universe and values and then help them navigate solutions.


“How does that relate to the industry’s regular modus operandi?” I ask Roy.

“Selling defined legal services does not work for this field. For practitioners servicing these families, ours should not be a transaction business.”


Private client services in law is an essentially intimate field, particularly Roy’s practice of working with legacy families. After graduating from law school, he joined a firm specialized in trust and estate law. A serendipitous event. He had always demonstrated a keen interest in understanding human behavior, and this focus allowed him to combine his passion for law with working with family owned enterprises.

“How are these linked?” I ask.

“Understanding family behavior around their wealth and values is a critical aspect of law. What motivates thought patterns concerning their family and wealth? What values does a family cherish? Consider for instance a family business. The business itself is intimately connected, interwoven if you will, within the identity of the family.”


Even in today’s global economy, over 80% of all American businesses are privately held. Research seems to indicate that there are complex reasons why many family owned businesses do not make it to the next generation.

“For those families interested in perpetuating their wealth, values and philanthropic goals beyond one generation,” Roy continues, “it’s important to me to render contemporary multidisciplinary legal advice. To operate beyond the scope of what might be traditionally delivered in legal services, to help these legacy families thrive, from one generation to the next.”


Roy has seen how the world of law has strayed from its original purpose: to care for and help a family navigate the likely tumultuous events they all will face and help them understand how contemporary research surrounding family wealth and business planning can be integrated into their legal strategies.

I offer: “A principle that you dismiss outright?”

“I’m not interested in just doing transactional work and making a fee and then never hearing from a client until many years later. I want to deliver quality work that helps my clients move forward and navigate the most important issues that keep them up at night. Mainly the health, human and financial issues of their family. Money is not the measure of my success.”


Roy is passionate about his approach to law – his thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. He was and is profoundly influenced by his mentors. They pushed him to continue to ask questions, teaching him never to take anything at face value, but to persist and delve deeper and continue to develop as a professional and an individual.

“I want to bring about change in my particular area of legal work. A change born out of a deeper appreciation of what families need instead of what lawyers are selling.”


Tags: Roy Kozupsky, meeting Roy Kozupsky, #RoyKozupsky,CoolBrands People, #CoolBrandsPeople, family office, family office lawyer, lawyer, legacy families, CoolBrands, #CoolBrands, around the world in 80 brands, #ATW80B, Around the world, 80 brands

“Collaborative Leadership” – Maud Kleuskens

Op verschillende momenten in mijn leven heb ik situaties meegemaakt die ‘disfunctioneel’ waren; thuis, op school, op het werk en met de mensen die ik liefheb. Al op jonge leeftijd was ik ervan overtuigd dat ik hier iets aan wilde doen. Toen ik wat ouder was, ben ik gaan uitzoeken hoe ik disfunctionele systemen zou kunnen ombuigen naar functioneel. De sleutel heb ik gevonden in ‘collaboration & co-creation’

‘Collaboration’ betekent niet dat de mensen met wie je samenwerkt je beste vrienden zijn, of zelfs dat je ze leuk hoeft te vinden. Het gaat over het opzijzetten van persoonlijke vooroordelen, het beste van jezelf naar voren te brengen en de nadruk te leggen op de gemeenschappelijke doelstelling.

De generatie van de millennials wordt gezien als de aanstichters van het nieuwe samenwerken. Ik zie dit echter als veel breder dan een generatie. In mijn optiek is er sprake van een nieuw concept, een ‘millennial mentaliteit’, die veel meer impact heeft op onze samenleving dan velen denken, of willen geloven.

Maud Kleuskens - Millennials, who are they?

Maud Kleuskens – Millennials, who are they?

Het zijn niet alleen de jongens en meisjes die de arbeidsmarkt betreden. Het is een nieuwe manier van werken, leven, samenwerken en samen leven. Denk aan concepten als airbnb en Uber, ultieme voorbeelden van de millennial mentaliteit. We gaan voorbij aan bezit, we delen. Andere business modellen worden uitgevonden, andere manieren om je succes te meten, als bedrijf en als individu.

Organisaties moeten leren de verschillen tussen generaties, tussen de oude mentaliteit en de nieuwe mentaliteit, te verkleinen. Verschillen die zeker groter gaan worden zodra de millennials management en andere hoge functies gaan vervullen.

Ook zullen organisaties moeten leren nieuwe strategieën te ontwikkelen om maximaal te kunnen profiteren van de toegevoegde waarde van deze millennial mentaliteit.

Bedrijven die deze verandering in mentaliteit niet integreren en hun organisatie daarop aanpassen, zullen de toekomst niet overleven. Het is meer dan een generatie mensen, het is een totale shift in mentaliteit, een ander ‘concept’ waarin we leven.

Door mijn achtergrond, ervaring en passie met elkaar te combineren, slaag ik erin bedrijven deze transitie te laten maken en succesvol de toekomst tegemoet te treden.

Maud Kleuskens - Collaborative leadership
Maud Kleuskens – Collaborative leadership

Julie Roehm in conversation with Robin Domeniconi

How often do we hear one say, “I wish I knew how young I was when I was 40?” My interviewee and friend Robin Domeniconi rightly says – we are never too old to be figuring out what we want to do. But I am skipping ahead… let’s start from the beginning.

An award-winning marketer, strategist and brand builder, currently the founder and CEO of Threaded Tales, Robin Domeniconi exemplifies ‘doing it your own way’. She has held crucial positions in world renowned companies such as Rue La La, Microsoft and ELLE, and yet chose to leave it all behind to find a direction, to find clarity. And so, she did. You know how they say a good pair of jeans is all you need? Robin transformed these good jeans, into great jeans. She embodied her zest for life in her company Threaded Tales, which allows you to tell your story on your choice of clothing. Each item purchased funds a year of a child’s education in Haiti. It is truly fascinating.

Robin also discussed her experience with dyslexia and how it helped her accept and embrace her flaws, which otherwise seemed arbitrary. She spoke briefly about her son and his experience with the same. We delved into her personal life – her mother, father and husband. Every little anecdote was a glimpse into her personality, and each one more interesting than the last.

My conversation with Robin was raw, unfiltered and honest. Her story, with all its highs and lows, makes her the amazing person she is today.

Click here to listen to the podcast

Julie Roehm

Julie Roehm in conversation with Robin Domeniconi
Julie Roehm in conversation with Robin Domeniconi


“Freedom is Power” – Annette Azan

I moved into studying fashion, drawn to how it affects our lives. When we put on clothes we can change the shape texture and outline of our bodies. And clothing also helps us travel between identities.

I’ve had the most incredibly colorful career in fashion. Fashion has allowed me to take risks with my own style and form and reform my own identity.

The word “Yes” has been my mantra… my driving force that has allowed a road to unfold with unimaginable circumstances.

Annette Azan – Creator & Freedom Ambassador – Nuudii System

Annette Azan - Creator & Freedom Ambassador - Nuudii System
Annette Azan – Creator & Freedom Ambassador – Nuudii System
Annette Azan - Natural Positivity
Annette Azan – Natural Positivity
Annette Azan - Creator, Trailblazer, Unifier
Annette Azan – Creator, Trailblazer, Unifier