Professional Life So Far
I stumbled upon Shutterstock completely by chance. After working for years and years with an English-speaking market, I started to miss home – the language, the people, the culture.
When I decided to leave MoMA and start a new adventure, my goal was to reconnect with my culture and my peeps, so I started searching for jobs using keywords such as “Portuguese” or “Brazil”… within a few weeks I found a job description that was so enticing, the company description so interesting, that I couldn’t help myself. I had to apply.
Best decision of my life! The whole process went smoothly. The Shutterstock people were delightful and helpful, and they shared the company culture with me in a candid and honest way, which was something completely new to me. When people asked me where I worked, based on all the perks and how happy I was, most would ask me: “Do you work for Google?”
Initially the position was a hybrid one: some customer service/some sales. It was called “Account Executive” and I covered English and Portuguese (all of Brazil, Portugal, and any country where English was a first language – or countries for which we did not support the local language, who we would help in English).
That lasted from March 2013 through April 2013, when I was invited to be the second team member of the newly created Outbound Sales for the Inside Sales division. From that moment forward, my whole focus became sales, and I covered English and Portuguese speaking countries.
That position helped me sharpen my sales skills. I have consistently achieved or exceeded my sales targets. This position also helped me keep a part of my profession that I absolutely love: taking care of my clients. I love working with my clients to ensure they receive the best I can offer; I like taking care of them before and after the sale is done; I remain in touch with 100% of my clients throughout the year, as frequently as once a month. That ensures they know who I am, and that I have their best interest at heart.
I also became quite proficient in Salesforce: you will not come across a better, cleaner, more accurate pipeline than mine! I use Salesforce’s stages as if my life depended on it – and it sort of does! And if you want me to create some very informative reports in Salesforce, I am your man!
I consider myself a very lucky person. I also believe that luck is being aware of the opportunities that present themselves, and grabbing on to them.
That is how I found my next adventure. This time, with the world famous Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
I was working at the Javits Center in New York during one of the National Stationery Shows, and my company’s booth (at the time I was working for NobleWorks, the greeting cards company) was located across the aisle from the MoMA booth.
The day before the trade show ended, I started talking to the MoMA sales person. After 10 minutes or so, she says: “We have an opening for an assistant manager for the Wholesale Department, and I think you would be great for the position.”
I said yes without thinking twice, and on the same day I had my first interview with the manager of the Wholesale Department. Well, not an actual a formal interview…more like a quick chat.
The week after I came by their offices for a proper interview, and before the month was up, I had a job offer.
During my 6 and a half year tenure with MoMA, I learned a lot about the retail and wholesale worlds. I improved my negotiation skills with both domestic and international clients, I used my natural organizational skills to coordinate wholesale activities with sales representatives nationwide, and I personally managed accounts from small mom-and-pop shops to very large companies.
I was also responsible for onboarding and training of new and temp staff, and I supervised the customer service representatives.
I worked with the upper management team to implement a new order management system, managed the wholesale division website, and conducted regular email marketing and sales campaigns to keep our clients informed and engaged with the MoMA brand.
Some of the most rewarding moments while at MoMA were the times when we set up shop at the various trade shows around the country. That was my chance to meet new clients and re-engage with existing ones. Putting a face to a name is the best sales technique I’ve ever come across. That’s when you have the opportunity to be human, candid, and to create honest rapport with another human being, who happen to also be your client.
NobleWorks was my first job in the United States after I moved from Brazil.
I stayed with NobleWorks for a little over 3 years, during which I accumulated a number of functions. For the duration of my stay, I was their main internal technical support guy (mostly because of my previous computer and hardware knowledge acquired back in school and work in Brazil), their one and only customer service person (I held that position between 2002 and 2003), and in early 2003 I was promoted to their Art Department, working with production and pre-press.
During my stint in the Art Department I had the chance to work with QuarkXpress, and was introduced to the Adobe tools (Photoshop and Illustrator), which I use to this day (on a very basic, hobby-like manner – I do have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, because my dream is to master Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects).
Here’s how I landed the Galileo International job back in 1995: in my previous job at VARIG we had travel perks, although they were not necessarily inexpensive for us. If I recall correctly, during the first 6 years with VARIG, the employee stand-by travel fee was 10% of the full fee. Not bad, but not great if you do not make a lot of money to begin with.
But after 6 years, the fee was a fixed USD$30.00 (to anywhere in the world where VARIG had flights to). My first experience was Europe, where I went to Dussedorf, Paris, and Amsterdam.
When I came back from that trip, I decided I wanted more – more opportunities, more places to visit, more experiences. So I applied for a position with United Airlines (it was a customer service position).
During my interview with the customer service manager, she asked me wait a moment because she wanted someone else to speak with me – I thought it was probably her boss, or someone from recruiting.
In comes the newly appointed director of a Galileo International, which at that point was part of United Airlines in Brazil. She was impressed with my background in technology, part joking, part seriously she asked me if I could use a mouse (believe me…at that point in time, using a mouse was a novelty!), and she offered me a position with Galileo International.
I started in the customer service department, of which after a couple of years I became its manager (I had around 10 people reporting to me).
I also acted as a backup trainer throughout my stay with Galileo International, and in 1998 I was promoted and became a Field Support, which main responsibilities included product implementation for our larger accounts throughout the Brazilian territory, training of staff on several initiatives, included a TravelPoint manual, Vendor Update Terminal, and a new Ticketing Facility with the major foreign airlines with offices in Brazil.
VARIG was my very first job. My best friend’s brother had a high up position within the company, and they were hiring young people for some part time positions.
I started in the Information Department, which basically handled phone calls from clients who needed to know flight arrival times. Because it was a 24/7 service, we had to work at whatever time our managers required us to – given a fair head’s up, of course. The schedule could change on a monthly basis, or they could leave us on the same schedule for 6 months.
I worked from 6am to noon, noon to 6pm, 6pm to midnight, and from midnight to 6am (I have nightmares to this day just to think about it).
After a year or so, I was moved to the Reservation Department, which was great, despite the same crazy schedules (but we were young and resilient).
What I absolutely love about being part of the Reservation Department, which consisted of a much larger group of people, was the fact that it helped me maintain my English (we talked with a lot of foreigners, who did not speak Portuguese, but spoke English), and that it was where I made some of the best and strongest friendships in my life. I am still friends with many of the people I met back in 1998!