Born: Bogotá, Colombia
Worked in: Throughout the years I have worked in offices based in New York, Miami, Bogotá and constantly traveled to work in offices under my management located in the six continents. I am currently responsible for 52 offices around the globe.
Key Clients Include: Unilever, Coca Cola, LAN, DirecTV, Microsoft, MasterCard, ExxonMobile, L’Oreal, among others.
In Andrea Suarez’ new position as President, World Markets, she is responsible for the development of Mediabrands operations in 39 reporting countries and 50 affiliate offices across Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Nordics, APAC and Africa, leading a team of more than 1,800 international professionals around the globe.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Last year I became part of the first-ever cluster-oriented global structure implemented by a media agency network. With this new structure, Mediabrands divided its markets by economic growth instead of geographical locations, which is the traditional structure adopted by the rest of the industry. In just a year under the new cluster structure, the World Markets cluster, under my guidance, has proven a tangible evolution and is growing in all key performance indicators in all the 52 offices under my responsibility. In particular, the cluster is showing outstanding growth with the opening of new specialized units around the globe; going from 13 to 22 units, offering different services such as branded content, search, social, shopper analytics, etc.; and we aim to have 31 units open by the end of 2012. Furthermore, I have led World Markets to achieving positive financial results, exceeding the company’s goals for profitability and organic growth.
Why do people see you as an innovator? I believe that from the start of my career, my colleagues have noticed how I have learned to adapt to the new needs of the clients we manage in creating new products and offerings fueled by the changes in consumer behaviors and technological advances. This has propelled the expansion of services to specialized areas that never existed or that were managed by other areas of the business in the agencies that I have worked for.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? I have the privilege to lead a unique, innovative group of countries around the world, known as the emerging markets, which includes countries in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The innovation that is coming from these countries is quite impressive and is serving as a model of inspiration for markets with larger economies and greater resources. However, there are still some challenges in the media field when it comes to innovation; for example, all countries have different sets of guidelines and laws governing the media industry that as international marketers, we must learn and adhere to. Innovation is sometimes also challenged by set business standards or the traditional way of doing business that some companies choose to not break away from.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? In my current position as COO, World Markets, I am responsible for the development of Mediabrands operations in 39 reporting countries and 50 affiliate offices across Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Nordics, APAC and Africa, leading a team of more than 1,800 international professionals around the globe.
During my college years in Colombia, I was the only student from my class to participate in the Harvard University student exchange program, which allowed me to expand my educational background at an international level.