Romina Pérez. International Development Director
Looking back almost 10 years ago, I can see a young and energetic Romina wanting to travel the world, earn money, and live exciting experiences.
And I was lucky to have come across this sector in an online job search website, which had the career option I was looking for. My career within this industry actually started off with another company before joining AFA Press, where I remained for a year before being headhunted by AFA Press.
|Romina and Botswana UK High Commissioner
I remember travelling from Bilbao, where I come from, for an interview, where they confirmed I was to be entering the selective training. Having been accepted and offered the position, I was informed of my first destination: the Fiji Islands as a trainee.
All of my family and friends were questioning if this was a real job, or if I was to travel to some far-flung destination and never come back. But I had a MASSIVE smile and was looking forward to my first posting.
I had three years experience as Export Area Manager (Latin America & Caribbean) in my previous job, for which sales and the international perspective were a perfect fit. I have always been a sales person at heart and knew that I wanted to make money and succeed.
As a trainee I found it very interesting to keep my eyes and ears open and learn from one of the best directors I could have had. I worked many hours, aiming to be promoted soon, and when I was able to practice a planteo, I was lucky enough to sign three out of five contracts, which gave me confidence for my future options as a coordinator. I stayed in Fiji for four months and was given the responsibility of collecting the money for the project. Having collected 100% of the money I was sent to my next project.
My destinations only got better with time, and I was then offered the possibility of coordinating a project in Mozambique. I was going to live in the real Africa. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. The project went really well, and we sold US$400,000 in four months.
And here it comes… My favourite destination and project… Sierra Leone. What a country, post-war times and wonderful people making enormous efforts to bring peace to their country. Another very successful project and many friends that I have kept for life.
My first sophisticated market with AFA Press was Puerto Rico, where I was project coordinator for three months until there was an opening as project director in Turkey. I was sad to leave Puerto Rico without seeing the end of the project, but very excited to take over a challenging project such as Turkey.
|Romina and Nigeria USA Ambassador
It was my first directorship ever and I remember working until 2am, having no life over the weekends, but successfully signing contracts and earning money. The project started to work and I began to enjoy the country. Turkey is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world, where over 70% of the population is under 35 years old. A party country. An intellectually provoking nation. And a challenge as a director. I can say this country was where I learnt the most in my whole career.
My next destination was Greece, where I stayed for seven months. I was on one of four projects AFA Press had posted at the same time in Athens. The country was buoyant, straight after the Olympics, money and investments pouring in to Greece, funds from the EU, AFA’s cash cow. It was hard competing with so many of your colleagues, but eventually we all succeeded in signing many contracts. However it was also a lot of fun at weekends: barbecue parties in each of the project’s houses, trips to the islands, and getting to know another 15 people from your company at the same time (quite rare in this company).
My last project in the field was Spain. I have to say I loved it! I got to finally understand my country, study the economic and political situation, and I was to be culminating my career in the most sophisticated and complicated market that this company has had as a project. A breakthrough full-page contract with Telefónica was my great accomplishment, a first-world advertiser that found it interesting to sponsor one of our publications for a British media.
Spain was home, I loved the job, and I had successfully managed very difficult projects for this company, reasons which I believe made me a good choice as a sales manager, and I was invited to stay at head office.
For six years I have had the opportunity to manage several teams around the world, allowing me to visit half of the globe. From Russia to Thailand, from the Philippines to Bahrain, from Malta to Zambia, from Lebanon to Mexico... over 50 projects managed and countries visited. I have supervised up to 18 projects at a time, helped by two other sales executives at HQ.
This world vision and understanding made me a good candidate to head the Business Development department, and almost a year ago I was promoted to manage my own department. The department opens up the initial network for the teams, and offers continuous support to active projects. I am continuously interviewing ambassadors and adoring the new experience, as now my trips are to London, Berlin or Washington only.