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ADOLFO FERNÁNDEZ

YOUNG & AMBITIOUS MINDS

Nominated to the EPIC Awards 2019

"The greatest success always comes after a ‘no’. Surround yourself with people that give you real feedback, getting a pat on the back is not feedback, it’s called sugar.”

Global Program Manager, International Growth Strategy at Google. MIM 2015.

I am the Global Program Manager for International Growth Strategy at Google, where I lead the go to market and commercialization strategy of the company’s international growth services advisory. With a degree in Business Administration from the University of Santiago de Compostela and a Master in Management from IE, I arrived at my current position after having worked as a Business Development Manager for Spain & Portugal, where I was awarded Google’s Best Salesperson of the Year for two consecutive years.

Prior to my business career, I devoted my youth to soccer. I played for the U-18 teams of several La Liga clubs, including Deportivo de La Coruña. In 2005, I was a runner-up at the Spanish Soccer Championship. Soccer has played a key role in shaping up my leadership style. It has taught me to dream big, and understand that a dream without a plan will always be that, a dream. It taught me that the greatest success always comes after the biggest failures, and that to keep improving you should surround yourself with people that give you real feedback, getting a pat on the back is not feedback, it’s called sugar.

Passionate about the role that technology is playing on the global economy and overall society, I take pride in speaking at some of the most prestigious economic and technology forums worldwide, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, MWC, TNW Conference or the World Trade Organization.

How did IE help you get to where you are today?

At Google, we aim to create a workplace that celebrates the diversity of our employees, customers, and users. We endeavor to build products that work for everyone by including perspectives from diverse backgrounds. I feel that my life at Google is an extension of my time at IE. IE values are totally aligned with Google’s entrepreneurial, innovative and, most importantly, diverse and inclusive culture. IE equipped me to perform at very high-level from day one and played a key role in my career, instilling in me very strong work and life ethics that I apply beyond my workplace.

I have a very strong sense of belonging to IE, its values and what it represents as an institution beyond a purely academic perspective. That is the reason why I keep closely collaborating with several departments and initiatives across the school: Talent & Careers, Faculty, and Alumni. I feel the necessity to give back to the IE community and help students kick off and boost their careers.

What is the best advice you can give to a young individual starting his/her professional career?

Dream big and remember that a dream without a plan, will always be that, a dream.” When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a professional soccer player, like millions of children across the globe. I was born and raised in a small village in Galicia, in northern Spain, where there were almost no children, so playing football was not an easy task. When I turned 10, I managed to start playing soccer in a federated club, and at the age of 12, the first big opportunity to fulfill my dream arose (and with it the biggest disappointment of my life, at least up to that moment). It was November 2003 when Celta de Vigo called me to offer me the opportunity to do the trials to become part of their academy’s team. One day was enough for me to understand that that group of children was light years away from me and that my weight would not be of any help to achieve my dream. That day I made a bold decision and promised myself that becoming a soccer player would not be my dream anymore. Being a soccer player would become my goal. I devoted my entire adolescence to soccer, to my dream, my goal. I woke up at 6 am in the morning every day and ran 8km before going to school. I still keep my training plans. Soccer gave me unforgettable moments: wins, loses, tears, friends, a few newspaper clippings and most importantly, taught me that dreams will always be dreams if you do not have a plan.

Don’t invest your time and efforts pursuing a career you are not absolutely passionate about. You will realize very soon that if you don’t actually love what you do, there is no way you can keep the level of sacrifice needed to succeed in your career.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

It is complicated to see where your career is going to take you in 10 years in such a fast changing landscape. However, I have always been a person who believes that people should have a goal to pursue. Therefore, I have drawn a first sketch of where I would like my career go to. In 10 years from now, I picture myself leading an innovative and global organization in a multicultural and diverse location. Also, due to my passion for teaching communication and public speaking I have already started to do other activities in parallel to my core role such as delivering keynotes in major industry events, teaching in several universities and business schools and sharing my professional experiences through blogging. Writing a book is something in my to-do list.

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