As part of our Member Spotlight, I sat down with one of our newest members, Maria Botta. Maria’s a Digital Marketing Consultant that’s done business worldwide, but currently works from Marina Port Vell. We talked business and leisure, as well as her views on how all industries are undergoing massive shifts. Take a look...
So, how did you get here?
I worked for 20 years as a film and television producer, I loved it but got tired of travelling six months out of the year. Then, in 2008 the market crashed so I decided to make a change. I went back to graduate school and was accepted into the Thunderbird programme, the number one global management programme for MBA at the time. I then did an executive programme in Geneva, Switzerland and spent 17 months travelling around as I did my fieldwork in India and China.
Sounds exciting, what did you do next?
Afterwards I went back to the US and got a corporate job. After two years I decided I didn’t want to work with in that context anymore, and knew I’d reached a glass ceiling. I’d always had entrepreneurial spirit so was going to go on hiatus, but then I started getting offers for consulting work. One was from a friend who worked at a global nonprofit. That’s how the business started, it was organic and now most of my business comes from word of mouth.
I then got the opportunity to work with a couple nonprofits and startups in the tech sector. It was during this period that I developed my mission statement:
"Working with companies and people who are doing good work for the world."
That’s how I guide myself, it’s really important that my mission and theirs line up.
Is there a particular type of business you tend to work with?
I’d say my three areas of expertise are new industries and start-ups, female founded businesses, and technology. I was the CMO for a fintech startup in San Francisco but it’s female entrepreneurs that I hold close to my heart. Women in business don’t make as much as men. I’ve worked five times as hard to prove myself. I’m also probably five times as good (wink); modesty aside, it's the truth. Those experiences have made me passionate about helping other women build their businesses and succeed. I also enjoy working with multi-generational female businesses. I recently worked with a third generation liquor business in the US started by the grandmother. Think about how bold that was back in the day! It was then handed to her mother and now the daughter runs it.
What’s your most recent project?
I just finished working on a big hemp launch - it’ll be the largest organic hemp farm in the country and the biggest producer of CBD oil. This emerging industry sector is the new goldrush in the US. They harvest at the end of the month!
That included a startup strategy; how to create and maintain their market dominance, what does the seed space look like, helping them develop their market and understand their competition, that sort of thing. I created a go-to-market framework moving forward.
Let’s talk a little about you. What are you passionate about?
Life, in general. As I’ve gotten older I just realise you’ve got to really enjoy every minute. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing for work, then that’s a problem. You’re going to be spending a lot of time doing something that you don’t enjoy. We’re not slaves anymore, only slaves in our mind.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I really want to build a house. Maybe in South Africa or Spain. My father’s side of the family is originally from Catalunya. I’m Cuban-American so my family mostly came from Spain and I lived here as a kid in the North, in Asturias.
Is there any piece of literature/art/music that has made a profound impact on you?
Daniel Pink’s book ‘A Whole New Mind’. So, it’s about how the right brainers will rule the world. People say right brain skills are soft skills, but the world is changing. The dynamic is moving in that direction, those softer skills now are really what people are demanding and needing in business.
Would you say you’re content with where you’re at right now?
Yeah, well, I don’t believe in regrets so that’s not part of my personal philosophy. I think, coming from a family of political exiles, a lot of people I knew in that community just lived in regret, in the past, and my family was the opposite. There’s a saying in Spanish: Atrás ni pa’ empujarte. It means ‘We don’t even look back to push ourselves forwards’, and that’s very much how my family lived. We keep moving forward, looking to the future. I believe in the power of now and in the power of this moment. This moment we’ve just had now, it can never be replicated. My personal philosophy is you’ve got to make the best of right now. Two seconds from now we don’t know what could happen. Live for now.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give people on what not to do?
What not to do. Um, don’t sweat the small stuff. People spend months worrying about a logo or a brand name and nobody cares anymore. The same thing in so many other ways. So you aren’t perfect right now, who cares? Enjoy what you’ve got. So many people live in this self imposed rigidity of what they think is the right thing to do or the right way to live or look or feel. Why? Because it’s been put in your head? It’s not that way, you can create your own reality and life.
Great, well, thanks very much for talking with me today. It’s been a pleasure.
No worries, you’re very welcome.
Maria is a new member at our Marina location, drop by and say hello. Alternatively she’s on all forms of social media, which I’ll leave below. Lastly, I’d like to thank Maria for taking the time to sit down for a chat, and welcome her to the OneCoWork community. Why don’t you do the same?