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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…. September 8, 2008

Posted by priscilaraposo in Uncategorized.
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Esther Faingold is the CEO of Mueller. She was appointed to be awarded the Year’s Personality by AutoData 2008, the most respectfull award of the automobile industry.

1- How do you manage your life as a CEO, wife and mother? Is there any hint (dica) for your success?

I do not have a secret formula. It would, in fact, be much better if I knew how to do this better. What I do indeed is try to realise when I need to be more like a mother, or more like a wife, or more like a CEO. You are a mother all the time, this is something instinctive, something from inside. The problems start when all this starts to get mixed up, when you are at a meeting and thinking about your daughter, or when you are with your daughter and thinking about the forthcoming meeting, with your husband just rambling on about your daughter or about work… this is really crazy, and this is when personal relationships become weaker and more superficial, and start to break up. There is a need for a lot of self-control so that a balance may be struck! If this is not the case, you run the risk, and a very high risk at that, of being a failure in all three roles. If you must therefore accept that, although you shall never be perfect, you may try to be a little better each day, and that you may give and receive more, gives a certain dose of comfort.

A few years ago I started to give much more importance to the issue of time, to my time, to other people’s time. This has meant that what is really important to me now is how much I manage to be my full self, a full person for those activities I dedicate myself to, to the people I love, within a time frame which, as I am fully aware, is by no means infinite. This is also what I expect from others. Time has become a key form of capital for me. I always remember a phrase once spoken by Jackie Onassis, that “if you fail in your role as a mother, nothing else will have been worthwhile”, so this is now my priority, and if I know that I am giving my daughter all the love that I feel she needs to grow with high self-esteem, both mentally and emotionally, with principles that I shall never forsake, if I know I am doing this, then I feel that I am strong enough to take on anything else.

2- Who is your role model? Why?

I do not have any single example of a role model in particular. What I have had are several people that I have admired at different moments in my life.

In my opinion, each life is unique in itself, and this makes it unlikely that what was good or correct for a certain person, within a given life scenario, would be appropriate for someone else other than this person himself or herself.

I have great admiration for people who have known how to love and forgive.

In painting, I am really fascinated by the works of Mira Schendel, Tunga and
Leonilson.

In the film industry: Fellini, Visconti and Ingmar Bergman,.

In music: Edith Piaf, Elis Regina, Dalida. I also like the lyrics of songs by great songwriters such as Cartola, Chico Buarque, Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes.

In literature, my favourite authors are Margherite Duras and Fernando Pessoa.
What all these people have in common is the fact that they take me over to very special places and moments.

3- What makes you happy at work? In your house?

At work, what makes me happy is to see an employee who is really motivated towards making the company a better place, in all meanings of the term, to feel that a client is sure that he or she has made the right choice through Mueller, and I also feel joy at the possibility of fulfilling lifelong dreams through work, rather than just consumption dreams. I really feel great when I realise that this is indeed possible, and that work is a means rather than an end in itself.

In the home environment, what really makes me happy is being at peace to enjoy the company of my daughter and my husband, and also sharing pleasant moments with other people we love. I relish it when we cook together, and I am delighted with that fraction of paradise, those happy moments we share.

4- Can you tell me what things really bother you?

One thing that really annoys me is excessive bureaucracy and hypocrisy. Also, I do not like people who boast about their insensitivity, in the belief that lack of emotions is a sign of being strong.

I do not feel at ease when someone speaks to me without making eye contact!

I also do not like acts of craftiness, taking advantage of others, and of course the famous jeitinho, the habit of finding ways around everything.

I also abhor sound and visual pollution.

5- Most people find it very hard to be patient. How do you manage it?

I am definitely not the best example of the art of patience. However, I have improved tremendously! I have learnt that the projects, efforts and processes of cultural formation of new models take a long time to mature.

Before, I used to feel frustrated because I had to see the results straight away and this does not happen, and if it does indeed happen, then watch out! You could end up having a serious problem on your hands because there is a high chance of not being consistent enough.

Nowadays, for example, I see fruit that has grown from seeds that I planted many years ago, but which had to go through the seasons of the year and also had to live their own cycle; it would have been no use trying to accelerate the natural order.

As part of my daily activities, however, I still try to bring out a sense of urgency in nearly everything we do, because this is how the market is. And, indeed, if we lack this speed, everything could turn into just dreams. The feeling that one may have missed the opportunity is really bitter. This is time that you shall never make up.

6– What is it that you most value in your life?

Freedom, as you are nothing without it. If you do not have freedom, you are nothing more than a puppet, either of something or someone.

Without freedom, it is impossible to live to the full. If you do not have this freedom, you would be unable to bring out the best or the worst in yourself.

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