Office Hours: I am the Director of Hootsuite Latin America. Previously, I led Southeast Asia at Asana, LinkedIn and Euromonitor International. I’m Geana Barbosa. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Geana Barbosa and I’m the Director of Hootsuite Latin America.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to build operations from scratch, thoughtfully lead turnaround mandates, and lead teams through exceptional growth and transformation.

I've served in the most exciting and dynamic markets - Latin America and Asia. My career has also been full of transformation - from PR, to Marketing, to Sales, to General Management.

During my downtime, I enjoy meditating, reading about philosophy and walking!

Ask me anything about sustained growth, working in emerging markets, building operations from scratch, leading multifunctional teams or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @geanabarbosa!Elphas – please ask @geanabarbosa your questions before Friday, October 7th. @geanabarbosa may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi @geanabarbosa! Thank you for your open office hours. My question. As a B2B consultant who provides change management strategies to support how leaders engage their team to reach a key objective. I'd love to learn more about what leaders like you look for when considering outside resources to serve as collaborative partners? What is ideal in factors for you to see for consideration? I am currently refining my marketing and brand positioning for my company, and instead of cold prospecting, I would like to learn what you see as a value add.
Hello there - I love you are already focusing on customer needs and preferences rather than cold outreach. Below are some insights from my experience working with external consultancies.I enjoy and prioritize working with partners that demonstrate a genuine interest in listening and adapting to the specific needs of my team and organization. It needs to show in the entire partnership journey. I will list below a few examples of how to demonstrate that in practice:1) Even if you have a proprietary methodology or framework, I want to see the first step of your service to be a decent amount of time planning for the change management that will go within the initiative. 2)During your sales process, one-to-one, I want to see if you have researched my organization, my competitors, or companies I should benchmark myself with. You give me a vision and have a point of view based on your current knowledge.3)You couple your knowledge with incredible curiosity about my business, my team, and myself. Since my first interaction with you, I see you care about us succeeding, not just closing your sale or selling me a project. Your questions to me are deep and open, and you challenge my assumptions. 4)When you deliver me your proposal of services, it is tailored. I can see my organization and my team in your proposal. Not your company. At the end of the day, it is a service for us, right? I think this is so important. Many companies want to sell themselves so much that they put 30 slides about themselves and 2 slides about the customer :(. Not good.5)Demonstrate commitment to delivery since you met your customer the first time. If you promise a case study or a proposal on day X, deliver on day X. The experience starts at the time you met your customer and the way behave before the partnership starts is how you will once the engagement is sealed. I hope this is helpful! All the best in your consultancy journey.
@geanabarbosa This is VERY valuable to learn. I appreciate you taking the time to share this insight. Thank you so much!
Hi Geana! Thanks so much for giving us some of your time! I'm super curious how teams change, in your experience, from 10-500ish.Are the dynamics super different between 30 employees and 100? How does your ops team need to change when you grow? What kinds of new lanes need to be put in place?
It is very different and it is important to have scalability tricks to optimize your impact and empower others to also do so. Here are a few elements to consider:Coaching - this is the single most important element you need to master and also teach others in order to scale influence from 10 to 30 to 100s. Authority or management will not take you that far. Independent of the size of your team, you need to support employees to confidently think on their feet so you build an autonomous and aligned team. Things happen, well, you are there or not.Core support functions - consider critical partners as early as you can. HRBP, FP&A, etc. If you can not, at least get your team together and define key AORs (areas of responsibility) and allocate champions that can liaison with headquarters or start creating a framework for those areas. My favorite AORs are - culture, onboarding, D&I, social impact, health and wellness, and fun.Operational rigor - As the team gets bigger, it is important to have check-ins of success or areas of improvement. I like to drive cross-functional QBRs and follow up action points on weekly or monthly reviews. OKRs are also a great way to drive alignment and accountability. Communications plan - As the team grows, you need to think about how we get people informed, and inspired. Informing and inspiring can be packaged in different formats - all hands, video newsletters, one-on-one cadences, and office hours. Building a strategy around it will make a difference in how you enable growth and retention.
Hi Geana! It's great to see you here. What's the best piece of advice you received for leading multifunctional teams? Are there any frameworks you use that help you lead more effectively?
My two main tips are:1)Build a shared vision - You need to have a common goal that you are all going towards. Building that together is way more powerful. I recommend a yearly or quarterly (if possible) goals vision to goals workshop at least with functional leaders. 2)Use a work management tool - This is biased as I worked with Asana. Still, it is a life changer. Clarity on who does what by when especially across functions is a delight!
Thank you for making the time for this, Geana! What a journey! I've heard that in terms of opportunities, Latin America and Asia are quite similar. What are your thoughts on this? What are some similarities and differences between the two markets?
My point of view is that it is very similar. Diversity - Mix of cultures, needs, ways of living and ways of doing business. Each country has its own nuances.Dynamic environment - Change is happening all the time. New buildings are popping up everywhere. The Bogota or Bangkok you go three months ago is not the same as you go to today.Trust building - Trust-based societies. You need to know people well, you want to know people well. Face-to-face - I know you when I see you.Service culture - Service is expected. Don't sell me a product and disappear.US and UK-headquartered companies don't get them - Any regional leader working for international companies spends at least 60% of their time educating HQs about their regions. ;)
Thank you! These are great points! Especially the last one about spending 60% of your time educating HQs about a region sums up how dynamic a regional leader needs to be – such a fascinating role!
Hi Geana, so nice to have you here, I love that you identify yourself as a Culture Designer! Two questions: What do you think was the key moment in your career that propelled you to senior executive roles? And, do you have any tips on leveraging your international experience to position yourself as a leader abroad and not as an outsider?
Your path to executive roles starts when you stop thinking only about yourself and your team and start making decisions and recommendations that are better for the business as a whole. It is a change in how you see your role and your responsibility regardless of the job title you carry. In my case, I truly enjoy business in general. Even while being an IC, I would always be asking myself - How does this company make money? How does it contribute to society? How does it provide an exceptional experience to its employees? I took it from curiosity to action, connecting shamelessly with executives in my organizations and asking these questions directly. As I spent more time with executives and understood how they think, I could apply the same framework in everything I was doing, again, regardless of my job title. This is critical. Because I was already thinking like this, when opportunities would arise, the movement was natural and logical. Not being seen as an outsider depends 100% on ourselves. I think curiosity is key. Quoting Ted Lasso here - ¨Be curious, not judmental¨. As you insert yourself into another culture, dedicate time to know people, their habits, and their preferences. You don't need to change who you are, but you will have an amazing experience if you allow yourself to have emerged in a new reality. A typical mistake I see executives doing is to drive change too early. Start by understanding what is working, not what is broken. Keep encouraging more of what is working. Get trust, and only then evaluate what needs adjustment. :)