To most Canadians, Brazil is known for exporting samba dancing, skilled soccer players, and fanciful images of the topless beaches of Rio de Janeiro. I was an altogether different type of export from Brazil - a young woman who liked to stretch herself and wanted a challenge. But let's not forget, I was born in New York, after my Brazilian musician father playing at the Bossa Nova concert at Carnegie Hall met my American mother.
After high school in Brazil, I attended Casper Libero Foundation University, Sao Paulo, and graduated with a Bachelor of Public Relations. Following graduation, I was fortunate to work for 11 years with American Express. I held several positions, from working in their call centre to managing the corporate card services. Amex mentored and shaped me in many ways to become what I am today.
When I arrived in Canada in 1993, I found the challenge I had been seeking although in a somewhat different form. As a non-English speaking immigrant, I had to start again from the bottom and work my way up!
My first position held in Canada was in retail, selling Mink! Yes Mink! I Know. With all the winters we have in Brazil I knew exactly how to handle fur, don’t you agree? You take one step at a time. And, after my first job, the rest came easily. I worked as a Customer Service Representative with Van City, which now seems funny. Trust me I can’t count! Then, in 1996, I was able to secure a position as the Operations Manager for Canada with JCB Cards, Japan’s largest credit card company. This was another interesting combination – a Brazilian working for a Japanese company! Hiring and training new staff was among my many duties, but when Japan was in deep recession in 1997, this was not enough to save my job, and I was laid off along with several other employees.
So here I was – looking for work again. I contacted a former employee who had worked at JCB Cards on a temporary basis and who was finishing her Master’s in Counselling. She was also working as an employment counselor and guess who hired me? My former employee! Relationship, relationship, relationship…..
During this journey of personal discovery and challenge, my ex husband and I decided to start our own business, Artefacto. A wholesaler which referred to goods made out of recycled materials.
This adventure in Canada has brought me to where I am today. I am an energetic, results-oriented professional with over 20 years of management, recruitment, coaching, and people assessment experience. I th