Today we have a very special interview for you. We talked to Esteban, a year after helping him land the job as CEO of Eurocentres, an international network of language schools. Esteban does not only share his experience regarding the transformation of his company, but also his very personal and inspirational story: about life, optimism, his journey from a farm in Argentina to the CEO chair in London. Enjoy!
About Esteban’s Career
Please introduce yourself to our consultingheads members!
My name is Esteban Jurado Traverso, I am an entrepreneurial/commercial MBA executive with more than 20 years of work experience in:
- international business,
- digital transformation,
- team management
- and strategic partnerships.
I have managed teams and worked at global organisations (i.e. Oxford University Press, Pearson, BBC, Hoya Speech, etc.) in EMEA, APAC and Americas helping them to:
- grow (in revenues and brand awareness),
- transform (hiring new teams, creating more efficiencies, changing through technology)
- and position strategically in the market.
I’m also an investor and entrepreneur.
About the Partnership With consultingheads
You are now CEO of Eurocentres, an international network of language schools. How was the transition to your new position via consultingheads like?
The transition through consultingheads was very swift and easy. They helped me to understand what was needed in a challenging environment with new entrepreneurial owners which allowed me to focus on the right topics from the beginning.
The Role During Eurocentres Transformation
After years of affiliation with its former parent corporation, Eurocentres is currently being put on its own feet in order to be able to operate stand-alone in the future. What is your role during this process and what is the biggest challenge?
Eurocentres was a Swiss global non-for-profit foundation supported by Migros and we are transforming it into a commercial, independent and sustainable organisation. My main role has been to transform the Eurocentres ‘culture’ into a commercial and entrepreneurial company as well as to consolidate and grow it.
As a result, I had to lead and make different changes at all levels including people, processes, partnerships, technology, operations and many more to achieve results. The main challenge – and at the same time advantage – has been to work with people (internal and external stakeholders) to drive results. We have now a great leadership team and partners. The transformation is bringing good results.
A Normal Work Week as a CEO at Eurocentres?
What does a normal week at your new job usually look like and how does it differ from your previous work experiences?
There is no ‘normal’ week for me as it changes all the time. Some topics are normal, for example, looking at the sales results (present and future), looking at our cash flow and debtors position (current and future), managing and meeting internal stakeholders, etc. Each of these topics is key and requires different decisions (i.e. developing new promotions, special partnerships with our agents on different territories that could be affected by their local currency exchange, visas situation, difficult political challenges, etc.).
On top of this, as we are a service provider (we provide education and hospitality), there are always new topics to be resolved and demands from our partners that sometimes require my attention. As we work with multiple source countries who send us students from all over the world as well as multiple destinations, the ‘landscape’ is in constant movement and we need to adapt to it and the market needs.
However, despite being extremely busy, despite the challenges and changes, I am an optimist as I’m blessed and gifted in so many different ways. I try to bring my optimism around as I try to be grateful and value the gifts I have: health, education, food, water, a warm house, a warm shower, a job, a family who loves me… the list could go on and on… sometimes, I feel we complain more than we try to give others, and we need to make a difference here.
The Impact of BREXIT on Eurocentres
Does the BREXIT affect the operational activities at Eurocentres and how do you deal with that?
At Eurocentres, the BREXIT situation is affecting us. The main problem is the impact the news are generating on people as it brings uncertainty. The truth is that BREXIT will create more opportunities for European and global students as the pound will be low (so it will be cheaper for Europeans to come to England) and the government is already ‘opening’ the country more to international students (it recently implemented a new law that will allow university graduates who studied in England to work for 2 years after they finish university).
But at the moment, because of the uncertainty, people in other countries (Latam, Asia, Middle East) are holding their decisions. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved soon after the elections so England could be finally out or maybe remain in the European Union so we can move forward. Everybody in England and in Europe is very disappointed about this uncertain ‘in-between’ situation.
„You are never too old to learn a new language.“ You already speak fluent Spanish and English as well as some Portuguese, French and Italian. What other language would you still like to learn that you haven’t learned, yet?
I really like languages. They open our mind and allow us to view the world from different perspectives. However, I’m a slow learner… I need to make a good effort to learn languages, but the main challenge is the time. I have very limited time now to dedicate for leaning a new language.
Before learning a new language, I need to consolidate and learn more French, Portuguese and Italian as I cannot practise them, so I feel my level is decreasing. If you ask me what language I would like to learn, German would be my choice!
However, I keep learning every day, maybe not languages, but new things from so many people that surround me. I’m always interested and open to learn and push myself out of my comfort zone.
Esteban’s Inspirational Story
Is there something else you would like to share with our readers?
I would like to share a bit of my story to encourage people to keep growing, take opportunities and make efforts.
I grew up in Argentina, I used to live in an isolated farm where there were around 300 horses, 4000 cattle, no sheep as the pumas would eat them… I was surrounded by gauchos (Argentine cowboys) and most of them wouldn’t know how to read or write. But I learned so much from them… We didn’t have drinking water, gas, no phone, TV or internet. I learned to drive when I was 12 and I would drive to school every day taking my brothers and sister to the primary school in a Mercedes Benz 1954. Our closest village of around 700 people was 15 km away and most of my mates would stop coming to school in primary school, many of them to help their parents in their farms.
My parents always encouraged me to read, learn and study.They taught me to push myself to grow (‘if you want to do it, you can do it’) and about the real meaning in life: ‘Be helpful to others and make a difference’. I left home when I was 15 to go to a better school in Buenos Aires, a city of more than 12 million people.
I would only speak to my parents a few times a year and would be back to the farm during winter and summer holidays where I would enjoy my family and work with the gauchos. The hardest thing for me was to leave my ‘paradise’ where I was so happy, but this helped my resilience and later I could adapt to London and many more changes.
My parents’ love and encouragement helped me to move forward and grow discovering my meaning in life. I try to do the same with my four kids now…
I have been working in digital and education and helping companies, teams, couples, parents, individuals for many years. The real change is the inner change, and this allows us to be better professionals, better people building a better world. If we want, we can make it happen, it’s about teamwork in life, too.
Thank you so much for these wonderful words, Esteban! You have inspired us with your positivity. We wish you and your family all the best!