Vol. 2 | Winter 2009




                          Intellectual Property:
                                your new source ...
PUB LISHER ’ S M EMO



                     A C-Level Community
                                              A
         ...
THE PLAN
                           PUBLISHER’S MEMO                                                         FINE LIVING

...
DAR IN G LE ADERS




                       Johnny Marquez plays the probability game differently than most
             ...
DAR IN G LE ADERS

   “I had established great relationships with farmers     from where Los Colobos is today.
around the ...
DAR IN G LE ADERS


                     You spend a lifetime
                     dreaming and preparing.
               ...
DAR IN G LE ADERS



T
      he biggest meeting in Humberto Berríos’ life lasted     fleet of trucks were dispatched every ...
DAR IN G LE ADERS
                     continued from previous page

                       “Are you sure?” he was asked a...
12   CLevel | Winter 09

                          C - S TO R Y
C - S TO R Y




Innovation has always driven the great leaps of growth in the
  global economy, but never like today. It ...
C - S TO R Y



                       Y
                               es, the economy is still         That’s worth repe...
Intellectual
corporate value, yet investors know       rely on IP and build portfolios have     Property 101
when a compan...
C - S TO R Y




                       Don’t take
                     any chances
                     Not with your int...
C - S TO R Y

ones you have and then get in the                     or brand for a long time, protect it
habit of protecti...
C - S TO R Y
                     Continued from page 15

                        As Blaxill and Eckardt have shown,      ...
C - S TO R Y




 The most successful companies in the world today are maintaining their edge with
 innovation and collabo...
LEV EL AB OV E




                       Want to own
                       an institution
                        You ma...
LEV EL AB OV E




                                 1.
                                            As you draw near the mo...
LEV EL AB OV E




                     4.
                                Purchase life insurance for the new            ...
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
LEV EL AB OV E




                     When it comes to penetrating
                     the U.S. market using a Supplier...
LEV EL AB OV E

Monica pursued university studies in Gainesville, Florida.    (MWBE) in the United States, driven by three...
LEV EL AB OV E
                     continued from previous page

                     sort of SD how-to emerged, a set of...
30   CLevel | Winter 09

                          NEX T LEV EL
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
31136 Revista C Level
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31136 Revista C Level

  1. 1. Vol. 2 | Winter 2009 Intellectual Property: your new source of Big Growth The historian-collector Business succession Thriving in the U.S. side of Tony Tirri by the book
  2. 2. PUB LISHER ’ S M EMO A C-Level Community A curious thing happened when the first edition of C-Level was put in the mail last Spring. It wasn’t that we received so many calls, emails and letters of thanks and congratulations – for which we remain grateful beyond measure. It was the tone, even the passion, that took us by surprise. The hunger for something different. The genuine appreciation for the companies, people and topics covered. In the weeks and months that followed, as the comments and conversations continued, it occurred to us that we had created something quite special indeed. Not the magazine, necessarily, as special as we think it is. Rather, a community. Like-minded C-level executives (chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief marketing officers… chief level officers) coming together around a series of stories and ideas. Busy people taking a time out to reflect on angles they’re not getting from any other source – connecting, if you will, to a more human side of that which we call business. Ramón A. (Tony) Pérez If you recall or can refer back to my letter to you in the first edition, that is, in fact, Chairman of the Board the purpose and role of C-Level: to bring you stories that not only inform and help Fulcro Insurance, Inc. you manage your business and your risks, but also have those same stories inspire by focusing on the human side. The story behind the story. In this edition, we bring you some great inside looks. Like Johnny Marquez. Everyone thought he was crazy when making decision after decision, but he proved them all wrong. You’ll also read about the journey that led Humberto Berríos to the biggest meeting – and decision – of his life. And the thought process followed by Angel Rodríguez as he engineered a textbook business succession and secured his company’s legacy. Then there’s Monica Maldonado, the vivacious “Cartagenera” who has done so much for the cause of minority- and women-owned businesses in America, while building her own in Atlanta. Read the story behind Hernán and Luis Ayala’s bold innovation at the Port of San Juan, and the story of another innovation, this one by our friends at Universal Insurance. As was the case in the first edition, we know you’ll love the Fine Living and Fun Living stories this time around. You know Tony Tirri as a tough, no-nonsense businessman who created an empire in Puerto Rico. Here, you’ll learn an entirely different side of the man. The same with Luis Soto, who changes from his business attire when he gets home and puts on a different kind of suit. Last time, the magazine’s feature story called your attention to the brave new world of cyber risk. This time, our C-Story alerts you to the risks, but more so to the opportunities, found in your intellectual property. The future of your company and of Puerto Rico may very well lie in those pages. Finally, following two pages of socializing and networking (On the Agenda), we bring you an editorial to provoke some thinking on the biggest challenge facing the business world, and particularly the insurance industry, going forward. CLevel | Winter 09 Please keep the comments and conversations coming. This is your magazine, the center of our very special C-level Community. Let’s nurture it. Here’s to its growth! 2
  3. 3. THE PLAN PUBLISHER’S MEMO FINE LIVING 2 C-Level becomes a Community 42 The collector’s mind Tony Tirri’s Islamic fascination DARING LEADERS 46 Insuring your collection 6 Johnny Marquez Consider it an investment Crazy like a fox FUN LIVING 8 Humberto Berríos The fateful moment 50 Reinventing cycling in Puerto Rico Luis Soto’s 400-meter dash C-STORY ON THE AGENDA 12 Breakthrough growth Become a player in IP 54 Voices heard Around and about A LEVEL ABOVE FULCRUM 22 Business succession Here’s how to get it right 56 Global warming, global warning Global insurance companies react 26 The U.S. market Open for business NEXT LEVEL 30 Cranes that roll Bringing innovation to the ports 38 ‘Aerial’ photography GPS at a new level Publisher Design & Production Copyright© 2009 Fulcro Insurance CLevel | Winter 09 Fulcro Insurance Arteaga & Arteaga C No part of this publication may be reproduced, Editor 787.250.0006 stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any Alex Díaz form or by any means electronic, mechanical, 787.923.0743 photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the Publisher. Sales Fulcro Insurance ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Janyra Pérez Blanco 787.616.2929 jperez@fulcroinsurance.com 204 San Francisco St. Old San Juan • 787.725.5880 • www.fulcroinsurance.com 4
  4. 4. DAR IN G LE ADERS Johnny Marquez plays the probability game differently than most people. The odds are against him, you say? Too risky a move, you warn? Nahhh. You’re just not seeing it right, he would say. ‘‘Everyone said Y ou know when you see these older businessmen For Johnny Marquez, it certainly worked. All four from “el campo” presiding over large and of his big decisions. The first came in the late 1950s, successful businesses, and they look sort of when at 12 years of age he decided to go work at the rough around the edges (unpolished, you think Rio Piedras Market (Plaza del Mercado). He learned the to yourself), their businesses located in unappealing ropes, saved a bit of money and three years later he neighborhoods, and yet there they are, prominent and paid $50 and borrowed $100 to buy his own vegetable wealthy, humble as can be, working hard and living stand, selling only eggs and tomatoes. gracefully? “Everyone said I was crazy, since I was only 15, but I And you wonder how they did it, without the formal knew what I was doing,” he recalls. “The opportunity education you had to undergo, without family wealth came up, and I grabbed it.” to finance their ventures. He sold eggs and tomatoes in that single stand for a Rags to riches stories are always inspiring. They bit more than two years, learned the ropes some more include daring risks along the way by folks whose and decided to go for it again, this time selling his stand simple beginnings ingrained a stoic work ethic and purchasing a truck and four other stands, which he CLevel | Winter 09 combined with a matter-of-fact, what’s-the-big-deal consolidated into a single large stand to sell a wide range approach to making what to others would appear to of vegetables to retail and wholesale customers (Pueblo be big decisions. No spreadsheets needed. No fancy Supermarkets among them). That is, he expanded and projections or formal market research. Just gut instinct diversified the business. about what will work. 6
  5. 5. DAR IN G LE ADERS “I had established great relationships with farmers from where Los Colobos is today. around the island, and I would pick up the merchandise every day and bring it to the market,” he told C-Level. Sure enough, “everyone thought I was crazy,” he said (Translation: he broadened his supply chain.) with a chuckle. “But there was nothing else for miles in any direction. Every bone in my body told me it was the Eleven years later, he was at it again. The legendary right thing to do.” (Does any business university teach Domingo Dominguez was selling one of his two Bone Analysis 101?) “almacenes”, or distribution centers, and Marquez jumped at the chance. “Everyone said I was crazy The business thrived from day one, and Johnny again,” he said. It was becoming the story of his life. Marquez has never looked back. In 1988, after a split with his partner, Marquez kept the Calle Loiza location He bought the business, which sold all kinds of food in Ocean Park, renamed it Plaza Loiza Supermarket, and (not just vegetables), ran it for eight years, and then in the years since has added four others for today’s came an even bigger moment. Driving from Luquillo to chain of five, diversified into the gas station business Río Piedras on more than one occasion, he came along (three Gulf stations in the Rio Piedras area) and invested a large plot of land for sale in Canóvanas. He noticed heavily in real estate (owns 60 Section 8 housing units, an absolute lack of food retail or wholesale options for three strip malls, and land around the island). residents and small businesses in the area and decided to buy the land and fill the void. His four children (lawyer, doctor, technology professional and auto technician) run various parts of As fate should have it, his Río Piedras distribution the business, but Marquez is not letting go yet. center was destroyed by a fire and Marquez used the insurance money to complete the development in 1981 Everyone’s waiting to see when he’ll make one of I was crazy’ ’ of what became Plaza Gigante Supermarket, across those crazy moves again. Marquez’s simple beginnings ingrained a stoic work ethic combined with a matter-of-fact, what’s-the-big-deal approach to making what to others would appear to be big decisions. No spreadsheets needed. No fancy projections. Just gut instinct about what will work. 7 CLevel | Winter 09
  6. 6. DAR IN G LE ADERS You spend a lifetime dreaming and preparing. You work your way up, waiting for the chance. For that fateful moment. Sometimes, as with Humberto Berríos, it comes unexpectedly. Suddenly. When it does, will you be ready? He certainly was. Seize the moment CLevel | Winter 09 8
  7. 7. DAR IN G LE ADERS T he biggest meeting in Humberto Berríos’ life lasted fleet of trucks were dispatched every morning to deliver only 30 minutes. Shell’s top managers in Puerto the product. Rico had been complaining for months about the low returns of the company’s Tropigas subsidiary Berríos had spent the better part of his four years as on the island and had called a meeting to decide once a consultant advising Shell on what to do. The game and for all what to do. plan was fresh in his mind. He had pleaded Shell to buy Progas and one or two other competitors. He had It was 1995. As a Shell consultant for the previous four told them that the name of the game going forward years, Berríos had worked only on Tropigas, a liquefied would be LPG’s market advantage as a cleaner fuel than petroleum gas (LPG) distributor in a crowded local oil, gasoline and coal – 20% lower CO2 emissions than market that included several oil, 50% lower than coal, competitors, squeezing “Owning the right business a gasoline substitute that margins to a minimum. at the right time and running could yield a far greater mileage at lower cost, Berríos arrived at it the right way is the best oil changes every 15,000 the meeting a bit late way to manage the risks miles; not to mention and heard the by-then inherent in today’s business zero ground and water common question. “What pollution hazard, low should we do?” His ears world. It gives you greater sulfur and a clean burn. popped open. Could this be freedom. So it’s critical the day? that more Puerto Rican He knew in his bones that much more could be He had become Puerto executives be bitten by the done to pitch LPG to a far Rico’s foremost LPG expert, entrepreneurship bug. We broader customer base – having spent his entire would all be better off.” taxi drivers and corporate career in the field. As a fleets, which instead of Mobil Oil executive for 13 years (1972-1985), not only filling up with gasoline could visit Tropigas stations and had he managed Mobil’s Puerto Rico LPG operation, do much better with LPG; regular drivers who could after rising diligently through the ranks – operations, do likewise; homeowners who could benefit from gas finance, IT, HR… He had also spent three years traveling stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, gas appliances of all the world as part of the company’s New York-based LPG kinds; industrial clients who could likewise gain from International Division. The Persian Gulf, Madagascar, gas-powered boilers at their manufacturing plants, Angola, Asia, South America – he got a crash course in instead of powering with far more costly and far less the global oil and LPG market. eco-friendly electricity. As the meeting moved quickly from issue to issue, the LPG, he was convinced, was the fuel of the moment memories kept coming back. Years before Mobil, as a and of the future, and Tropigas the company best high school student, Berríos had worked at Tropigas. The positioned to lead the way and profit big. And yet there company and the industry became his passion. Tropigas was Shell, wanting out. had become the Pampers and Coke of Puerto Rico’s growing LPG marketplace. “Busca un Tropigas” (go get a “Who should we sell it to?” Of all the questions asked Tropigas) was often heard from the back of a restaurant that day, that was the one Berríos was waiting for. He in every corner of the island, referring to the traditional looked around to gauge the reaction of others and raised tank of gas used for cooking – even if the restaurant his right hand, as if taking an oath. manager was a regular customer of a competing brand. “I’ll buy it.” In 1995, the company faced stiff competition. Empire Gas had taken over the #1 spot. But Tropigas had The words came out without hesitation. His hand was great assets, all of which flashed in Berríos’ mind as he firm. His voice sure as could be. He was bitten by the 9 heard the Shell folks debate and ponder. The company entrepreneurial bug as a teenager working at Tropigas, CLevel | Winter 09 boasted one of only two LPG import piers and storage the dream percolating in his chest ever since, but the tank facilities on the island (at the Port of San Juan), chance had never come. When he left Mobil in 1985, along with 10 filling plants well distributed throughout he had a wife and four children and was sure it would Puerto Rico, where customers from every corner would happen then. But God, he would tell himself, must have come fill or buy their tanks, and where the company’s had other plans. continued on next page
  8. 8. DAR IN G LE ADERS continued from previous page “Are you sure?” he was asked at the meeting. purchase agreement, Berríos called Enron and made an offer to acquire its Progas subsidiary on the island, a key “Yes,” was his quick reply. acquisition Shell had not been willing to do. “How much do you think the company is worth? What “Puerto Rico is not big enough for so many competitors,” would be your offer?” Berríos told C-Level, adding that Progas provided the company greater market share and enhanced scale. He was ready for that question as well, after spending four years going through every number and writing Under Berríos, Tropigas also expanded its infrastructure, every spreadsheet, knowing where all the skeletons were making improvements in its port facilities and more than and how much every asset was worth. He knew every doubling the number of filling stations to 26. client and had a close relationship with many of them. Berríos had negotiated all the supplier contracts and After 10 years at the helm and seeing his business knew the price and cost structure better than anyone plan executed as envisioned at that fateful at the company. meeting in 1995, Berríos decided to He was clear what the company was worth and what realize yet another dream. Of his four The decision (to buy) did not come free of risks. Tropigas had been losing market share, the brand no longer as dominant. While the market potential was huge, Shell never moved to capitalize. Berríos was confident, but success was far from self-evident. It was up to him now to make it happen. it would fetch in the market were it to be sold, hoping children, the three boys had joined the company and all along that he would be the buyer. were ready to take over, while dad was longing for a new phase in his life. They engineered a successful succession, “$4.2 million.” Berríos stayed on as chairman, and the patriarch went on to focus on breeding Paso Fino horses, one of which There was a moment of silence, followed by a brief has won several international competitions. discussion of the particulars. They wanted to know how Berríos would finance the acquisition. And he explained Back at the ranch, Humberto Jr., Gabriel and Gustavo convincingly. Tropigas had abundant, high-value, free- are focused on promoting LPG’s environmental pluses, and-clear real estate that could be used as collateral. during this time of growing eco concerns, to take Tropigas to the next level. “The timing could not be “OK. Done. Congratulations.” The deal was sealed. A better,” said the chairman. few months later, Tropigas was his, as was the dream of owning his own business. For his efforts, the successful risk-taker has won numerous accolades, most notably the 2003 Ernst & The decision did not come free of risks. After all, Tropigas Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. had been losing market share for some time, the brand no longer as dominant. While the market potential was “Entrepreneurship is what I always wanted to do,” he huge in his mind and powerpoint presentations, Shell concluded. “Like me, there are so many executives in never moved to capitalize. Berríos was confident, but Puerto Rico with the ability to do it. I know far too many success was far from self-evident. It was up to him now who don’t because they say they’re already comfortable, to make it happen. so why bother. But with the economy as unpredictable as it is, the riskier move is to keep working for someone True enough, he now acknowledges. “But in moments else. Owning the right business at the right time and like that, you can’t hesitate or second-guess yourself. I running it the right way is the best way to manage CLevel | Winter 09 was sure I could get it done. The plan was sound. The the risks inherent in today’s business world. Ownership vision, the concept, the idea – it all made too much provides greater security and the wealth and equity to sense, and that made the risk manageable.” realize your dreams. It gives you greater freedom. So it’s critical that more Puerto Rican executives be bitten by The first step was clear. The ink not yet dry on the the entrepreneurship bug. We would all be better off.” 10
  9. 9. 12 CLevel | Winter 09 C - S TO R Y
  10. 10. C - S TO R Y Innovation has always driven the great leaps of growth in the global economy, but never like today. It is the defining force of the Knowledge Economy, the source of growth among the world’s leading companies, and it is yours for the taking. 13 But if you want to join the innovation game, make sure you CLevel | Winter 09 master the rules of Intellectual Property.
  11. 11. C - S TO R Y Y es, the economy is still That’s worth repeating: the as well as the leading companies lousy. True, it’s tough to creation, inside your mind, of a around the world growing in this raise revenues. But – and product or service that offers a sluggish economy – have picked it’s a BIG but – are you distinctive advantage over all others up on these simple insights and are looking in the right place? and that is later developed and sold moving aggressively to capitalize on in the marketplace. them. Every so often the time comes for C-level executives to stop and But haven’t minds been creating Once a company creates and rethink. After years of recession and distinctive products and services registers an intellectual property, slow growth, this certainly qualifies forever, you might ask? Yes, but it immediately invests in its as one of those times. never like today. Not even close. development, marketing and sale. And therein lies the first big insight You invest in building the brand. Much has been said about the behind the knowledge economy. You invest in the people, the human world of business being in the Today, the entire marketplace is resources, that will drive its success. midst of a seismic transition. First driven by heaps of innovation taking there was the industrial era. Then place. Most of those assets are intangible. the information age. And now, we In the industrial age, and even in the are told time and time again, the It is a huge opportunity for you hardware-heavy information age, “Knowledge” in the knowledge economy is the creation, inside your mind, of a product or service that offers a distinctive advantage over all others. Intellectual property is when you own those creations through patents, trademarks and copyrights, allowing you to develop and sell them in the marketplace. moment has come for the knowledge and all C-level executive looking for most investment was economy. new revenue sources, as well as for in physical stuff, like Puerto Rico as a country looking to machinery and equipment. Since But wait a minute. Exactly what create jobs and become a far bigger as recently as 2004, and for the first is the knowledge economy? It is player in the global knowledge time ever, most business investment such an amorphous concept. The economy. in the United States has been in most common reply to the question intangible property, the bulk of it goes something like this: In the Own, then profit related to intellectual property. knowledge economy, the most important competitive advantage Then there’s the second big insight That’s more than $1.2 trillion in is, well, knowledge – knowing more behind today’s knowledge economy. the U.S. alone. That’s not a typo: than anyone else so you can outfox Once you create something, you $1.2 trillion. By contrast, investment the competition and get the deal. have to own it. Own the very idea. in physical assets is barely $1 Own the creation, even before the trillion. Since the mid-1970s, in fact, Sometimes, the knowledge product is produced and ready for investment in intellectual capital has economy is lumped together with sale. Sometimes years before. grown from 4% of U.S. gross domestic the information economy. But product to slightly over 10%, with no of course, since it takes so much The creation, the idea, is called an end in sight, while tangible capital new knowledge to drive the digital intellectual property. You own it as investment has remained stuck at revolution. And sure enough, digital soon as you create it in your mind, but 10% of GDP during this entire time. is part of the knowledge economy, you have to register it with the local but only a part. and federal government by way of In that same period, market patents, copyrights and trademarks capitalization of public companies in Truth be told, and you may be in order to protect that ownership. the U.S. went from 17% of corporate happy to know, the concept is far Otherwise, if someone else learns of value to 86%, according to The simpler. The knowledge economy is your creation and registers it first, he Invisible Edge, a milestone book on CLevel | Winter 09 called as such because it involves any or she owns it. (See box.) intellectual property written by Mark distinctive product or service that Blaxill and Ralph Eckardt (2009). your mind, that any mind, can create Why is this so critical to your (using… you guessed it: knowledge!) future? Because the companies What does that mean? That most and that can be commercialized. leading the world of business today – of what goes for intangible does most of the Fortune 500, for starters, not show up on balance sheets as 14
  12. 12. Intellectual corporate value, yet investors know rely on IP and build portfolios have Property 101 when a company has come up with 72% more value-added per employee a winning idea and they recognize than companies that do not. Ideas are free for the taking! No one owns an that value in open trading, as do idea. However, when the idea is fixed in a tangible medium form of expression, it belongs to the one companies when they engage in Welcome to the knowledge economy. who did. Intellectual property is a general term mergers and acquisitions. to describe inventions or discoveries subject Choose your niche. to protection. As soon as you create, you own. Hire people to think. And think big. However, to have ownership of that property in Then build a portfolio. the United States, one must seek protection by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office or the Can this be done in Puerto United States Patent and Trademark Office. The name of the game, as Blaxill Rico? Can you? We’ve become so and Eckardt discovered following the accustomed to being a country- There are three basic ways of establishing most extensive analysis yet published factory for other people’s ideas – intellectual property ownership under the law: of today’s knowledge economy, has the place where global companies patents, trademarks and copyrights. Patents apply to industrial or business inventions or innovations, become intellectual capital. Hire manufacture the mind creations of such as a new product. Trademarks apply to people to think. Provide incentives thinkers back in American, European names, designs and logos, while copyrights are for them to create product and and Asian headquarters and labs used for such artistic creations as books, songs, service ideas that are unique and – that we haven’t developed the plays, paintings and sculptures. distinctive. Build a portfolio of vision or culture to create our own There is a fourth type of intellectual property, intellectual properties (patents, blockbuster products and sell them trade secrets, which as the name implies, involve trademarks, copyrights and trade all over the world. ideas such as formulas, corporate information secrets). Make sure you own them all. and processes that are critical to the success or And then go all out to commercialize That may soon change. The uniqueness of a company or product. However, and capitalize – translation: to sell government’s Science and Technology trade secrets are not protected by the law in the same manner because these may not be registered like crazy and make lots of money. Trust has been developing technology anywhere. Other means such as non-disclosure corridors precisely for this purpose, agreements, non-compete clauses and secure Maintain an endless portfolio flow. to attract top talent from the island employee contracts are used instead. As some patents expire, you will and around the world and come up always have others in the pipeline with products and services right here The objective is for others not to copy your IP and thereby steal your competitive advantage. If and products coming on stream. on the island. someone learns of your product idea and registers Innovate, innovate, innovate. Build it first, he or she now owns it. You may, of course, your business around invention and Regional consortia, university file a lawsuit to reclaim your “property”, but innovation. centers and non-profit organizations oftentimes the courts rule in favor of the person or have sprouted throughout Puerto company with ownership of the patent, trademark or copyright. As the owner of a new intellectual Rico to follow the same game plan: property, you can build a supplier promote entrepreneurship and Patents and trademarks must be established in or partner network around it. innovation. each country separately. If you patented a product Don’t just pass on your invention idea in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and someone copies to a larger company that will then While the government has taken it in Argentina, he or she owns it in Argentina. commercialize it. Stay in the an industrial-policy approach – The process of international registration is game. Build your own network of preferring certain industries (high- facilitated by entities such as the World Intellectual companies, each with a piece of the tech, biosciences and aerospace, Property Organization (WIPO), which seeks action, and lead the effort. for example) over others – other compliance of international treaties by signatory local players are moving in different countries, and offers guidance and services in processing registration applications in those That’s how the most successful directions. territories. companies in the world today are maintaining their edge. With Like green, encouraged and funded In Puerto Rico, the professionals best suited to innovation and collaboration. They by none other than President Barack represent a company in these matters are usually create, they patent-trademark- Obama, who is pumping federal IP lawyers such as the four featured in this spread, particularly to secure ownership under the law. copyright, protect their trade secrets, dollars into the innovation of all To build a brand or commercialized a product, develop the products and services, things green (technologies, renewable marketing experts and business consultants may build a network, sell the new energy, smart grids, green buildings be better able to help, as well as human resources products, and do it again and again. and homes, green appliances, etc.), professionals to hire, incentivize and manage your And again. as well as innovations that will drive thinkers and creators. Insurance agents help with risk coverage, and a new breed of financier has down the spiraling cost of health emerged to specialize in trading IP assets, securing By most accounts, companies that care. financing for new IP, and otherwise manage the financial side of your ideas.
  13. 13. C - S TO R Y Don’t take any chances Not with your intellectual proper ty, advise five exper ts, who counsel on protecting and insuring your IP to maximize your commercial success W hen it comes to your “Get to know intellectual property other ways. (See box.) company’s intellectual law,” advises Thelma Rivera, a partner property, “better safe at the Hato Rey law firm Goldman “Trade secrets can be protected than sorry” is more Antonetti and one of the five with strong confidentiality than an old adage. It is the sort participants in a recent roundtable agreements and well-drafted of advice that can save you lots of discussion on intellectual property contracts that leave no room for money, perhaps even your business. hosted by C-Level. misunderstanding,” said Hector Reichard, senior partner at law firm That’s because, on the one hand, “It’s sad to say, but far too many Reichard & Escalera, adding that your intellectual property can be people are simply careless about since trade secrets are not subject copied and stolen far more easily than their intellectual property and are to patent, trademark or copyright your physical property. Someone too trusting of other people who protection, the best advice is to gets a hold of your idea for this have not necessarily earned that protect it “as you do other things unique and distinctive product, seeks trust,” she added. “Protection begins you place in a safety deposit box. registration for protection before you by being extremely careful which Just make damn sure no one finds do, and you’re out of luck. conversations you engage in, who out who is not supposed to.” you trust with sensitive information On the other hand, you may about new products, trade secrets Even KFC and Coke, with their infringe on someone else’s and the like. That’s why the first famed formulas and secret recipes, intellectual property rights and step should always be to seek legal “cannot protect their trade secrets not know it. You come up with protection of all IP.” any other way,” said Paul Ferrer, also this fantastic idea, develop it, go of Goldman Antonetti. through great expense to market That’s done with patents, it and sell it, and one day you find trademarks, copyrights and trade ‘But I’ve been using it out in a lawsuit that your fantastic secrets the four types of IP subject for a long time!’ idea occurred to someone else years to legal protection. Patents, CLevel | Winter 09 prior and he or she had already built trademarks and copyrights are An important first step, added a business around it. protected through statutes drafted Ferrer, is to inventory all your IP and for those specific types of property then go about the task of protecting What can you do to avoid these and even have government entities each one as thoroughly as possible. potential disasters? that secure their protection through “It can get complicated, because registration. Trade secrets, the there are so many kinds of IP. But fourth type, must be protected in the first thing to do is to sort out the 16
  14. 14. C - S TO R Y ones you have and then get in the or brand for a long time, protect it habit of protecting all new IP assets and avoid the risk. It’s never too you come up with.” late.” One thorny issue is adaptation. Speaking of managing risks, What if your great new idea is a twist obtaining insurance coverage is on an existing product or brand? one way to go, according to Arturo “It needs to be truly unique and Ortiz, business development partner different,” clarified Jean Paul Vissepo, for Fulcro Insurance. a partner at law firm Sanchez & Vissepo. “The legal standard is the “It’s important to be aware that likelihood of confusion as perceived traditional insurance policies are by the public. Your new mark must not designed to cover the majority “In the end, this is about protecting something with the objective of turning it into a major driver be inherently distinctive to the of loss exposures that are associated of the business. IP can and should be a source consumers for it not to infringe on with IP,” he explained. “Through of sales and growth, when managed with that in others’ business name.” highly specialized policies, you can mind. It’s not about legal technicalities. It’s about the future of your business.” protect against potential lawsuits Hector Reichard Then there are those cases in if you infringe someone else’s IP Reichard & Escalera which a company has been using a and insure for the legal costs and product or brand for years without potential losses if you must sue ever registering it and along comes someone for infringing on yours.” a competitor and obtains a patent or trademark protection for the Along this entire journey, Reichard same product or brand. advises C-level executives not to lose sight of the big prize. “In the end, “In many cases, the right goes to this is about protecting something the company that has been using it with the objective of turning it into for a long time, not to the one that a major driver of the business. IP just registered it,” said Rivera. “But can and should be a source of sales again, why take the chance? It’s a and growth, when managed with really fine line and you never know that in mind. It’s not about legal “It’s sad to say, but far too many people are simply careless about their intellectual property. which way the judge will decide. So technicalities. It’s about the future Protection begins by being extremely careful which even if you’ve been using a product of your business.” conversations you engage in, who you trust with sensitive information about new products, trade secrets and the like.” Thelma Rivera Goldman Antonetti 17 It’s important to be aware that traditional Making an inventory of all your intellectual insurance policies are not designed to cover the property “can get complicated, because there are majority of loss exposures that are associated with so many kinds of IP. But the first thing to do is CLevel | Winter 09 IP. Through highly specialized policies, you can to sort out the ones you have and then get in the “It needs to be truly unique and different. The protect against potential lawsuits if you infringe habit of protecting all new IP assets you come up legal standard is the likelihood of confusion as someone else’s IP and insure for the legal costs with.” perceived by the public. Your new mark must be and potential losses if you must sue someone for Paul Ferrer inherently distinctive to the consumers for it not infringing on yours.” Goldman Antonetti to infringe on others’ business name.” Arturo Ortiz Jean Paul Vissepo Garriga Fulcro Insurance Sanchez & Vissepo
  15. 15. C - S TO R Y Continued from page 15 As Blaxill and Eckardt have shown, Join the IPX league Home Depot, Intel, Kellog’s, Levi anyone can do it. The authors point to Strauss, Macy’s, Marriott, Prudential, the latest famed example, Facebook Today, you have other things Rite Aid, and others. But there are founder Mark Zuckerberg, who you can do with your intellectual also unknown types of all sizes. created the idea while still in college, property, in addition to developing complete with all its sections and partnerships and selling products. An The indices and IPX use a robust operating systems, and immediately entire market has developed to trade methodology to calculate the value proceeded to protect EVERYTHING. not just the developed products, of an IP, the innovation ratio (IP Once he secured total ownership of but the patents, trademarks and value/book value) and the revenues a all the intellectual property, he got copyrights themselves – particularly company earns from licensing its IP. the needed investment, brought in patents, given the big marketable partners to develop applications (all innovations behind this type of IP. Also proliferating in the U.S. and the tools Facebook fans love around the world are IP advisory and to use), and the rest is The company leading venture capital firms. One of the history. the IP revolution more interesting ones is Intellectual is Ocean Tomo, a Ventures out of Washington state. Two years ago, Chicago-based On its website, the firm articulates Microsoft paid merchant banking a vision of “creating a more efficient $260 million for firm that recently and dynamic invention economy” 1.6% of Facebook, launched IPX, and extols the virtues of its Invention which means the the Intellectual Science “infrastructure”, a series latter was worth Property Exchange of services to conduct IP analysis, $15 billion at the International. licensing, networking and otherwise time. And it has grown Similar to a stock and “manage and monetize a portfolio of exponentially since. commodities exchange, inventions protected by intellectual When one considers the IPX is the place where property rights.” goodwill associated with people buy and sell the Facebook trademark IP. Just as traditional Many financial institutions have today and how unknown it exchanges have companies developed derivatives and other was only a few years ago, listed, so does IPX, with a instruments to facilitate the sale and one begins to get a sense list of companies that have trading of IP assets and therefore of the boundless pontential “especially strong intellectual provide liquidity to this emerging behind a sound IP strategy. It property, including patents, innovation marketplace. has become the driving force behind trademarks and copyrights.“ the value provided to consumers. Build a global brand Ocean Tomo has divided those “There is absolutely no reason why companies into a set of indices: the While most of the attention is this can’t be done here in Puerto 300 Patent Index, the 300 Patent focused on patents, no company Rico. Innovation and the intellectual Growth Index, and the 300 Patent should overlook the importance of property system that supports it Value Index. Companies listed trademarks as a source of significant should be at the center of the island’s include big names with “strong IP” growth and market value. development going forward,” said spanning the gamut of industries: attorney Hector Reichard of Reichard American Express, Alcoa, Aegon, Think Disney and world-leading & Escalera in Hato Rey (see related Adidas, Baxter, Best Buy, Cartier, family entertainment comes easily story). Citigroup, Coke, DHL, Ebay, Esprit, to mind. Coca-Cola is synonymous Gannett, Goodrich, Grupo Bimbo, with refreshment, Apple with fun CLevel | Winter 09 In the industrial age and the hardware-heavy information age, most investment was in machinery and equipment. Since as recently as 2004, and for the first time ever, most business investment in the United States has been in intangible property, the bulk of it related to intellectual property. 18
  16. 16. C - S TO R Y The most successful companies in the world today are maintaining their edge with innovation and collaboration. They create, they patent-trademark-copyright, protect their trade secrets, develop the products and services, build a network, sell the new products, and do it again and again. And again. computing, Starbucks with a unique the name, protect it, give it deep reading this story will want fast food experience. Armani equals brand power, and make it the driver to help. exquisite Italian design in fashion. So of your company’s value, reputation, does Ferrari in automobiles. sales and growth. Master the IP rules. Win the innovation game. If these companies were for sale, As common as this is among the this brand power – their biggest world’s great companies, it is a game Ever since the industrial revolution competitive edge in the marketplace most Puerto Rico businesses and picked up steam in the 19th century, – would drive the negotiation and the C-level executives are not playing, as all great leaps in productivity and price. Yet, it’s not a tangible asset, or revealed by a glance at the names, wealth have come as a result of at least what is generally understood logos, cultures and branding of the great leaps in innovation. The steam as one. It’s not real estate or a pile island’s leading local companies. engine. The railroad. Electricity and of inventory or accounts receivables, Most local executives underestimate the light bulb. The telephone. Cars and it certainly doesn’t show up on the importance of branding and and planes. The computer. The the companies’ financials. The value goodwill as a driving force behind internet. To name but a few. is in the goodwill associated with the their companies’ sales and market brand name and what it means to value and fail to make the needed The difference between then and consumers. investments. now is sheer volume. The knowledge economy is so defined because an The amount of capital invested by The same IP power applies to unprecedented number of people leading companies in building these copyrights, in the case of authors, and companies are doing it, because intangible assets is monumental. The songwriters, screenplay writers, financial markets are now driven trick is to create the name, design, painters and all art-related by it, because intellectual property symbols, slogan and logo (corporate professionals and companies. portfolios have secured their place at ID, store ambiance, your look and feel), Judging from the proliferation of the center of today’s great leaps and secure it with trademark protection, Puerto Rican singers and songwriters have proliferated those leaps. and then build an entire business selling their CDs around the world, around it: a reputation for quality the island’s music and recording Which brings us back to you. What and great service, reliable distribution, industry is playing the game quite can you innovate? What can your a phenomenal experience, all those well, thank you – a lesson local mind create? Who can you hire to things that develop a strong customer painters, screenplay writers and think? Can you build your business following, a contagious employee authors would be well advised to or a new business (or an acquired culture, great word of mouth – in heed. business) around innovation and sum, high goodwill, a great brand. 19 the global sales of your new pipeline While the island’s recording of patented, trademarked and CLevel | Winter 09 And that, in turn, creates the industry is well developed and honed copyrighted products? market value an investor or some for global business, industries like other company will want to acquire publishing of literary works (songs, Learn the rules of intellectual in the future. That is the potential of books) and talent management are property, and you’re ready to play the sound trademark management. Own not. Perhaps C-level executives innovation game.
  17. 17. LEV EL AB OV E Want to own an institution You may want to follow the American Agencies ? example of non-family business succession I t took the team of seven new owners, including new leaders who know they will only be at the helm for 25 President Omir Méndez, several weeks, perhaps months, years or so, each succession ensuring the continuity of before they realized it. It grew on them, as it did on the focus and strategy that enables, in turn, the continuity team of two who had recently passed them the torch. of success – the company becoming, indeed, a legacy to hand over from generation to generation. American Agencies had gone from being a company to becoming an institution. It is the stuff institutions are made of, like many of the big global brands we often read about in The Wall Founded in 1956 by an entrepreneur team led by Jorge Street Journal and learn about in business schools and Rivera Cardona, the construction supplier based in Rio books. Companies that become legendary because their Piedras achieved a smooth transition of ownership 28 leaders know it’s not about them, but rather about the years later, handing over the reins in 1984 to a seven- company and the brand. member management team led by new President Angel Rodríguez. A winning formula So it is at American Agencies. (The company Twenty-three years after that, in 2007, Rodríguez specializes in structural steel, metal doors, bathroom engineered the same feat, adopting and adapting partitions and architectural hardware.) the succession model Rivera had used and guiding the company through its second seamless transition, “One of the most important objectives we had in mind the current owners selling the company to a team of when we began the process was to select the team that CLevel | Winter 09 managers who had been with the company for years. would best continue what Jorge Rivera began in 1956, as well as carry on the work and tradition that our team has It is a model Méndez and his team plan to use yet followed,” said Rodríguez. “Sure, they will make changes again when it becomes their turn to move on. The along the way, as did we. That’s what every company must pattern will thus be established. American Agencies do to adapt to the times and grow. But the continuity of will endure, becoming “bigger” than the temporary purpose and general strategy is critical.” 22
  18. 18. LEV EL AB OV E 1. As you draw near the moment when you want to hand over the company – for Rodríguez it was around 2002 – begin identifying the members of your management team with the caliber to become the new owners. It’s the pool from where Said Méndez: “This is the new president will be selected. You may want to recruit over the years with succession in mind, hiring folks with the potential to run the a formula that has been company. proven twice already, and Why current management, as opposed to selling the company to we know it works, so we outsiders who would then select a new president? “Continuity, intimate plan to do the same.” knowledge of the company, strong client relationships, deep commitment,” answered Rodríguez. “It’s the path that ensures the highest probability of success. These guys have been part of the team for years. They know Indeed, the basic everything, and they have proven they’re more than able to do the job.” elements of the formula are broadly followed in 2. Determine how the retiring owners will be paid. At American Agencies, the seven managers selected to become the new business successions owners agreed to purchase the shares of the two retiring around the world. owners (the other being Guillermo Menéndez), who also began as seven in 1984 – “some passed away and others retired,” said It is, in effect, a textbook Rodríguez. case consisting of these The new owners will make payments over the coming years in what six steps: is called estate freezing: common shares of the retiring owners are converted to preferred shares, and new common shares are issued for the succession. Future gains are applied to the new shares in order not to be taxable upon the retiring owners’ death “We wanted to do everything by the book, including the tax issue,” he said, adding that this method also leaves sufficient capital in the company’s coffers. “We didn’t do this in 1984, and the new team at the time took over without any capital.” 3. Choose a process to select the new president. As it turned out, all seven new owners in 2007 were capable, but Rodríguez set a rule that only an engineer could be president, reducing the “We’re here to take choice to three. How, then, to select? care of the company “Since they were all qualified, the group decided to put it up for a for a while, truly care vote,” he explained. The seven voted, and Méndez was elected. for it, make it grow and pass it on, just like it As it turns out, the same happened in the 1984 succession. Rodríguez was passed on to us.” recalls he was elected for the same reasons Méndez believes he was elected 23 this time around: preparation, personality, ability and youth. Both were – Omir Méndez, President, CLevel | Winter 09 in their early-to-mid 30s, ensuring a long tenure and – there’s the C word American Agencies again – continuity.
  19. 19. LEV EL AB OV E 4. Purchase life insurance for the new Owning a legacy owners, with the company as the That’s the formula. It is, in many ways, capitalism in beneficiary. If one were to die, the its purest form: get a good education, join a strong policy, in effect, pays for the shares. company, work your way up through the ranks on “We didn’t do this in 1984, and it became an the strength of your merits, join the management issue when an owner would pass away,” revealed team, accumulate capital, and when it comes time for Rodríguez. succession, you may become an owner and perhaps the company’s president. Others launch their own businesses or are recruited as owner-presidents by a company. For most C-level 5. Consider keeping the outgoing president as chairman of the board, as executives, however, ownership through management did Rodríguez and Rivera before him. succession (in a non-family-owned business) is the Again, continuity. smoothest and most likely way to go. “It seems the natural thing to do,” said Méndez. You may want to make sure, though, that the company “It’s great to have him there when we need him, is of this succession mindset, or that you as a C-level to offer his advice, to help in the transition with executive can engineer the model at the company. Then certain clients, and in other ways. Besides, the you, too, may contribute to the continuity of that which strategy did not change with the change in is called a legacy institution. management. We all took part in defining the strategy over the years, so the fact Angel stayed Méndez feels the legacy effect most poignantly when on as chairman was a seamless process.” founder Jorge Rivera, now aged and frail, stops by the office, unannounced, to see how things are going. “It’s always a special moment,” says the new young president. “Seeing him and how much he still cares 6. Communicate the change prudently. makes all of us in the new team – and every employee, American Agencies only announced the for that matter – stop and reflect on what we’re here to transition to its employees, and only as do. We’re here to take care of the company for a while, it was taking place, as well as to clients truly care for it, make it grow and pass it on, just like it and certain suppliers. Why not communicate it was passed on to us.” in the press or have a high-profile celebration? Not necessary, they both answered. In fact, most American Agencies, he continues, is not a family privately-owned companies remain quiet about business, but “it feels like a family, and that’s part of the their successions. legacy we’re here to carry on as well.” It is capitalism in its purest form: get a good education, join a strong company, earn your way up through the ranks, join the management team, accumulate CLevel | Winter 09 capital, and when it comes time for succession, you may become an owner and perhaps the company’s president. 24
  20. 20. • • • • • • • • • •
  21. 21. LEV EL AB OV E When it comes to penetrating the U.S. market using a Supplier Diversity strategy, one veteran of many battles says it ultimately comes down to persistence and heart. How much do you want it? D on’t give up.” the lesson should not be lost. The SD circuit, a natural way for such companies to penetrate the national If any statement summarizes Monica market, promises huge gains, but only if pursued Maldonado’s approach to supplier diversity intelligently. (SD), it is this one. “There are always opportunities, but it’s a process that The Colombia-born printing and marketing executive takes time. The important thing is to be persistent and should know. She’s been knocking on Corporate America not give up. It’s a test of one’s will and endurance,” CLevel | Winter 09 doors (large U.S. corporations) since joining the family said Maldonado, adding a simple measure of that test: business in 1984, and particularly since taking over the “How badly do you want it?” Atlanta-based company from her father eight years ago. The Maldonados began testing their own will in 1982, For businesses in Puerto Rico – indeed, for minority- when Monica’s parents left their beloved Cartagena to and women-owned businesses anywhere in America – launch a Minuteman Press franchise in Atlanta, while 26
  22. 22. LEV EL AB OV E Monica pursued university studies in Gainesville, Florida. (MWBE) in the United States, driven by three factors. First, the expanded role of minorities and women in the The business ran into a wall, since the franchise was economy, with women having long become the nation’s too focused on small orders from retail and walk-in primary consumers and minorities the fastest-growing customers and could only grow so much. Five years consumer segment. The logic for large corporations is later, it changed its name and focus. clear: having more MWBEs in their supply chains helps Interprint Communications, as the company was build brand loyalty among minorities and women in renamed, began targeting larger commercial accounts, general, which strengthens sales. and in the years following Monica’s entry into the business, the diversification broadened further. In Second, MWBE suppliers provide important market addition to printing, the company offered creative insights into consumer patterns, which also ultimately design, branding, marketing, advertising, promotions translates into sales. And third, supplier diversity and other solutions, all under the vision of an integrated (and diversity in general) has become part of large one-stop shop for clients of any size, small or large. (It corporations’ social responsibility. As pressure continues uses the domain ok2print.com on the web.) to build on Corporate America to assume a bigger role in social wellbeing, diversity has taken center stage. The first big deal came from Bellsouth (now At&T), and today Interprint boasts relationships with such For most of the last two decades, the SD process Atlanta-based corporate giants as The Home Depot, followed a predictable pattern: a company would obtain Supplier diversity has become a sort of holy grail for the growth of minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) in the U.S., driven by three factors: the expanded role of minorities and women in the economy, the important market insights to be had, and the fact that supplier diversity (and diversity in general) has become part of large corporations’ social responsibility. Cox Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta certification as a MWBE, submit its credentials to a wide Community Credit Union, and Comcast among others. range of corporations, the latter would place them on vendor lists, and both MWBEs and corporations would The company recently completed an investment of join and network through any number of minority and more than $2 million in new facilities, a six-color press, women business organizations at both the national and a new information system, and a prepress plate maker state levels. system, all of which expands capacity to a new level. Interprint also launched a new Internet-only printing site, Aside from their networking and dealmaking role, dway2print.com, to target business anywhere. In 2010, many organizations served as pressure groups, taking Maldonado will launch The IP Store, a chain of outlets their SD case directly to CEOs and corporate boards and that will provide a wide array of business services. holding them accountable to performance scorecards and ratings. “Our clients will have no excuse not to give us the opportunity,” she said. “We fill unique niches with the As the years rolled on and with every success and diversity of our portfolio offerings. We are ready for horror story told, both sides accumulated significant growth.” learnings. SD long-timer Maldonado has lived the entire evolution, and she has done so as both a woman A supplier diversity how-to owner and a minority owner, from a leadership position in various organizations and as an outspoken, always 27 Much of that expansion is aimed at Corporate passionate advocate of the MWBE cause. America, a segment Maldonado continues to target CLevel | Winter 09 intensely through the supplier diversity process. “You can say I have a unique perspective.” SD has become a sort of holy grail for the growth Indeed. As she expressed her views to C-Level during of minority- and women-owned business enterprises an exclusive phone interview from her Atlanta office, a continued on next page
  23. 23. LEV EL AB OV E continued from previous page sort of SD how-to emerged, a set of do’s and don’ts that established corporations – what Procter & Gamble is any MWBE in Puerto Rico and elsewhere would do well to Walmart, for example, or Oracle to General Electric. to heed and follow: Most MWBEs are in the other categories. “The higher the tier, the more profitable the contract,” she • The first step is to figure out exactly who you are as a explained, “but for that to happen you need to be the business, what you will offer Corporate America, and right fit for their strategy and understand your fit in why a corporation should choose you instead of another their supply chain. Smaller companies are perceived as supplier. Offer uniqueness. Develop differentiation. being more vulnerable and questions arise as to their Prepare to make world-class presentations. “The outcome. You must show you’re there for the long competition is fierce,” she affirmed. “No one is going haul. So play it very smart and build a lot of trust.” to choose you just because you’re minority- or woman- • In your presentations, relationships and networking, owned. You have to win on merit. The MWBE status is help CEOs and SD directors understand the value an important edge, but it’s only an edge.” and business case of SD for their companies. Don’t • Go through the usual SD drill: assume it’s self-evident. It become certified, join as many needs constant reminding. vendor lists as you can (primarily • Deliver, deliver, deliver. those that promise real deals – In the end, “that’s the companies that may or do need best way to build trust,” your services), and join as many she added. “When you’re MWBE organizations as time contracted for a job, no will allow. Maldonado, for one, matter the size, make sure has been active for years in the you exceed expectations. It Georgia Hispanic Chamber of will set you up for the next Commerce and currently serves as one with that corporation chairwoman, as well as the Atlanta and with others.” Chapter of the National Latina Business Women Association, the • Recognize when you Greater Georgia Women Business won’t be able to deliver Council, the Georgia Minority and don’t even go for Supplier Development Council, those deals. “Know your Monica Maldonado, president of Atlanta-based Interprint Communications, has and a host of others. used her leadership roles in various minority and women business organizations to limits and capabilities,” advocate tirelessly for the advancement of such businesses in the United States. she continued. • Use those memberships wisely. Network, network and network, • Realize that SD is also particularly with the SD directors and other key an avenue to develop business and relationships with decision makers in your target companies. Build other MWBEs. Get into it thinking both channels. friendships and relationships. Earn everyone’s respect. In fact, “chances are you’ll generate more deals When appropriate, assume leadership positions in with other minority businesses than with Corporate the organizations, as they allow for greater access, America, and that’s great,” she exclaimed. “It’s one recognition and reputation. of the reasons we should get into this to begin with. Corporate America, you know, is not for everyone, • Recognize that corporations are no longer adding and there are far more opportunities among smaller MWBEs to their vendor lists just to score points and companies.” show off lots of names. “They’re being far more selective nowadays, consolidating suppliers and In the end, Maldonado returned to her common keeping a smaller number, so it’s a lot more important theme: “Don’t give up. Be persistent. The deals will CLevel | Winter 09 to do this right,” advised Maldonado. be there. It takes time, but in the end it’s more than • Play the tiers. Large corporations generally have worth it. Those who want it more will be the Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers. The first are large, winners. That’s just the way it is.” As Maldonado expressed her views to C-Level, a sort of supplier diversity how-to emerged, a set of do’s and don’ts that any MWBE in Puerto Rico and 28 elsewhere would do well to heed and follow.
  24. 24. 30 CLevel | Winter 09 NEX T LEV EL

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