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It’s not easy to build a successful business. It takes energy, gumption and persistence. To build a business while also finding a way to make a difference is a bigger challenge. It takes a multi-faceted woman like Tatiana Pagés.
Chilean-born, Pagés is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of New York City-based branding and strategy firm Greencard Creative. The firm, which just celebrated its five year anniversary, has worked with a wide variety of companies and brands including Pepsi, Heineken and Frito Lay.
Pagés is also an environmental activist. Concerned with the thousands of animals who are killed every year when they become entangled in plastic litter, Pagés developed the Origomu Project which uses design as an instrument of environmental action and social change by encouraging people to transform plastic six-pack rings into wearable art. When Pagés came to my attention I was eager to ask her about her journey.
Over the course of your career, what was your biggest professional challenge?
Credibility. Having an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary mindset, and having the a company vision that stands for innovation “GC, the nomad seeking the new”, it was difficult to convince clients that we could execute the whole project (strategy, research, branding, brand communications, packaging design, logo, positioning and website design and programing) with professional results. Another challenge was gaining the trust that we could work within different industries such as food and beverages, non-profits, countries, biotechnology companies, real estate, and most recently a health and wellness company.
There’s a lot of talk today about balancing our professional and personal lives, what was your greatest personal challenge?
This was a tough challenge. It is hard to have balance when you become an entrepreneur – whether you are an executive or entry level employee in a company you are on one side of the pendulum – a more predictable and safe side, because there is someone on the other side either telling you what to do or following your lead. As entrepreneur you just have one side, because at first you are on your own; the result depends on you alone. In the beginning I practically abandoned my family for a while both physically and mentally. I was never on time for them; they had to wait for me and I almost lost all credibility. I was consumed with the need to attract clients, develop new business pitches, create projects to build content for my company, while trying continuously to build a unique niche for GC so it could really become a long term company. I even abandoned some of my friends who I had to call and say ” I love you…please don’t leave me!” Luckily, my friends and family understood, and continues to stay by my side!
As you look back, what was your greatest success?
My greatest success was, and is, that I have the biggest new business team in the world! My friends are the pillars of Greencard Creative and they have helped to build this company because they respect my work and they love me. New York is one of the important pillars of this company; it helps me run into amazing people while at the same time demanding me to be better every day. I am proud to have a huge circle of people in my life, my friends, coworkers, clients, my coach and PR team, my family and of course the people of NYC!
What was your biggest surprise in business?
Lack of ethics. It is always a surprise when you find people who do not honor agreements.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Go ahead, do it again…if you are not on the edge you will not move forward and build something new.