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Luciana Martins

Luciana Martins, our Positive Woman today, is executive director of Grupo Conecta and director of MPrado Cooperativas. A dreamer, she says she started her career before she was 15, as a saleswoman. At 19, he started working in agribusiness, which he never left. He seized the opportunities that arose and, in a short time, became an important name in the sector. After 18 years, she has given more than 1,500 lectures, worked in the management of more than 500 companies and 400 cooperatives and will promote, in the coming months, six major agribusiness events, without losing the balance between work, family and motherhood. “A woman’s life is all about spinning plates and making choices. However, there are china dishes — family, relationships, health, personal values ​​— that, if they fall, we can never fix again. And there are others that are equally important, but are rubbery, such as career and assets. They can fall without shattering, you can recover these dishes again”, he explains.



1. How did your career start?

My professional career began very early. At 14, my first internship was at Magazine Luiza, in the toy sector, in the sales area. That experience was not work for me, but rather fun. I wanted to buy all the products I sold and discovered that, if you are enchanted by what you sell, the sale is a consequence of the enchantment you transmit to your customers. And that's how I became the best salesperson in the sector that semester. The second internship was at CDL, where I dealt with businesspeople selling access to SPC and Serasa. These were experiences that, very early on, made me understand that, regardless of the profession you choose, your commercial skills will be a decisive factor in your success in any segment. At the age of 17, a period of great learning begins, a real school, the great Algar Group. I started there as an active telemarketer, and I remember that, for six months, I was the best salesperson on my project and they always talked about me as a reference in team meetings, as someone who delivered above and beyond. This is how the first selection process for supervision arises, but at the age of 17 (and only six months with the company). I couldn't participate, but persistence (which I often say is in my DNA, a “no” never limited me, it always challenged me, as the impossible is something that doesn't exist in my dictionary) made me go to the board, with all my performance evaluations and sales results, questioning why I couldn't compete. That vacancy became a goal for me. At that moment, I wasn't asking for the position, I was demanding the right to participate in the process and, if I were capable, I would take on the position I dreamed of. So I became the youngest supervisor in the group, with 40 people under my management. And I found another passion there: motivating people to bring out their best. This enchanted me and I fell more in love with my work every day.

The group was experiencing major changes at a time, and I was challenged by the board to provide training for my team. I received a book from the director, “Who Moved My Cheese”, and thus discovered another great passion: training and speaking. I felt that on stage I fulfilled myself and everyone around me recognized that I belonged there. I gave the lecture to 100% of the 3,000 employees and, from then on, I was invited to be part of the group's university, but this step would require a difficult choice to be made, especially for those who like stability and security, as it was a transition to leave CLT and go to PJ. Undertaking was throwing yourself into the unknown, which presents a series of possibilities, but which carries with it a rain of responsibility. And so Luciana, an entrepreneur, was born with my first training and consultancy company. The discovery was that, in that modality, I could go beyond Unialgar and thus I was able to take greater flights. I taught courses and lectures for a group at a security guard school and for the Army, with a crisis management course in which I trained officers who went on a peace mission to Haiti after the earthquake that devastated that country, an experience that helped me I had a lot to contribute in one of the most challenging and sad moments of my life. Recounting this beginning of my career, I realize how intense these four years were.

I arrived in agriculture at the age of 19, already giving lectures, training and consultancy. That's when I met Marcelo Prado and I remember his words: “I'm going to put you to play. If you present results and score the goal, you will be called up for the MPrado selection.” The first challenge was training on time management and, by coincidence, it was in a cooperative. Since that day, I have become more and more enchanted by agriculture, it has become exclusive in my work, to the point of running 24 days a month, for eight years, carrying out many consultancies on large projects, in 25 states, training resales, industries , companies and cooperatives, conducting strategic planning, commercial management and many other important matters in the development of companies. At that moment, I felt that, after two degrees, countless national and international specializations, my career was at its peak. I was already recognized by the market and, financially, I had already achieved many of the achievements I sought, but a desire pulsed insistently in my heart: the desire to be a mother, to have a child. At that pace of work, I had been trying to get pregnant for three years and hadn't been able to. A break was needed.

The dream came true and a little seed grew in my womb, my prince João Henrique. However, the pace of work still remained intense. Two principles of abortion, and a decision needed to be made. The pressurization of the plane was harming my baby. It was at that moment that I arrived at Marcelo and demonstrated all the fragility that we, mothers, possess as professionals when gestating. Motherhood is in itself a moment of career break, and I wanted to live that dream to its fullest.

During my eight years as a consultant I specialized in cooperatives. It was something natural, due to identification with the system. Little did I know that, in the most beautiful moment of my life, I would receive a gift: the opportunity to become a partner of a professional and human being that I admired every day, Marcelo Prado. When explaining my decision to pause my travels and my career in consultancy, I was challenged to also manage the nucleus called MPrado Coopers, which was born together with my first child, with a clear objective in my heart, that of becoming a reference in development for cooperatives . And there have been 10 years of fulfilling this purpose, which brings great challenges, leading 80 consultants, training more than 400 cooperatives across Brazil and bringing knowledge and development to agribusiness.

A desire to share knowledge and bring together the main agricultural leaders began to invade me in an uncontrollable way. In 2015, the Meeting of Agricultural Cooperatives was born. On that occasion, an events company executed my dream for three editions, however, due to this multinational's strategy, producer and cooperative events are no longer part of the global strategy, thus giving rise to Grupo Conecta, with partners who believed in the project. Today we hold six events in Brazil and two abroad. With well-defined niches, we bring knowledge through Top Farmers, Enca, Encoffee, Mega Pec, Enmcoop, Master Agro Jovem. As executive director, my main concern is always to bring the best in content, programming and networking, and so I have been fulfilling this purpose for eight years, facing two challenging years of pandemic, especially for the events sector. But I say that God empowers us and gives us strength to move forward. In my case, he gave me my second gift. In 2020, my sweet Luísa was born, she was the strength to face any adversity. Anyway, since the beginning of his career in agriculture, he spent 18 years commanding MPrado and Grupo Conecta with a lot of love, having on his CV more than 1,500 lectures across the country, working in the management of more than 500 companies and 400 cooperatives, building a legacy of hard work, dedication and persistence.


2. What was the most difficult moment in your career?

It was a Sunday morning. At that time, I had just finished a convention for a large distributor. I remember that we were at breakfast and the tragedy of Santa Maria, in Rio Grande do Sul, was constantly on the news. They were calling for volunteers, so that anyone who could help would come forward. I didn't know what I would do, but I was sure that I needed to be there. I got in the car, went to Santa Maria and signed up as a volunteer to try to put into practice everything I had learned and taught in crisis management courses for the Army, so I could contribute in some way. There I was willing to do anything I could, something I could clean, something I could help, something I could deliver. The objective was simply to be able to be useful in that moment of so much pain. When registering with the staff who were welcoming the volunteers, they asked me what my knowledge was, so I said: look, I only have the theoretical part about crisis management, I've never worked in one, but the desire to help It's bigger than anything right now. At the same time, they called Major Débora, who was managing the situation, and she looked at me and said: 'You fell from the sky, come, I'll show you what the situation is like'. We walked through all the gyms, from recognizing the bodies to the collective wake. There I saw a real crisis, something of paralyzing proportions, I didn't know where to start, but I was sure there was a lot of work to do.

I requested a clipboard, I needed a plan, a process, so I started organizing the volunteers and forming work teams, so that everyone could do their best and, as far as possible, minimize the pain of those parents. It was two intense days, feet full of calluses and more than a week in hospitals, providing psychological support. But we accomplished the mission. In that moment, I saw mothers and fathers suffering the most intense pain a mother and father can feel. For this reason, I think it was one of the most difficult moments, in which I put knowledge, something I had as a professional skill, into practice. I say that crisis management theory is very different from practice. There I was actually experiencing a crisis, which I needed a minimum of organization to try to minimize, something that could not reduce the pain of those people. There were 250 volunteers and, at the end of the work, we hugged each other. My heart is full of gratitude for everyone who did their best and for God having entrusted me with that mission of leading so many people with a giant heart.


3. How do you manage to balance your personal life x corporate/entrepreneurial life?

A woman's life is all about spinning plates and making choices. However, there are china dishes — family, relationships, health, personal values ​​— that, if they fall, we can never fix again. And there are others that are equally important, but are rubbery, such as career and assets. They can fall without shattering, you can recover these dishes all the time. I see, all the time, women suffering from having to choose between their different priorities, which to help first. I have the privilege of having a life partner who drives me and helps me manage my tasks, but I am aware that this is a rarity. We need to know that we will not be able to control everything and handle everything. The equation of happiness lies precisely in reducing expectations and increasing reality and, thus, I seek balance in my life, always prioritizing my porcelain dishes, understanding that I do not have control over everything and everything is fine, reducing my level of expectation for myself and, mainly, for others, being grateful for the reality that presents itself and placing faith above all.


4. What is your biggest dream?

I am a dreamer by nature and I always try to break bigger dreams into small, everyday achievements, which help to achieve big goals. My greatest personal desire is to build a family so that my children become fulfilled human beings, with solid foundations and deep roots. So, I try to build their self-esteem every day, help them discover their abilities and understand that gratitude will be their greatest virtue. As a professional, I am fulfilling a big dream. I have always dedicated myself to technical and management issues, and now I have dedicated myself to leaving my legacy with the project “A Purpose called Agro”. I want to awaken people's Ikigai, show them that the impossible should not exist and that, if God allows you to dream, you can achieve it. I know that many fruits will come from this project and I have dedicated myself to it with all my heart. A personal dream is to see the world, which is currently divided, and reach 40 countries by the time I'm 40. There are six countries and three years left to reach this goal. I am sure that many other goals will come, as we can never lose the ability to dreamr.


5. What is your greatest achievement?

I am grateful for all the achievements I have had throughout my life. Today I have many things that I once prayed for, and each of them has a space in my gratitude jar: my family, my career, my companies. The Luciana I am today is the result of small daily achievements that have always been celebrated.


6. Book, film and woman you admire.

“Start with Why”, by Simon Sinek. It is a book that seeks meaning, the purpose of our actions beyond profit. There's even a quote from Mark Twain that I use a lot in my lectures and that I believe sums up the book, despite not being in it: “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you discover the why?". The film “Waiting for a Miracle” has always been my favorite, I believe I have watched it about 30 times and I always cry at the end. And a woman I admire for her career is Malu Nachreiner, a woman who, through her competence, went from being an intern to being the CEO of one of the largest agribusiness industries in the world.


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