Fernando Silva: The story of my CV

How do you become a CEO at 30? Fernando Silva, MediaCom Latin America CEO, shares the story of his CV.

What did you want to be when you were a teenager?

In my early teens, I was intent on joining military school to become a professional solider. However, after listening to my very reluctant mother, I started to consider other options. One of those was to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and become a lawyer, a profession that he made a great success of after immigrating from Italy to Argentina.

What was your ‘big break’ in the working world?

When I decided to leave Buenos Aires in 2001, to move to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. At the time Argentina was the second biggest market in Latin America. I joined OMD to launch their Central American operations. It was a brave decision, but most people just thought I was crazy. This risky decision paid off and I became a CEO at the age of 30 – this was the start of my international career.

What was the biggest setback in your career?

The biggest setback was also a positive. At the start of my career, I was vying for a key media job at a large advertiser, and I had made it all the way to the final round. I was so excited and I thought I was going to land this major role. However, I was unsuccessful. It was my chance to get experience on the client side and I felt I had lost a great opportunity. My journey to this point hasn’t been as smooth as it seems, especially when I view my career as a timeline. I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. But, you know what? It may seem cliché but those mistakes really did help me learn and do things differently.

What is the best thing about your job?

To put together so many talented teams and work with them on a daily basis. I meet and really get to know great people including colleagues, partners, media owners and clients. I think by bringing these teams and people together, I can then fit them to the right role to get the most out of them to enhance the whole team’s performance. I find this so rewarding; sometimes it makes me feel like a football coach!

Lastly, what advice would you give to those who are starting out in media?

Keep abreast of all new platforms and learn everything about them, always try to be ahead of the game, continue to gain new learnings and insights to succeed in the world of advertising and communications.

The traditional advertising or marketing degrees are getting replaced by those doing engineering, so make sure you consider this when choosing further studies.

Lastly, be brave and listen to your gut. You can do more than you think!

To read Fernando’s letter to his 16-year-old self,  please click here

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Fernando Silva: Dear 16-year-old me
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