Maria Fernanda Villa – Commercial Manager – Interfood Americas
I was one of the first women to become a trader at Interfood
Hi Maria, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Maria Fernanda Villa, I’m 35 years old and I am Commercial Manager, being part of the commercial team at Interfood Americas in Montevideo, Uruguay. I am married and have two children, Juan Martin, 5 years old and Geronimo, 3 years old and we are based in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In my spare time, I enjoy a lot spending time with my family and friends, and especially with my children, who are in a very fun stage of their lives. I try to spend most of my free time outdoors, go to the countryside and be in touch with nature. I love cooking, and if I do it surrounded by my family and a good wine, so much the better!
What was your motivation to start a job at Interfood?
I started when I was 23 and was still investigating what I wanted for myself and my professional career. Joining a young and enthusiastic team, which supports me and helps me in professional development was very attractive, but especially, the potential to grow and develop was notorious, which undoubtedly depends a lot on yourself but also on the company, its culture and its values.
I was one of the first women to become a trader at Interfood which was certainly a great challenge since I had to break with some paradigms and preconceptions which added an additional ingredient to this adventure. In the end it’s all about managing relationships, taking (calculated) risks, having the drive to win every day, and staying on top of the market, all with the goal to close that (international) deal you are looking for.
What is your favorite thing about Interfood?
Each person, regardless of their role or hierarchy, is approachable and willing to help to achieve goals. This makes us a great team that is always trying to get the best out of each other, becoming a little bit better every single day. Factors that match our company values teamwork, commitment, continuous improvement, professionalism, and responsible leadership.
I also like the fact that Interfood believes in its people and in the value of each one to achieve the objectives, and despite its growth and its leading position in the global dairy market, retains its family character and remains faithful to its values.
About your job at Interfood, what does your average working week look like?
Undoubtedly, each week is different from the previous one and I know that this week will be different from the next. It is difficult to talk about average working week in trade in Interfood, the dynamism is great which is very attractive and challenging, since every day or week we have a new puzzle to solve. But anyway, I could say that most of my time is spent on the phone talking to people: suppliers, customers, colleagues, and the rest of the team with the aim of understanding the market and its direction, and then being able to turn this over to our partners, in order to create new business opportunities and buy and sell physical dairy products.
What do you like the most about your job?
The autonomy and trust they place in me for the decisions, and sometimes risks, I must make every day and the work environment that make my time at work something very entertaining and enjoyable.
Every day, I really enjoy talking with customers and suppliers with whom I have built, over the years, close relationships and mutual trust, in some cases friendship, which greatly facilitates my day to day work and happiness. Together with my team of like-minded professionals, we strive to deliver better products, better services and informed insights about the industry.
Since you’re working for Interfood for a while now, what is your best memory of your time at Interfood until today?
It is difficult to choose a single moment and especially remember them all after almost 12 years. Despite this, I clearly remember the stage when I became a mother and the support I had from the company and my team in that transition. They allowed me to enjoy a new stage of my life and combine my family and professional life in the best possible way, something that I value very much and remember with gratitude.
What can you tell about the culture and atmosphere at our office in Montevideo?
I think all of us who work in our office in Montevideo are proud to be in a very friendly and inspiring working environment, with a great team spirit and today, with people from other offices who have joined our team which made it more diverse and culturally very rich. We try to have fun while working and to support each other with every challenge or issue that pops up. No matter which team you work in, Trade, Finance or Logistics, everyone brings something different to the table, making for a very eclectic and cosmopolitan diversity in a relaxed atmosphere. By the way, we are based in an open and modern office space in WTC Free Zone 2, with the best view of Montevideo.
What is your expectation for the Montevideo office for the years to come?
I expect us being able to demonstrate solid and stable growth over the years, which will only be possible with a larger, more varied and more focused team in one place. As we are building and expanding our world class team, we expect that there will be some very interesting and successful years ahead.
What would you say to potential Interfood team members?
I always carry the Interfood flag with great force since I believe that Interfood enables everyone to develop in the professional and personal field. Its structure and transparency allows you to appreciate all areas very quickly and if you add to this that it is a very flexible company and open to each person finding their own way, it results in an interesting formula which is worth trying. So I would say not to hesitate and go for it!
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