December 2020
On The Spotlight Series #3 – Laís Passarelli

Laís Passarelli is our third guest of our The Spotlight Series and our Partner in INAC Brazil.
It is with an immense joy that we have her on board, not only because of our long lasting relationship, but also because of her larger than life personality, that we cherish so much and that has given so much to INAC.
Laís has a 32 year long extensive and solid track record in Executive Search and Talent Management Advisory and is a proud member of INAC for 23 years. In 2012 she was given the INAC Honorary Member Award for her tremendous work on the Executive Board of INAC, where she sat for 10 years leading the network activities in Latin America. Laís is also a member of AMCHAM – American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, where she is part of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and since 2004 a member of the Strategic Committee for People Management in São Paulo. This AMCHAM group brings together 40 of the most influential HR executives in Brazil and Latin America.
She has been an inspiration and a professional beacon for us all and it is a privilege to have her as a colleague and a mentor.

Why Executive Search and If you didn’t end up in Executive Search, what would you ended up choosing instead?

I was working as a Human Resources Manager in a Tech company when I first got “in touch” with Executive Search. At the time, the late 80’s, only a few companies in Brazil offered that specific professional service, and I was responsible for hiring these consultants to look for executives with a very specific experience and profile. When I started interacting with these consultants was when I fully understood the work that they were carrying out, and I instantly realized that I had found the career I was so much looking for! What drives me the most is working with people, following their life and careers. The commitment of acting as a “bridge”, attending the interests of both client companies and executives, was the key motivation to open my company and follow this path. To search, to evaluate and to present the best executive to act in a strategic position in a client company, was always very enticing and challenging for me.

With such a long, intense and fulfilling career what have you learned about the human being?

I’ve learned that we are constantly evolving, that we all want to succeed and be happy: this is unanimous for all human beings. And also, that the main skill for a leader is to manage people.

During your career you were able to meet thousands of executives. In your opinion, is there a common trace for being successful? And if so, what is it?

Leadership and communication are without a doubt a key trace in successful executives. Leaders are essential in guiding and managing a group of people towards one vision, one goal. And communicating it to your team, to your company, as well as to the market in a clear way and to everyone, makes all the difference.

If you could give only one professional/career advice to a person, what would that be?

Create social relationships. Your social skills are what will lead you to expand your career and your personal and professional skills. I would even suggest: have a master, a mentor, someone with both more professional and life experience, with whom you can express your doubts and questions during your professional life.

You have helped so many finding their dream job, do you feel that they have helped you find something in life as well?

Yes, without a doubt! I learned and gained a lot of knowledge regarding the market, as well as a strategic worldview thanks to the people I met, whether they’ re candidates or clients.

INAC has been part of your life for so many years now. How has this “relationship” shaped your professional and personal path/growth?

I see INAC as gift, it’s a privilege to be part of it. These last 23 years allowed me to learn with colleagues from different countries, from all over the world, that not only taught me a lot and offered me a different way of thinking, but also showed me the peculiarity and richness of each country and local culture. The exchange of experiences, as well as conversations about strategies for conducting our business, have always helped me a lot to reflect on our business here in Brazil. And above all, INAC has allowed me to get to know other realities and has given me great friends for life.

What has been, so far, the biggest life lesson you received?

In these 32 years working as a professional in Executive Search, the greatest lesson that I take from it is that each person is unique and special. I have always tried to explore and know not only the professional path of each executive I interviewed, but also the person that sat before me in an interview. It was important for me to understand and know their personal path, their life story, values, principles, and knowledge. Getting to know the story of each interviewee has always been a key evaluation factor to select the best executive for an assignment.

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