In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are proud to spotlight the achievements and lessons of our Latina CEO and founder, Adriana Llames Cowdin! She is a first-generation American, with roots in Argentina, where her father emigrated from in the early 70’s.
With over 20 years of digital marketing expertise, Adriana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and has completed leadership courses from Harvard Business School’s advanced program. Adriana is a former corporate executive, published author, and a four-time entrepreneur has been featured on ABC, WGN, CNNMoney, FoxBusiness, Forbes, Hoovers, Reuters, NYTimes, Inc. 500, and more.
What does being Latina mean to you?
Mi casa es su casa is a reality in my world. Argentines are generally friendly and hospitable to those they meet and I’m not exception. I open our home to host people all the time.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
I love any month that celebrates diverse populations. This makes me feel honored and special because of my heritage as opposed to targeted because of it. Moreover, it allows us to celebrate diverse leaders in many capacities.
Is there something that you grew up with that you still do today?
Yes, a focus on building a strong community. This is very common in the Latin community and our lives were no exception. One year on Thanksgiving, I invited 4 navy cadets to our home for Thanksgiving dinner one year because they were stationed nearby. Despite having limite means, my mom embraced it. Not only did it impact their lives but ours as well. If you can believe it, we still talk to one of them to this day; he’s a Dentist in Iowa. This happened 30 years ago.
What kind of impact would you like to have?
I’d love to positively impact women in business, as a whole. I’m a strong believer that the more diverse your community, and team, are, the better the results will be.
As a business leader, what are your proudest accomplishments?
One of my proudest accomplishments is that my team at Sears Holdings, which had 40 people, had the highest engagement results on the annual employee survey and the lowest turnover in the company. I believe that the better you treat your employees, the better they treat your customers. One other proud accomplishment is from back in 1997 when I was awarded the Franklin Covey Golden Goose award for leadership and balancing both short and long-term thinking.
What challenges have you faced as a digital marketing leader in this industry?
I see two challenges in digital marketing, as an agency leader. The first is that clients only want to measure sales as a KPI. However, marketing is a more holistic approach that impacts customer happiness, product reviews, brand awareness, competition, etc.
What advice do you have for future generations of young women, Latina or not?
I have 3 pieces of advice:
- Do what you love and the rest will come. If you do this, you’ll enjoy working.
- Find a senior woman executive to be your mentor; then use her.
- Persistence pays. Stick with it even in the roughest of waters.