Rodrigo Tostes

Founder and CEO YVY Naturals Company

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Overview And Experience

On April 10, 2018, 5 days before my 42 years old birthday, I felt a strong pain in my chest after running at the park during a business trip. I headed straight from the clinic to the hospital in an ambulance. I had a 99% blockage in of my coronary arteries. According to the doctors, had I not headed for the clinic, I would have had merely hours to live.

The successful surgery marked the beginning of my “Life Part 2”. I quit my job as CEO of one of the biggest companies in Brazil and rearranged my priorities. My goals and aspirations during my “Life Part 1” were only professional. Today, well embarked on my “Life Part 2” I change my priorities and focus. “Life Part 2” does not mean abandoning my career but includes, including a purpose to fulfilling a career transition. It all about balance family, personal pursuits as well as a focus on building a company to bring sustainable and social benefit for the next generations.

In 2005, at the age of 29, I was invited to join Thyssenkrupp in Brazil, as CFO. After I successfully managed the biggest private industrial project in Brazil’s history (5 billion Euros), Thyssekrupp invited me to serve as South America CEO. Eight years later, ready to pause for my MBA, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity emerged to serve as COO for the Rio 2016 Olympics.As COO of the Olympic Games, I managed 300,000 people, several local and international institutions, 11,303 athletes from 206 countries, and, most importantly, the expectations and aspirations of a country seeking to shine on the global stage.

 

Honestly, when I see my professional achievements I realize that I my leadership style may have helped in certain manner but I am sure that was my team that have delivered such amazing work. I confess that my biggest contribution was to select the people, put them in the right positions and inspire that all goals could be accomplished. I always tried to help the teams not telling them what to do and where to go but creating the culture that they figure it out by themselves.

After my heath-scare I decided to improve my academic background in order to sharpen and refocus the learnings from my previous experiences to do more for other people and for my community. These new career and life goals have brought me to Stanford, a lifelong dream that we decided no longer to postpone. As we well know the Silicon Valley business model is unique because it is based on theculture of capital reinvestment via money or intelectual. The opportunity that professors Steve Calender and George Foster offered me was a real gift. I believe sharing my experiences and talking open about failures and mistakes with real life examples helps the students to understand better the dynamics of business challenges after school.

“Life Part 2” has been more than a new phase, it has presented almost a new life, a rebirth. I have refocused and relearned. I have emerged from near death someone who values things like think about what we can do thinks in a better way for our society and our planet. I have also re-emerged as a far better example for my kids. After so much time working for huge corporations I decide to found YVY Naturals, a company that will change the way people clean their homes, only with all natural ingredients and zero plastic waste. YVY has nothing to hide, and we take great leaps to use transparency to bring much-needed social and environmental responsibility to our category. It is this symbiotic relationship that inspired us to fashion a new way of cleaning our homes, simpler, with maximum efficiency and minimum impact on the planet and our health. YVY’s conception place is a response to new times, new behavior and societal/environmental needs.

After 8 years of a tremendous learning and carrier development a once of life-time opportunity knocked my door. I received a call from a very famous head-hunter inviting me to work as a COO in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organizing Committee.

 

I accepted the challenge having in mind that hosting the Olympic Games in my country will be a unique chance to be part of a huge transformation of my city and my country. Later I realized that just a War can be more complex to be organized. The numbers were huge: 11,303 ATHLETES, 207 DELEGATIONS of 206 COUNTRIES. I had in mind that Host the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America, will test Brazilian capacity of panning and deliver. In the top of all that we choose for the first time ever to manage and operate an Olympic Games with private money.

 

That was no doubt that it was a fantastic opportunity but considering the spotlight of the project and my position in case of failure the eyes of the entire world will bit on us and my carrier and reputation will be in huge risk. Based in a lot of facts the entire world did not trust that Brazil could host the Olympic Games in a proper manner. We have faced a lot of criticism for press and athletes. It was a huge lack of belief from international media, before the Games based on Brazilian financial and political scenario. To make the situation even more complex very closed to Games we had to face global Zika virus crisis.

 

In the end we successfully deliver the greatest sporting spectacle on the planet but at the same time we create an amazing celebratory atmosphere and create memorable to everyone. People were celebrating sports with passion and determination as never saw in south America before. We showcase the city of Rio and Brazil worldwide and prove that Brazilian can plan and execute like any other country.The Games inspired youth with Olympic values and the Brazilian spirit of joy and transformation.

I had faced several crises situations in my carrier. I can tell you today that crisis is a matter of time because it will happen, so the size and impact of a crises depends pretty much about how the leaders are ready to deal with such unpredictable situations. A group of leaders well trained in some crises management principals can be much more efficient and diligent to manage and reduce crisis impact in every corporation. There several crisis management principals but I would like to highlight my top 5:  i) train and simulate crisis us much as you can; ii) check all information – first info is always not accurate; iii) one voice command – it is important to have clear line of command; iv) transparency – by assuming mistakes gives you empathy; v) get support from stakeholders.

In the personal life my parents are my role model. My parents did not have a very good academic education but they always pushed my brothers and me to work hard at school and, most importantly, to work hard at being good human beings. However, I don’t have a single role model as a professional. I have worked with amazing leaders and great professionals that inspired me so much. What I can tell you that all of them are leaders who care about people and are very honest about their purpose. I try to assimilate the best of this people and keep moving forward.

Companies can achieve success and get big using different strategies. However, the essence is most of the time the same: you need to know your audience and be focus in the execution. Works in this two dimensions most of the time it is not easy for to entrepreneurs. It is not a job that can be delivered by one person and there is where having a good leadership team in the company is essential. 

Today, well embarked on my “Life Part 2”, what matters most to me is my family, specifically my wish to be present for my children, Arthur and Andre. Raising our children properly is the most important thing that we will do in our lives. It can only be done once and will last for a lifetime.“Life Part 2” does not mean abandoning my career in fact I have never been so much focus in a project like YVY Natuarls. The company is part of much richer and fulfilling career transition that will thrive amidst a balance with family and personal pursuits as well as a focus on community and social benefit. YVY is here to stay and set out to remind everyone that we do not need to spoil the planet when we clean our homes. YVY set out to will bring sense into this fundamental daily habit and forever transform household cleaning. We live in the age of questioning everything for the better. Rightly so, for the past 20 years, we all have become obsessed with the environment and the harmful chemicals contained in the products we use every day. Many industries have been questioned by society, forcing significant change – fats in foods, microbeads in toothpastes, plastic in bottled water, fossil fuel in automotive…. Yet, some how the household cleaning escaped this trend, scotch free, and the conscious consumer of today doesn’t feel 100% clean while cleaning their homes. YVY wants to clean up the way we clean.

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