Career Journey with … Guillermo Brinkmann
The global Partner Ecosystem Success interns were once again lucky enough to be joined for an informative Career Journey session by a Partner Ecosystem Success leader on the 3rd of October 2022. This time our guest was Guillermo Brinkmann, who is the Chief Partner Officer for SAP Latin America and the Caribbean, where he oversees all indirect business operations in the region, being responsible for expanding and consolidating the role the ecosystem plays within SAP strategy. He was more than happy to take us on a journey down memory lane, alongside an abundance of career advice gems we will be taking with us down the road!
“Don’t limit yourself, all limitations are self-imposed. Be open to new opportunities”
Guillermo finished school in America, when his dad had to move to Washington D.C for work. There he discovered that he wanted to be an electronic engineer. He fell in love with computers. He then made the change to system engineer when studying computer science. He enjoyed his time as a developer immensely and developed software for a few years. It was an area he saw himself continuing in in the future.
But things can change in life without you knowing. When he started his career in computer science, Guillermo (who goes by Willy), never imagined himself working in sales. He told himself he wouldn’t like it and believed he would never enter into the sales world. This is where he learned his first lesson. Don’t set limitations on your career.
“Being open to different roles is good for you and you always have to learn from those experiences. The more roles that you take, the more experience that you get. You get experience from the things that you did right and the things that you did wrong”
Don’t be afraid of failure
As the call continued, Guillermo expressed the important role failure plays in our careers. He tells his teams, ‘We’re human. Humans make mistakes.’ Guillermo’s admiration and respect for the people he works with is an infectious way of viewing your colleagues. He reminds us that the ‘most important asset is your team, your people, and your talents. Without people, there’s nothing’. Knowing your manager has this faith in you and your abilities, makes it easier to fail constructively. He encourages us to not ‘be afraid of failure, but if you fail, fail fast. Do not persist on the error’.
Based off of the above, there is a high possibility of failure in our careers. With failure there often comes challenges, some we can overcome and some we can’t. Edgar Gomez Araya (PXD Partner expletive manager), asked what the most challenging situation for Guillermo has been. In his answer, he told us about his latest challenge. Guillermo is currently the Chief Partner Officer for the LAC region. He has to liaison between a very large region geographically with many different countries, languages and cultures. He had to find a way to make it work universally. He admits it was ‘trial and error’, and though he failed at the beginning when trying to get it right, he failed fast, and has since built an incredible legacy throughout this chapter of his career. It is a stark reminder, that despite your seniority, you will always be faced with complications, and you must have the ability to overcome them.
One of the main reasons Guillermo Wants us to fail fast, is ‘because time is the most limited resource that we have’. It is up to us to ensure we use the time well, because when it passes, we don’t get it back. In the clip attached, Guillermo tells us of a saying in Spanish that depicts a positive way in which we should view time. It should be viewed by the time we have left, not the time we’ve already lost
Q and A Session
Following Guillermo’s talk, he invited us to ask some questions and we obliged, starting with our very own Fiona Monne (Early Talent Program Lead), who asked about the advice he got early on in his career that stuck with him throughout. He told us to ‘Plan your career’. On its own it can seem like a straightforward, obvious line of advice. However, paired with a piece of advice from earlier on the call, ’careful what you wish for’, you realize the full meaning behind it. Even though we must remain open to opportunities, not every opportunity is going to be the right fit for you. You have to have a flexible idea of where you want to go and what the ultimate end goal is, whilst understanding the journey there may vary and shift from time to time.
“Plan your career. It might require you writing on a piece of paper. In your mind things look perfect, but when you transfer your thoughts onto a piece of paper, you realize that things are not as clear as you once thought they were”.
Romulo Rebelo (Partner Experience Manager managing partners General Segment in Latin America South) asked an incredibly insightful question on ‘How to say no to a role’. It’s such a clever and impactful question. In our careers we’re always encouraged to take every opportunity as they come, but like Guillermo said, we have to plan our career. And sometimes new opportunities aren’t meant for us at that time. So how do we turn them down?
For people starting out their career, or if you’re looking for a change, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Julia Nunes ( Partner Experience Delivery Specialist) asked Willy “What motivated you to choose this career path?” Guillermo knew he loved working with people, and based off of previous comments made above, he holds his team and the people he works with in such high regard. According to Will, “I enjoy building teams very much. That’s what I enjoy the most. That’s what motivates me every single morning when I wake up”. He has found his motivator and uses it to help build on his success. When you and your team win, “don’t celebrate alone. Celebrate as a team, with your people”. Especially since covid-19 and social distancing, he understands more than ever, the importance of celebrating each other and everyone’s successes, be they big or small.
We’d like to thank Guillermo for joining us for this incredible session, which was filled with so much great information and useful advice that we can all look at and apply to how we approach our own careers. It’s clear that everyone was able to take something away from the call – here are some pieces of feedback directly from our interns following the session:
“Willy hosted a very engaging and informative call! The advice he gave, especially the tips on how to progress in your career will stay with me for a lifetime!” – Sam McNamara
“Guillermo’s enthusiasm and energy immediately captured my attention. He spoke with such passion about his profession it really struck a chord with me and served to inspire and motivate myself for my future career. Thank you, Guillermo for this fantastic session.” – Tomas Cronnelly
“Willy has provided some of the most influential and inspiring advice for people at any stage of their career. No matter who is listening, they will walk away with a new spring in their step. Thank you for this amazing opportunity to listen to such an accomplished man speak about his journey” – Lillie Gallagher
“I had to leave the session before the end but I can say that it was great! Willy shared a lot of wisdom in a fun and kind way, it was really helpful” – Julia Nunes
“I found Guillermo’s speech very motivational. His narrative of “fail quick” gave me a good perspective of how to turn crises into opportunities and build a career path in my professional development” – Edgar Gomez Araya
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