The Girl Next Door
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You can easily spot the passion in Silvia’s voice when she talks about her job as a Regional Controller for PUMA Latin America in Santiago de Chile. “I put a lot of passion into my work.”
It could have been exactly that passion that made Silvia Guzman one of the company’s identified Top Talents that PUMA’s global HR professionals are looking for throughout the organization. They want to recruit participants for the newly introduced Speed Up Development Program – employees who show an exceptional performance and come with the potential to move up to the next management level.
“The program gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, but even more about PUMA, the company’s strategy and products,” describes the Mexican native her “Speed Up” experiences since she joined the program in November last year.
The course comes in two levels and consists of four modules, which last up to four days. One main training focus is to provide knowledge about other business areas of the company and grant deep insights into the needs and processes of certain divisions. This is aimed to widen the trainees’ own perspectives, practice their strategic thinking, help them to deal with ambiguity and train solution orientation. The participants will swap jobs with their peers for a few weeks, work in a retail store and prepare a customer profile for an individual shop among other things.
“In May, we will be visiting a PUMA supplier factory in Vietnam,” says Silvia. “This is really exciting for me.” The visit is designed to give insights in factory needs and processes. “I have been with PUMA for eight years and during all this time I have always wanted to know how our products are made.”
Getting a glimpse into other job roles helps Silvia to understand the issues that arise there. ”This in turn then helps me to do my job better.”
The course also trains entrepreneurial skills through a simulation game in controlling, accounting and finance based on PUMA examples. “The game taught the concept of financing in a funny way”, remembers Silvia. Pretending to be the owner of a company, the participants started off with a product and a certain amount of money. The task was to design production plans, setting a retail price and selling the product to customers. Along the way, people faced challenges and different uncertainties such as changes in prices due to the demand and arranging for loans.
Working in groups obviously trains teamwork skills – another strong focus of the 18-month training. “We are 11 people and it is good to see how everyone helps everyone to learn how to manage conflicts.”
However, Silvia’s biggest take away so far has been the fact that she has learned a lot about herself through the mentoring experience the course offers. Every participant is assigned a mentor from within the global PUMA organization, who provides guidance and coaching in regular sessions. “My mentor is based in the U.S., and she has helped me a lot in my leadership role and how to manage conflicts. It is like a coaching that I am getting.” The issues Silvia and her mentor talk about range from giving practical advice on certain situations or how she feels in her new position after she has recently been promoted.
Constant reflection is a key success factor throughout the entire program to foster the personal and professional development. This is done in a professional environment with a strong contribution by their line manager, individual mentors as well as the peer group of participants itself.
Silvia is a trained Accountant with a Master in Audit and joined PUMA eight years ago in Mexico as a Collection Manager. One and a half years later, she moved to PUMA in Santiago de Chile to become a Controller for Chile and Peru and two months ago she was promoted a Regional Controller of LATAM. “When I moved to Santiago, I found more opportunities to grow which has motivated me to do my work in a very good way. I just love the values and the joyful, human and open company culture.”
We strongly believe in nurturing talent from within as this is crucial for the future growth of PUMA. Therefore, we holistically support and sponsor the participants to progress in their leadership career while giving them exposure towards the decision maker on upper management level.