Kavak has become a reference of inspiration for those who dream of having their entrepreneurship in Latin America, we went to their offices to meet one of its founders, Loreanne García, who also heads the Human Resources area, in a relaxed conversation we were able to cover her personal and professional challenges, and everything that this organization brings for this year.
You started your career in Venezuela, you have worked for renowned companies and today you are leading one of the most important Latin American unicorns, what else can we learn about your career?
I am a production engineer, I started in a very corporate world from Procter & Gamble to McKinsey where I was able to participate in different projects, countries and industries, there I learned a lot. Then, I went to study my MBA at Stanford, very excited to fill myself with that entrepreneurial spark that you find in Silicon Valley, and being there I realized that the things I enjoyed the most had to do with organization and culture (which is very much aligned with my current role), after my studies I spent some time in the McKinsey office in San Francisco and then I went to Mexico leading the commercial team of Aprecia Financiera and some time in Coca Cola FEMSA.
Many people ask me why I made the leap into entrepreneurship and it is something that had caught my attention, we entrepreneurs build the future. At that time my brother (Carlos Garcia) approached me with the idea of Kavak and it really clicked, I had lived that experience where you have to sell a car and you have to show it to an unknown person and you feel insecure and that does not have to be so, because for us Latinos it is the greatest asset we buy, if we are lucky, a house, but if not a car changes our lives, so our purpose was born to create a process where selling the car was in a transparent and fun way.
Although you have been in the market for 5 years, 2021 was very significant for Kavak, breaking an internal milestone and going from 1,000 to 8,000 people around the world. How do you create culture in this context?
We have grown in these 5 years because of three things: 1) we managed to find a very large market, which is the third, fourth economy of the countries where we are, 2) a market that is fragmented at the level of competition, which allowed us to get closer to the consumer and to include technology in the processes, and 3) most importantly, the team and the people who make everything possible.
Behind the numbers there are faces, people who wake up with a purpose to drive our project forward and do the best for our customers.
From day one we asked ourselves about the culture we wanted to have and we built one based on making sure that talented people join, with a lot of hunger and desire to do things differently, we give them a mission that takes them out of their comfort zone because it’s the only way your brain thinks exponentially, and we combine that with your superpowers which are those natural talents of each person.
What are the challenges you are driving from People at Kavak?
We are growing in number of people, in countries and in our business model. We were born as a platform for buying and selling cars and now we are an ecosystem of everything related to buying a car, we have a financial service, we can take care of warranties, insurance and reconditioning. The People team has the challenge of making the people that we are still a Kavak, still with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Something I would like to ask you is how you have seen the growth of Latin American entrepreneurship in recent years.
It has been an incredible growth, when we started 5 years ago this entrepreneurial ecosystem was not even close, the investment rounds were low. For me, for this ecosystem to exist, it must have capital so that you can promote the idea; another, the talent part, with the people who decide to join the project, and finally the network that has been growing and is being strengthened.
Now, what are the issues that are being left out of the corporate and entrepreneurship agendas?
The things that are being left out are the focus on soft skills, I think that many organizations focus conversations on hard skills, we see people as replaceable and we are not, each person brings something different to the table.
At Rocking Talent our purpose is to be the stage that amplifies the uniqueness of voices, because we understand that it is people that make achievements possible. What is Kavak’s purpose and what would be yours?
Kavak’s purpose has evolved and I love it, we want to make people go further. We also have a parallel purpose which has been to help shape the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we understand that every time we open the door to an entrepreneur we do it indirectly to many more stories.
My purpose is simpler, is that my children are people who want to leave an impact on the world and feel that I am always building something bigger than me, taking advantage of the places where I am, now being one of the few women entrepreneurs I have the purpose of working because there are more and more of us.
Loreanne you work in industries where few women have access, how have you done to overcome the glass architecture and how, from your role, do you push to open the way for more women?
As women, since we were little, our level of ambition is different, and maybe some of them, as they grow up, prefer to occupy spaces where they can have a more balanced life, they go for a career that allows them to have more time. Life has led me to make decisions that challenge me, I studied engineering and I have always been in very masculinized environments, where many times throughout my career I have been the only woman at the table, I have seen this as an opportunity to push every day, to accept that we are different and that this difference is what we must bring to the table.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the people around me, not the people who are far away but the people who are close by. I’m inspired by my sister-in-law to wake up earlier to exercise because I see her doing it. I am inspired by my brother when I see him in a meeting room and he tells us things that at first we think we won’t be able to achieve, but he walks us through it, I am inspired by my co-workers and my children to be present and enjoy every day.
What else can we see from Kavak?
This year you will continue to see a lot of growth, we want to offer mobility solutions for people worldwide, you will see conversations on the global side, a lot of innovation and disruption.
Loreanne García | Co-Founder and Chief People Officer of Kavak