Rico Macaraeg (MBAE’17), Chief Marketing Officer at Stojo
What is the best career advice you ever received?
A mentor of mine once said, “The safe route can sometimes be the riskiest route.” I agree that to grow and move forward you need to take some risks.
What are the big trends in your industry you’re seeing now?
We specialize in ultra-portable, leak-proof reusable cups. We’re currently trying to understand Amazon as a marketing channel, rather than just as a distribution channel.
Another aspect we focus on is how to build a community of Stojo supporters. Major brands have succeeded in building this tribe and putting the heartbeat into their brands; we are focused on doing the same thing and expanding our products into a lifestyle.
What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?
I have worked with some of the biggest brands and companies around the world and I wish I had pivoted to work with a startup earlier on. Working at a startup, I am intimately involved with the ins and outs of our organization. During a typical workday, I’ll be on global sales calls, calls with our board, and calls with our lawyers, having to quickly switch gears and pivot often. I have the opportunity to see and be deeply involved in all the different areas of the company. You don’t get that opportunity when you are working for a large corporate brand.
Time on the Hilltop
What was your favorite class or who was your favorite professor at Georgetown?
I can’t just limit it to one! First, I would say professor Robert Biess’s leadership class on coaching and development taught the valuable skills I needed to be an executive leader. What I learned in that class has been directly applicable and helpful for what I spend half of my day doing. Dean Paul Almeida’s Strategy and Alliances class has also continued to be very influential in my life. He shared skills on how to look at the landscape of your business and drive revenue while negotiating with other companies to identify strategic opportunities. I often work with global partners, and our conversations often center around negotiations. Developing my negotiation skills has been crucial to my current job and overall work in the commercial revenue profession.
What advice would you give your younger self (or current Georgetown students)?
Network outside your area of interest. Even if you think you have a vision for your career path, be open to opportunities and conversations that organically come up. You may have to pivot and having a broad network helps you to be prepared.
How has Georgetown shaped you?
I am very proud of my connection to Georgetown. It is an incredible school academically and socially, and I love that it combines an academic mindset with compassion in action.
Prior to my time at Georgetown I was in the military. Coming to Georgetown, I found there were a lot of similarities between the military and Georgetown’s values, especially when it comes to character — both Georgetown and the military focus on developing a person with high ethical and moral character who acts with transparency. Thanks to Georgetown, I strive to add Jesuit values to my daily life. Leaving the world a better place that I found it is important to me.
I also always find it cool when I meet fellow Hoyas and we’re able to talk about moments on campus, discuss which school buildings we miss, or share stories from times at the Tombs. Georgetown alumni share a strong connection to each other, making it a really great community to be a part of.
A Day in the Life
What is one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?
Connecting with my team. I have led teams of various sizes, from just a couple members to 80 or 90eighty or ninety people, and I currently lead a team of about 15fifteen people. I always make a point to engage in face-to-face moments with those people I lead.Making a point to connect with and show my face to those who I lead is vital.
What does your workspace look like? What do you have on your desk or with you at all times?
My workspace is an open floor plan with my team. It’s very collaborative, with tons of writing and numbers on whiteboards throughout the space. My office is comfortable, relaxed, and personal, with a picture of my husband and my dog, and inspirational and motivational quotes around. On my desk is a coffee mug with the phrase “Go make a difference” that I use for pens (I’m known for having a pen tucked behind my ear so that I’m always prepared to take notes). I live by the words on that mug and try to make a difference every day.
I tell leaders on my team compliments are free and cost nothing, and I try to thank them for the work they are doing and express their value aloud in meetings and presentations. I will often reference their work in meetings and try to demonstrate for my team members how their work is translated to the bigger picture of what our company is doing.