The General Director of Adidas Iberia, Marta Ríos, took part in an event held at the auditorium of Col·legi d’Economistes de Catalunya in Barcelona, organized by EAE Business School and APD as part of the Executives around the World series.
Marta Ríos was appointed at the Director of the sports multinational last year after having held various positions of responsibility at the company. During her presentation, she shared her experiences as Adidas Brand Director for the Pacific region in Australia. Marta emphasized that, particularly when faced with a change like the one she experienced when she moved to another country (heading a team of 40 people from 10 different countries), “we have to keep a positive attitude and focus on how the change is going to help us grow”.
Another general recommendation that the Director of Adidas Iberia gave the participants is that we have to define our leadership style. “Mine is people-oriented and focused on teamwork”. Moreover, she highlighted the importance of knowing how to delegate, developing top-down communication, both internal and external, and “establishing constructive feedback that makes us better professionals”. Her values are respect, honesty, confidence, collaboration and gratitude, which she applies whenever she manages and leads.
Using the example of dealing with problems related to material supplies in Australia, Marta Ríos explained that it is always essential to have a plan B ready and “make sure you are in first place, technologically speaking”.
Turning back to her vision of how a company should be run effectively, the Director of Adidas Iberia values diversity. “Somebody from abroad can bring a fresh perspective on things and, most importantly, innovation”. She also emphasized the importance of taking care of the team and “fostering a sense of pride of belonging”. Moreover, as a corporate policy, she added that it is very important to take care of the planet “at a business level but also individually”, an aspect that Adidas promotes through its collaborations with various NGOs.
The General Director of Adidas Iberia went on to state that it is easy to establish a strategy, but implementing it is a different matter altogether. In her opinion, achieving this requires good communication and a clear business culture. “At Adidas, we apply the 3C culture: creativity, collaboration and confidence”. Throughout the company, they evaluate the team based on these 3Cs.
At the moment, there are only three female directors in Adidas in the whole of Europe. This fact had an impact on Marta’s reaction when they appointed her to the position she currently holds at the company. “I didn’t know what to do because there was nobody I could take my inspiration from, but they made me see that I was setting an example for other women, being one of the first to take on this challenge”.
In terms of giving advice to the EAE students who attended her talk, Marta Ríos explained that the times we are living in are complicated, but as long as you do everything you do with passion, you are a long way on the road to success. She also recommended learning languages and working in a field that you are really passionate about. When asked about the internship program at Adidas, The Director responded that they usually run for 12 months and are mainly based in Zaragoza and Germany.