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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Mauro

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Mauro

Name: Mauro

Current title: Founder & CEO

Current organisation: Twist

Mauro Palacios is a Brazilian advertiser and started his career as a web designer in 2001. He is a pioneer on the Digital Marketing Field in Brazil and, in 2004, started working at a major Digital Agency, where he developed some of the first Digital Campaigns for brands like Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, Nissan and Pfizer.

He is the founder of Twist: a leading Brazilian digital marketing agency founded in 2008. Today, Mauro directs awarded campaigns and branding projects for clients such as Cognizant Latam, Cognizant North America, EY Brazil, Zeiss Brazil, Honda, Udacity, Latam Airlines, among several relevant Brazilian brands.

Besides leading the agency founded by himself, Mauro is also a digital influencer that helps entrepreneurs with Digital Marketing and Branding content on Social Media.

7 Questions with Mauro


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

People! It's always about people. To keep the teams always motivated and happy with their jobs is the biggest challenge and what separates the successful teams from the not so good teams. People are the heart, the brain, the hands and the soul of all kinds of businesses.

When people are happy, the financial results is a consequence and everything works better, making all the other challenges smaller.

In a Pandemic scenario, this challenge is twice as hard, because we have to deal with different kinds of emotions and claims, that gets much harder to figure without the eye-on-eye contact.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Thirteen years of hard work. As a founder, I've made my own way. Different from career made CEOs, my struggle to get to the top was directly connected with the results I've produced for my own company and for my clients.

Started with a garage-like office with a team os 3 people and, year after year, with tons of hard work, managed to transform a very simple and non-funded startup into a multi-million revenue company, with a large and talented team that creates the digital campaigns of some of the most relevant companies in Brazil.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up around 5:30 AM, do a very special breakfast with my wife and daughter and then take her to school.

I arrive at office around 7:30 AM: the best hour to perform the most relevant and strategic tasks of the day (before the rush of the day starts).

Around 10:00 AM, I connect with the leaders of each of my teams (COO, Content Leader, Planning Director, Creative Director, Development Lead and Media Director), to follow up about the status of each area and give them strategic direction.

Besides working on the strategic tasks of Twist, I believe that great leaders are the ones that really understand the companies from the inside. Because of that, I am very hands-on and active on the daily activities from all areas, from the directors to the interns. That helps me keep with a great relationship with all the team.

After hard day of work, I always like to enjoy my family. I am also very connected to sports (mostly at weekends).

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

To see the human apart from the professional. Being able to identify what each professional really needs, let the leader to help the human being as a whole and not only the professional part of people.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work (2011), by Shawn Achor.

Stop looking to people and performance as numbers, and make everyone around you happier. This is the most effect way to increase productivity and make people feel really part of something bigger. Our work should be much more than a "job".

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Boosting people with self confidence and happiness. Give people wings (for real) and make them believe they can be greater and can make other people great as well. That's how I make my manages and directors deal with their teams (the same way I deal with them).

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

I think the most meaningful stories are the sad ones. And they are the ones that can really make us learn. In 2013, when Twist started making its first great works and became recognized as a relevant player on digital marketing field, we've won a creative RFQ against giant advertising agencies and conquered our first relevant account (the largest banking automation technology company in Latin America). At that time, that account represented 80% of our annual revenue.

We were so happy to work with this client that we forgot to look for other revenue sources. I've entered on a giant comfort zone.

One day, we have been informed that this company was sold and they canceled all the contracts and fired 4.000 employees. When we lost this account, in 2016, Twist almost was bankrupted and we had to start from zero all over again.

Tons of lessons learned here.

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