Meet Mario Urech, Ongresso’s Country Manager in Peru.
Going for a run with Pacific view, enjoying the daily menu in a market with exotic fruit juice, fresh fish and sweet potatoes, or cycling in the park with his family: “Every day is my perfect day”, says Mario Urech (34). Since September 2017, the Swiss is Ongresso’s Chief Marketing Officer and Country Manager in Peru. In this interview he talks about his love for Peru, cultural differences and business opportunities.
Ongresso operates all over Latin America. Your heart beats for Peru first and foremost. What makes that country so special for you?
Mario Urech: Its diversity. Just think of its geography: 1,555 miles of coastline, desert, mountains, rainforest, cities. This diversity is reflected in all areas of life. From the local cuisine with its abundant types of fruit and vegetables to traditions, music, languages, identities and ways of life. I highly recommend Peru for a visit! Furthermore, the country is rich in commodities. That is why Peru is an important exporter of agricultural products and raw materials.
In spite of your passion for Peru – do you see any downsides?
Mario: The decrepit public transport system and the huge social inequality bother me. Society is divided in classes. This goes hand in hand with a certain selfishness: While family structures work well and provide support, this solidarity is being lost within the society as a whole. Becoming part of these social structures and making friends can be challenging at times.
Does your work contribute to fight this social inequality?
Mario: Definitely. Ongresso aims to assist our clients in market entry, and as a result to positively impact the local community. Ongresso specifically helps create jobs for people in Latin America regardless of their social background. What matters to us is that they are qualified, passionate and eager to break new grounds. Thus, as Country Manager I certainly do my part in creating opportunities for such people and fighting inequality.
What’s your job as a Chief Marketing Officer and Country Manager?
Mario: As Chief Marketing Officer I am in charge of adapting Ongresso to our different target markets. Therefore, I have to know them like the back of my hand, understand their economic reality. And I have to be familiar with requirements of our clients to further develop tailor-made services for our clients. As Country Manager I grow Ongresso’s presence in Peru, expand our network, and all the services we offer.
Before joining Ongresso, you worked with a much larger company. What made you decide to join Ongresso?
Because of the values, mission and people that Ongresso represents, and the possibility to assume new management tasks and responsibilities. As a small, diverse team, the decision-making process is enriching, fast and lets us make a difference. Requirements of each project and client are different and we provide an individual solution, where I can contribute with my previous experience. I’ve been living and working in Peru for seven years. I know the country, its people, and what makes the economy tick. And I am familiar with the European culture, which is where most of our clients come from. I know what matters to them in business relations and market entry strategies.
What is the biggest challenge for foreign companies in your experience?
Mario: Coping with the fact that everything takes longer than expected. Some administrative procedures seem circuitous or unnecessary to foreigners. In Peru, you really need perseverance and patience.
You’ve been living in Latin America for eight years. Can you imagine moving back to Europe?
Mario: Never say never. But home and my family are here in Lima. Peru is incredibly beautiful, the people are very friendly, cheerful and spontaneous – a perfect match with my Swiss organization skills and logical reasoning. At the same time, Peru has huge potential. The economy is growing, the government is making a considerable effort to improve the quality of life and consolidate its institutions. Peru needs external knowledge and is eager to become more international – and there is still so much to be done. The future is looking bright for Peru and I am thrilled to be here and take part in its development.
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