At Distillery, our amazing employees are at the center of everything we do — And they deserve to have the spotlight!

In our “Meet Distillery” series, we introduce you to some of the talented experts who help us (and our partners) bring ideas to life.

Today, we’d like to introduce Fran, our Head of Web Department LATAM!

Introduce yourself, your background/expertise, and your position at Distillery

Hi, I’m Fran, Head of Web Department LATAM at Distillery. Although the title seems fancy, I’m just a guy who loves working with people, coaching, and leadership, and am very passionate about learning and overcoming challenges in this role.

I work with an extraordinary team full of great people driving the LATAM Web Department, providing guidance and coaching so we can do the best we can to develop the awesome team we have (more than 200 devs!)

About my career, I could tell you that I have more than 10 years of experience as a .Net Developer and I’m also a certified international life and business coach, but all in all what is most important for me, I think, is the emotional intelligence that I developed during these years. 

Given your work experience, what are your biggest strengths that you bring to your role at Distillery?

As I mentioned before, emotional intelligence, I think, is one of my biggest strengths. When you start at a leadership position, emotions start to play a big role on a daily basis and on the decisions you make, and it’s a challenge to put aside the emotions that cloud your judgement and don’t let you make the right decisions.

I always try to stay calm when making decisions, I see things from another perspective and I think about the outcomes and what the goal is in every decision I make.

That doesn’t mean I don’t make wrong decisions sometimes, but I try to learn as much as possible from those.

Besides that, I’m passionate about what I do, working with people and leading teams. 

One of the things I always try to be is not a boss, but a leader, and my understanding of that is that the people that are on my teams have to have a platform in which they can grow as professionals and individuals, and I work a lot to bring this to the team.

I always encourage the team I’m fortunate to lead to bring ideas and opinions to the table and even challenge me (in a good way) on how their teams should be handled. And now they are autonomous and think for themselves, and they are not afraid to make decisions for their teams, and that makes me proud of the work we’ve done.

What attracted you to Distillery?

Well, at first, I thought it was an actual distillery, so I thought “ok, free whisky, yeah!”… then I realized I was wrong.

Besides that, what attracted me was the people inside the company. When I started at Distillery there was about 10 people on the LATAM team and I was contacted by the recruitment team, but after the first meeting, all my process was driven by the Argentinian Country Manager. 

During that process he always sent me motivational messages before interviews, he offered to talk to me before the meetings to prepare and he was always super warm with me despite the fact that we never met. So at that time, I thought, “this guy is leading an entire company in Argentina and he takes the time to send me these messages and coach me during the interview process?, I’m in!”

I made the right decision, now I truly have fun and have grown in my job, and I try to give the same warm treatment to everybody in Distillery.

What has been your favorite part about being on the Distillery team?

By far, the best part of working at Distillery is the good-hearted people. I have met many people that now are close friends, I laugh every day and I have an amazing relationship with most of the people here.

I love that we can be silly during meetings, make jokes, get a laugh even if things are stressful and make mistakes and keep moving forward.

If you ask me, What is the thing that makes Distillery special for you?, I could answer easily, THE PEOPLE.

In a more personal way, what I love is that Distillery gave me the opportunity to work at a role that was a dream come true for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging, but I love to work using my coaching skills, learn more about leadership and most importantly, have an impact on people.

What are some skills or topics you’re learning about right now?

Leadership and emotional intelligence. These, I think, are the most important aspects of my job so I have to keep learning.

I’m going to repeat it again, but learning how to master your emotions can be a game changer for this role. I’m not an expert, but changing from a “dev” mentality to to a “leader” mentality wasn’t easy. 

When you work with code and something doesn’t work, you look at the code, you can blame yourself a little bit, find a solution and the thing will start working if you write the right code. With people it’s different, we are all unique, that is what makes us interesting and that also means that what you did with someone to get a good result, won’t work with everyone else. 

It’s not just thinking about the solution, it’s how you communicate it and even better if you can accompany the person in question to come up with the solution him/herself (that’s the beauty about coaching). It’s a constant challenge, but it’s fun as hell!

What’s your secret work-related “pet peeve” related to your role/industry that doesn’t really matter but drives you crazy? 

I cannot, and I mean, I really cannot, start  a meeting without a joke or make fun of something. I become some sort of Chandler from Friends when starting a meeting. I hate when meetings are too serious, and I work a lot better when I take things lightly, even if it’s a super important meeting with a client. That’s one of the mechanisms that I use to bring down the weight of these meetings so I can be myself completely when working.

Luckily this also helps me to build relationships faster with people that I hadn’t met before.

Coffee or tea? How many cups in a normal work day?

Mate!!!!!! If you come to Argentina you should try it, it’s very bitter, but once you get use to it, you will love it!. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Besides hanging out with my friends, my family and my lovely girlfriend, I’m passionate about my childhood so I’m a big fan of Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and stuff that reminds me of when I was a kid. So I collect Dragon Ball and other anime figures, cards and I have fun designing my “game/child room”, there’s a lot of work to still do though!.

Related to that I like to create my own figures with epoxy clay (I’m not so good) and it helps me to relax, and after I finish I enjoy putting my creations as decorations in my room.

I also like gardening a lot, it brings me peace and joy. And I couldn’t forget to mention my little Habichuela (my poodle), she’s always happy and brings me a lot of joy, so I play A LOT with her. 

What’s your favorite book (Or what are you currently reading)?

A book that I loved is “El Arte the Soplar Brasas” (The Art of Blowing Embers), it’s a coaching book written by Leonardo Wolk. A really good start if you want to know what is really to be an ontological coach.

Then other ones that I liked are:

  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  • Unlimited Power – Tony Robbins

What is your ideal vacation (Or what vacation did you last take)?

Mykonos, an Island in Greece, it’s AMAZING, a dream come true. I had the fortune of spending some time with my girlfriend there a few years ago and it’s the only place I would visit again for sure (I’ve been in many amazing places, but this one is something else).

What languages can you speak?

Spanish, English, and I have the false belief that I can make myself understandable talking in Italian, but most likely I can’t.

If you could live in any city, where would it be?

You know, now, with the pandemic, working remotely, we kind of have the opportunity to work wherever we want, and I would like to live a short period of time (2 to 3 months) in many countries for fun, and I would always come back to Argentina. 

This country can be a mess sometimes, but the people, passionate, warm and fun as we are as Argentinians, is something hard to find anywhere else, and I love it.