‘Four winters in Moscow’: Offer Marketing Director shares his expat journey
There are leaves all over the ground on this afternoon in Franklin, Tennessee, USA. Fall is coming to an end and it’s gotten colder. Carlos Navarro, Offer Marketing Director for Power Systems, starts telling his story. He was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain and has a deep connection to the sea. He joined Schneider Electric’s Barcelona office in 2002 as a Product Manager for Masterpact in low voltage products. Carlos has gone on to work in three other countries for Schneider.
Natalia Pachón: How has your career evolved since the day you joined the company?
Carlos Navarro: I stayed [as Product Manager for] five years. At that time, I took [on] more responsibilities than product management. I was also in charge of different, big projects in low voltage, including several product lines.
In July 2007, I moved to Grenoble in France as Business Development Manager for the low voltage products. I was in charge of Compact and Masterpact and it was for a big geographical area: North [America], South America and Southern Europe.
By the end of my period in Grenoble I was in charge of all what is now inside the Power Products division for the CIS countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, etc.) and a couple of countries in Middle East, Iran and Turkey.
[On the] first of September [of] 2011 I moved to Russia as Marketing Director for Energy Business. I spent four winters in Moscow and it was an interesting time because we had some acquisitions [like] Electroshield Samara. It was my first time as well in charge of a team hierarchically. [It was] very interesting in the way the economy and the market were evolving at the time. It was a booming market. It was growing a lot with high expectations for the future.
By 2015 I moved back to Grenoble and I took charge of the global line of business for medium voltage components as well as coordinating the marketing function within Energy for the different activities. This was until [the] end of April this year, 2019, [at] which time I moved to the US, to Franklin, Tennessee. I’m now in charge of the offer marketing for Medium Voltage Switchgear within the Power Systems division.
“I spent four winters in Moscow and it was an interesting time (…) in the way the economy and the market were evolving. It was a booming market. It was growing a lot with high expectations for the future.”
NP: So far, four countries. Do you have a favorite?
CN: When you have been 12 years out of your home country, you always have it in your mind. I’m from Barcelona. I grew up [there, and I] spent all my childhood, my young years being very close to the beach, to the sea. Since then I’ve been always living in towns that are not close to the sea. Grenoble, Moscow, Franklin are quite far from the sea. So, in this sense, I’m always thinking back of what I had in my childhood. I miss the sea. It’s difficult to say one favorite place. I think I love each place where I have lived in on their own different levels.
NP: What is the first thing that you do when you move into a new home?
CN: Professional deviation: always checking first if the panels are Schneider’s, both in the new homes or in hotel rooms!
NP: What are some of your favorite moments of your career?
CN: There are favorite moments everywhere. It’s a bit complicated to focus on one single moment. I would focus mostly in the different people I’ve met in all this journey. It’s always interesting every time you’re meeting a new team. All the diversity and the different type of people. That’s what I think I cherish most of the experience so far.
“Professional deviation: always checking first if the Panels are Schneider’s, both in the new homes or in hotel rooms!”
NP: What are some of your fondest memories of growing up?
CN: Having some sun, swimming in the sea, that’s probably one of the nicest memories that I still have in my mind. On top of that, I would say that the way of life in Barcelona and its surroundings is always very active. Spending a lot of time with friends, sharing with them nice moments in restaurants and parties.
NP: What does home mean to you?
CN: As I have changed the place to live so many times, I have my own definition of home by saying home is where my family and I are. I’m married, I have my wife who also works for Schneider, and whom I met in Russia.
For me, home is where my wife and I are. It’s a moving target. Is not just a place, it’s where you are at the time. And I try to make every place I live my home, at least for a time.
NP: At the end of the day, do you have a special space where you live that makes you feel more at home?
CN: I guess that would be the main bedroom, where we have pictures from many places where my wife and I have been together. I think it’s the memories that make it cozier and more personal.
NP: Comfort and safety, how do you conciliate both of them at home?
After living in several different places, I would say that comfort at home is defined by space: the clearer the spaces are defined, the more comfortable I feel in them. Also, it becomes important to [have a] space [that] shows your own personality, making home your own. Safety is for me created by the right personality of each space, making you feel secure in each environment.
NP: How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?
We are going to Spain during the week of Thanksgiving. Both our families are living in Spain. Unfortunately, we cannot do it all the time during the year, so we’ll take advantage of it to reunite once again with them.
“For me, home is where my wife and I are. It’s a moving target. Is not just a place, is where you are at the time. And I try to make every place I live my home, at least for a time.”
NP: What are you thankful for?
If I’m talking about Schneider, certainly I’m thankful for having the opportunity to meet such great people from all these different places I’ve been living abroad. I’m thankful also for being able to evolve in my career. So far it has been a very interesting journey. I’ve learned a lot in different places and roles, I have learned from all the people I have met, and I still feel we have opportunities to improve and grow in the future, which is always great.
Beyond that, I’m grateful for having my family, having my wife that I love the most. For being able to meet with the people that I love and to share time with them.
NP: If I would ask you to choose three words to define what it is like to work at Schneider, what words would you choose?
CN: Diversity, growth and innovation. I already mentioned diversity, but also the fact that there are so many opportunities to grow in the company. Anything you can think of to grow in a company you can accomplish it in Schneider.
And innovation because I see it in every step of the way. I’ve been working in developing new offers or about new ways to go to the market to address the business, and our customers, and I would say that this is something that is set in the minds of all the people at Schneider. We try to disrupt, we try to innovate.
NP: Do you have any cravings from back home? Any guilty pleasures?
CN: Jamón! That’s the single word. Each and every Spaniard in the world will tell you that they miss this from home. There is no Jamón like Spanish Jamón in any other part of the world. I haven’t found it in the US so far but if I do, I would be the most loyal customer of that store, for sure.
This blog post is part of the series ‘What Does ‘Home’ Mean to You?’, created to understand the concept of home and its meaning by discovering the unique stories of expatriate employees located in China, France and the United States. They all have left their native countries to start a life in foreign lands and to build a home outside their own. To know more about the series, visit the other entries below:
- Executive ‘Global nomad’ on living in four countries and three continents
- The Journey of Oz: from Egypt to the United States
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