NAME: Maria Lopez Palacin
BACKGROUND: Business Studies in the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences of the University of Zaragoza
ORGANIZATION: Lopez Soriano Group
My Background and Career
I belong to the third generation of an Aragonese familiar group known as the Lopez Soriano Group. There, I started my first internship at the age of 17, combining work with studying. We are a very diversified group although mainly focused on iron and steel, motor and recycling sectors. Besides my education in Business Studies and my later dedication to the management and administration in our group, I’m an advanced teacher of sol-fa (equivalent to a degree in other subjects). Even during 7 years, I dedicated to the education of Music.
At the end of the 90s, I moved to Dusseldorf (Germany) working for different departments in the multinational Thyssen Krupp. Since 2000, I’ve taken charge of the management of the companies of our group in its Automobile Division, several companies who are suppliers of GM Spain. Since 2001, I’m the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza, being the first woman to hold such a position, as well as of the Fair of Zaragoza. Since 2005, I am Honorary Consul of Germany in Zaragoza and Delegate for Aragon of the Chamber of Commerce of Germany in Spain.
I also belong to several boards such as the San Valero Foundation, the University San Jorge Foundation, the University Company Foundation and the Association of San Juan de la Pena, among others.
Financial troubles: Being part of the third generation of the family company, didn’t cause me any trouble in this field, because I joined a stable company. Familiar troubles: My high position didn’t cause me any trouble and it was accepted by the workers of the company.
Personal troubles: It has been very difficult to be valued for myself and avoid the tendency to be compared to my father, and not be valued for how I get to this position.
Social troubles: As I started when I was young and as I was the boss’ daughter, in many occasions I found some rejection when negotiating or presenting something.
Other troubles: Combining all my professional activities has been difficult, because appart from the management of the enterprise, I hold several representative positions in different institutions (and what this implies in other bodies), as well as in Foundations, etc. You have to organize yourself very well so as to know what are your preferences, and be able to keep you personal life.
Keys for success: my greatest support has been my family, as I could study what I wanted to, I was able to train in other enterprises and economic sectors, and I even had the opportunity to work abroad before I joined our company. Moreover, my professional relationships and the people I have met have allowed me to take part in so many institutions. This has opened many doors to me, and at the same time, it has enabled that many organizations thought of me so as to take part in their managing bodies.
My inspirations: My father and my grandfather.
Competences: the most important values for me related to entrepreneurship are that I can adapt easily to any kind of change, and I like cooperating with other people, because I consider working in a team very important, and it is something highly valuable for me. Moreover, I consider something essential that every part ends up being satisfied after a negotiation. I also consider as a fundamental requirement a good planning and organization of the different activities you have to develop. Likewise, I think it is very important being able to make a decision quickly, and I consider myself to have a good strategic vision.
Qualities: I think I am a very active and talkative person, as I like being in touch at any time with the people I work. Moreover, I am very optimistic in everything I am working on, and I have a good strategic vision. I adapt to changes easily, so I think I am a flexible and very practical woman. I like that what has been planned develops quickly, but it doesn’t mean that it should be done badly. And above all, I have always been (and I still am) very self-reliant in every single thing I have been into.
Hints & Tips
Lucky Saying: Smile, it’s free.
My piece of advice for other women who want to take up a project, an enterprise or a business is that they hurl themselves into it, but always in a safe way. In my view, it is preferable to wait a little longer and have a good feasibility study and a good project with greater chances for success, than failing for not having taken all the aspects into account. There are several organizations and institutions that may be helpful for this purpose, so I recommend using them and not hesitating to ask them for advice. It is better to do things slowly but surely than do them rapidly and get them wrong.
Entrepreneurship is a very important decision in one’s life and you have to think it over. My opinion on entrepreneurship is that it is something doubtlessly needed, not only because of the current circumstances: without entrepreneurs, there aren’t enterprises, and without enterprises, the private sector wouldn’t exist, which is essential for the sustainability of society.
Moreover, the world is in constant motion, there are always new needs, and in order to satisfy them, there must be an entrepreneur who throws himself to suit them.
Besides, entrepreneurship encourages creativity, quick decision-making and analysis-ability; however it is also challenging being able to overcome every obstacle, such as the fear of failure, and you have to be able to overcome the first few months, as they are very hard and discouragement may affect you.