Fernando Reani, Managing Director of Under Armour Australia and New Zealand, joined us for a Fireside Chat about work culture, bringing values to life and empowering others.
At Afea, we hold regular Fireside Chats alongside our monthly town hall meetings to learn from special guests.
As our special guest for the month of March, Fernando sat across our founder and CEO, Esha Oberoi, by the (electric) fireplace with mugs of hot chocolate and cookies, and reflected on his journey from Brazil to Australia and talked about his years of experience in the sports and performance apparel industry.
“We run very different businesses, but we share the same values,” he said. “You guys are in the business of making people’s lives better, and we are as well.”
‘Why are we here?’
He spoke about how creating a strong culture and a strong team are the key to growth, underscoring the importance of clearly communicating your purpose.
“As a sales guy, you love your numbers, right? ‘Look at these great results, great sales, and our market share and our margins.’” But Fernando quickly realised that there must be purpose beyond profit when he was asked “Why are we here?” by a young staff member at Under Armour. He then knew that he must provide a framework that will give meaning to the work they do, and commit to bringing their values to life and not just have them be “letters on a wall”.
At present, Under Armour has made a commitment to create opportunities for millions of youth to engage in sports by 2030, empowering not just top athletes but everyone who wants to engage in an active life.
Three Secrets to Success
When asked the three main characteristics that make him successful, Fernando shared:
- Treating people with respect and empathy and being a team player.
- Nothing replaces the power of hard work. You need to put the hours in.
- A solid career requires solid steps. But it also requires a little bit of patience. Make sure you take the time to learn and be ready for what’s next. The truth is you may never be ready for what’s next…but if you get the right foundation, you can navigate your learning periods as you go.
Fernando also shared that he has the tendency of saying yes to every opportunity, “but learning how to say no is one of the key talents of a leader.”
Learning to say no also helps him stick to his strategy and protect his team from being battered at every angle by demands, Fernando added.
Learning how to decompress is also important for leaders. Fernando said that he runs and listens to music or podcasts, “but not necessarily business podcasts, so I can switch off a little bit.”
Fernando then took questions from Team Afea, and spoke about a range of topics, from finding a place alongside huge competitors and the answer to the very important question: when exactly can Under Armour bring Stephen Curry to Australia?
Thank you for that fun and illuminating chat, Fernando!
Watch a short clip from the Fireside Chat below: