Eduardo Africano is a Strategic Contracts Professional and Business Consultant.
Drawing from his experience in the corporate world, Eduardo Africano founded Axios Consultants and provides strategic advice to businesses in the U.S., Europe, and Asia looking to go to market in Latin America and the Caribbean. His company focuses on four main segments, including commercial analytics, business consulting, advisory services, and project solutions.
Prior to his career in the corporate world, Eduardo Africano played professional soccer and eventually became a player agent. He continues to be involved in the world of soccer as a youth coach, motivating players through communication and leadership.
Eduardo Africano is also a family man and has been married for 25 years. He is a father of four, with two children in college, one in high school, and one in middle school.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I like the diverse amount of people I work with all around the world. There’s always something new to learn from the people I work with in this industry. My clients can take me in directions I never thought I’d be moving in.
What keeps you motivated?
It changes. Obviously, my family is a motivating factor. The financial pressures every day are there for me to provide for them. But I find that every day has something new to give it a spark and to get me going. You have to always be looking out for those headwinds; you put your sail on and let it take you where you need to go.
How do you motivate others?
I’ve had a large staff before and in order to be a good leader you have to apply situational leadership. It can be a challenge, but I’ve been successful at it because I only tell people to do something that I am willing to do myself. People have to see that you not only mean what you say but that you’re willing to do it. You have to be able to be willing to adapt along the way. Flexibility is important. Lastly, rewards also help. Recognition, monetary rewards, however that is represented, people like to feel appreciated. Some people like being recognized for their work with awards or the spotlight, whereas others don’t care for that and only need compensation.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
I’ve had different role models throughout my life. Most recently, I’d say President Barack Obama was an inspiration because of where he came from. He had difficulties to deal with that many would have found insurmountable and he just decided to figure out a way to work with everyone. This is not a political statement, but just looking at the challenges he had to face with a Congress that was dead set on stopping him. He stayed positive about it, he never became sour grapes, he never got upset. He did get flustered from time to time but it takes a good temperament to not let it define you.
What I’ve learned from that is you have to temper your feelings and be able to look for the silver lining. It’s always out there. There were other world leaders who lived in the same scenario, like Churchill or Lincoln, that were also able to rise above and stay focused. Yes, people may be out there to try to make life difficult for you, but you have to remain steady and not let things get too personal. Look beyond your nose and see what’s over there on the horizon and shoot for that castle and be willing to adapt.
How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?
Working from home makes that very hard. All the functions of business are within reach of a phone and the internet. It takes discipline to be able to find that balance. What has helped me greatly is coaching soccer. It helps me get out of the house and be completely disconnected from the day-to-day of business. Setting aside time to be with your family, or even with yourself, is key. You have to force yourself in a way to establish that balance, because if you don’t then you will end up regretting it one way or another. Because you can’t save time, you can only spend it.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
The answer to this question is constantly changing, because what I consider an accomplishment today may be different than an accomplishment from many years back. But overall, I would say my biggest accomplishment is having my family with me and being together. That may sound silly, but in today’s world kids grow up and go to college and they leave and you never hear from them. People are now getting divorced over the littlest thing. But we’ve managed to stick together for 25 years despite it not being easy. That in itself is an accomplishment I am proud of.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Coaching. I enjoy being able to take kids and help them understand a game like soccer, learning how to play on a team, and how to deliver in a particular role. But even more important is helping them become men and women and future leaders of industries or society. I live in an affluent area and most of the kids that I coach come from very good backgrounds and they’re likely to go on to do great things in college and beyond. I’d like to instill in them a mindset of doing things the right way no matter what, especially staying humble. I am one of the winningest coaches in this area and I always try to remind my kids to remain humble in all celebrations. There is always a loser and the last thing you want to do is step on a guy’s head after you beat them. Aside from that, there are other pressures that they face on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes they’re more comfortable talking with a coach rather than a parent. I saw coaching as a great way to give back to the community by doing something I love.
What advice do you have for other professionals in your field?
I would say don’t make unrealistic promises to clients and business partners. It may be tempting to make big promises, like achieving results over a short timeline and you may think you are up to the challenge, but not fulfilling those promises can destroy relationships between you and your clients and partners. It is better to be honest and realistic about what you can achieve. As well, this is general advice for any professional at all, but always try to start your day early in the morning. Rolling out of bed to get dressed and go to work just makes you more tired and less motivated. Starting your day early with a routine will set you up for success.