Meet Nancy Martínez, the founder of Live 13.5, the first consulting company in Latin America for organizational happiness and international certification "happiest companies". She has worked in executive coaching and senior mentoring programs with large companies such as Coca-Cola-Femsa, Danone, Natura, Starbucks, Nissan, UPS, and Santander. She has received recognitions as a Powerful Women by Forbes, TOP 10 of HR Influencers by GO Integro, International Award of Leadership Hall of Fame of Latin America.
Who is Nancy Martinez? Define yourself.
I am an irreverent woman, who loves to live life, I enjoy helping people to be better and happier. I love to connect with my friends and family, I love being in the middle of the forest with Mia my dog, and I enjoy traveling, eating, and having a good glass of wine.
How were you as a kid?
I was a girl who lived a life with many challenges, I lived in a very poor neighborhood of Mexico City. My mom was a housewife, my dad was a tour guide. My parents gave me the best they could because no one taught them how to be parents. My father used to be very demanding, nothing was enough for him, so I always strived for his recognition. That's why my childhood was a bit difficult, being the older sister of 3 children. My dad used to hit us with his belt, constantly punish us, and demand perfection from us, however, I am grateful that my childhood was like this, as it gave me many tools to be who I am now.
You hold a Bachelor´s degree in Business Relationships at IPN, Mexico, a master’s degree in human resources at TecMilenio Mexico, a master’s degree in Gamification at IEBS Spain, also have a Certification in Organizational Happiness, a Certification in Coaching and Situational Leadership among others why did you choose those courses of study?
When I was young, I wanted to dedicate myself to Marketing, however, life led me to dedicate myself to working with people in the Human Resources area. That's why I majored in Business Administration with a major in HR. Subsequently, I was fired from my last job and decided to start my organizational happiness consultancy and do it originally and uniquely. That's why I specialized in Organizational Happiness, leadership, and gamification.
How did you start your career in the well-being and happiness world?
Just when I was fired, I went through a difficult process, because I loved the company where I worked, but before I was fired I was already suffering from a high level of burnout, and at the same time I suffered mental, physical and emotional violence, so when I left I decided to build a company that would allow me to help people and companies to be more productive and happy.
“Although happiness is personal, a happy person will not be able to tolerate being in a toxic organization, leaving considerable havoc on the organization. However, there will be happy people who, due to their circumstances, have to accept staying in a job with a toxic environment, but sooner or later they will be affected by the environment, changing their attitude, reducing their productivity, or quietly quitting”
You are the founder of Live 13.5, the first consulting company in Latin America of organizational happiness and international certification "happiest companies". You have worked in executive coaching and senior mentoring programs with large companies such as Coca-Cola-Femsa, Danone, Natura, Starbucks, Nissan, UPS, and Santander, achieving economic benefits with high profitability for the organization and the welfare and happiness of employees, What´s the recipe for your success?
To have a genuine interest in helping companies transform their cultures towards greater well-being and happiness at work. Understand their needs very well, implement programs in a disruptive and non-traditional way, and monitor and guarantee our services.
Do you have any particular philosophy that guides your career decisions?
- Excellence: Whenever we do something, it has to be impeccable
- Aesthetics: Love enters through the eyes, everything we do is always visually beautiful
- Reciprocity: Always be grateful to others and give back part of what they have given us. Always looking to win-win.
- Always surprise the other: give an extra, not just give for what we are paid, but be different considering the added value.
You have received recognitions as Powerful Women by Forbes, TOP 10 of HR Influencers by GO Integro, the National Award of the Woman by the National Chamber of the Woman, International Award of Leadership Hall of Fame of Latin America, what does it feel and what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
When I was like 18 years old, I wanted to be a powerful woman, get a lot of recognition, and be a great CEO in a multinational company, thinking that would make me happy. When I was laid off, I understood my purpose to help people be better and happier and when I did, the recognitions and awards came by themselves. Happiness is not in what you get, in the material, or in the recognition, it is in being able to do what you love impacting the world.
“ I have seen that many women hide behind the fact that because they are women, they do not have the same opportunities, but I have also seen women who prepare themselves and assert their rights, always seeking to find a door to their opportunities”
You are the author of 2 books about Well-being and Happiness at Work, tell us more about them and where can people get them.
I have 2 books, the first one is called "Injodibibly Happy", it is a book where I give practical tools so that people can be happy and so that everyone loves themselves so much that they are responsible for their happiness and do not give the power to others to define their lives. The second is called "Heroic Companies" 14 best practices of Well-being and Happiness at Work and is a compilation of 14 stories, 14 companies, and 14 practices that improve the lives of people within organizations, with a single purpose, to continue changing the world of work, for a healthier, more productive and happier one, raising awareness among other leaders that it is possible.
Nancy, you are an expert in happiness at work. What tips can you give to leaders in Mexico and Latin America, where we know that employees live in toxic environments with leaders from the old school that think, the happiness of their employees is not their business and companies are just to make money?
First of all, be self-critical of their lives and their well-being, you can't give what you don't have. Second, understand that the purpose of a leader is to improve the lives of his collaborators so that they improve the life of the organization. When employees feel valued, recognized, and cared for by their leader, they give more than 100% Although happiness is personal, a happy person will not be able to tolerate being in a toxic organization, leaving considerable havoc on the organization. However, there will be happy people who, due to their circumstances, have to accept staying in a job with a toxic environment, but sooner or later they will be affected by the environment, changing their attitude, reducing their productivity, or quietly quitting.
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
What I love most is that we are changing the world of work to a healthier, more productive and happier one. The most difficult thing is to re-educate about what happiness at work is in a scientific way and with a solid foundation since unfortunately it is a term that has been misused creating little credibility.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I don't think I have normal days, haha but an average day is like this:
•I wake up at 5:15 am I go out to the gym at 5:30 and on the way I listen to a podcast or an audiobook, I work out from 6 to 7, I take a shower and go home and on the way, I listen to a podcast or an audiobook, I go for a walk with my dog for 2 km, with my headphones and a coffee. Return home at 8:30 am, for breakfast, later I start my day depending on my type 9 schedule, I go for a walk with my dog 2 km, with my headphones and a coffee from 5 pm to 6 pm depending on my day. I'm still working on some cases or I'm reading now if a physical book. I sleep at 9/10 pm either with a meditation or relaxing music and before that I thank God.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
Taking risks to scale and doing my projects to compete with the big guys. One of the comments that I always remember is that I always throw myself into the big leagues doing very competitive projects, and yes, it has had a high cost to pay that has been worth it because it has allowed us to position ourselves and make a difference.
What are the DO and DON´Ts in female leadership?
It's a difficult question because from my perspective leadership has no gender, people must act by example, in congruence, and caring about themselves as a person to be a great version in every sphere of our lives. However, women should:
- Taking more risks to grow
- Be an example of resilience.
- Proving to Ourselves That We Can Get Where We Want to Go
- Learning to live in a world where we have to fight to win opportunities and if we don't find them, be able to create them.
- Create a positive environment of people who bring us together help us grow and drive us.
- Be our fans, because sometimes among women we are our enemies.
- Stop victimizing ourselves for being a woman and fight for what we deserve.
- Raise our voices to demand our rights.
- Learning to Set Boundaries
- To live beautifully, to love ourselves, to take care of ourselves, and to dream big.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel, I love nature, walking for hours in the middle of the forest, and always accompanied by my dog, I love to connect with my friends, good food, and good wine. I love the beach and the sun.
“I always throw myself into the big leagues doing very competitive projects, and yes, it has had a high cost to pay that has been worth it, because it has allowed us to position ourselves and make a difference”
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
Yes, right. My first lecture was quite a challenge. I was asked to give a talk on happiness to 500 people. Which I accepted, without thinking that it would be a very strong change in my life. At that congress, there were 5 very famous male speakers. And I was savoring myself. Because he wasn't a lecturer. Because I was a woman and because if I failed, I was going to look very bad to potential clients. And since I'm dedicated to empowering people, I knew what I had to do. So I started learning how to be a speaker, and how to modulate my voice, I went to therapy, I learned how to move on stage, and I prepared like no one else for that conference. And in the end, I faced some adversity, which put me at risk at the time. However, as I prepared, I managed to give one of the best lectures of my life and I will never forget it I realized that the mind has an impressive power to make us achieve our dreams or to make us fail. And that each person has the power to decide to be happy and achieve their dreams.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, I don´t know if you have kids and if you are married, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
What a good question. Being a woman and meeting all the expectations that society expects of us is very difficult. And that's where I want to start. Women have to live the life we want, not what others expect of us. That is the big problem that many women face because they want to meet the expectations that others expect, such as being mothers, how to be great professionals, how to have children, how to get married, and how not to divorce. After all, it is frowned upon by society, how not to leave children at home, because they are professionals, because it is frowned upon by society. And it comes back. A very difficult situation to live in.
My message to many women would be to live life, to want to live no matter what others think about their decisions and to live it without guilt. As long as these decisions bring them closer to a fuller, more beautiful, happier life. I decided not to be a mom and not to have children. Because that's the kind of life I want to live, but I've faced a lot of discrimination because I decided to do so. From my family to my friends. I remember being taken out of a group of friends where everyone went in pairs, simply because I was always alone. Or my dad who told me all the time that I was going to stay a spinster and that the family talked and that when I was going to have a partner or when I was going to have children, what was the point of being successful if I was going to be alone, or arriving at a wedding where they always told me that I had children and when I said no, They gave me an explanation as to why I should have children.
So, I learned to be irreverent with life, I learned that the decisions I make in my life are because they are going to make me happy, and if someone wants to accompany me on the way, welcome. And if not, I'll go on my way alone. Why? Because that makes me feel fulfilled, and happy. But here is an important recipe, women must learn to love so much that we are our priority, the problem is that sometimes we get out of the formula of our lives. And that's not right, because we end up feeling unhappy and incomplete.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years and I have focused a lot on growing my business, now it is time to consolidate and have more time for myself, more time to do what I like, and enjoy the benefits of being an entrepreneur.
There is still a glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for the fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I do believe that there is a glass ceiling set by us. We must be the change the world wants to see. I have seen that many women hide behind the fact that because they are women, they do not have the same opportunities, but I have also seen women who prepare themselves and assert their rights, always seeking to find a door to their opportunities. In my case, I have lived with issues of harassment by some male directors or business owners, but I have learned to set limits and assert myself.
Being a woman is hard, but so is being a man. It's not a question of gender, it's a matter of preparation, of focus, of personal work, of knowing what you want, of valuing ourselves for what we're worth. Many times, I have met women who are their worst enemy and that makes the doors close to us.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
The first thing I would say to them is to be clear about what they want and what they want it for. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, there is a high cost to pay. I've come across people who tell me they want to be entrepreneurs because they want to have more time for themselves and that's a lie, they've sold us. If someone wants to be an entrepreneur, they must be clear that if it is to make money they will only fail, you must be clear about your purpose and when you have it and work for it, when things get difficult, it will be your purpose that keeps you on your feet. You will learn to be resilient, to keep going when you feel that everything is against you, you will find ways to keep going and not give up and the money will come, not the other way around.
“Women have to live the life we want, not what others expect of us. That is the big problem that many women face because they want to meet the expectations that others expect, such as being mothers, how to be great professionals, how to have children, how to get married, and how not to divorce”
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Nancy and what is not?
Many people think that because I dedicate myself to Happiness my life is perfect and all the time they want to see me with a smile on my face, however like everyone I am a human being with ups and downs, where I get angry, I am afraid, I get sad and even I get depressed, the difference is that I have the psychological resources to get out of there and return to my natural state of positivism, Focus and focus on results. I'm very demanding with myself and my team, I'm used to doing things with excellence, always making a difference, breaking my limits, and being good to myself.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I don't have a favorite woman; I love to know stories where the fact of being a woman or living a difficult life did not stop them and they achieved their dreams or are changing the world because they show us that it is possible.
Something else you want to add or share with us?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to inspire more women to achieve their dreams and live the lives they deserve.
Name: Nancy Martinez
Company: Live 13.5