As the technology is becoming synonym of success every company craves to acquire and cope up with it. Mc Luhan is a consulting company specialized in customer relationship which is designed to create the best experience based in AI technology. The company offers its services in markets as banking, insurance, health, government management, retail, entertainment, mass consumption, telecommunications and utilities. The company has experts in each business and for each product line. One of its experts is Andrea Mandelbaum CEO of Mc Luhan, who leads the company with her sterling marketing strategies and exceptional leadership qualities. She says “my efforts and objectives are centered on being a leader in technological innovation with an additional orientation on high capacity usage, which represents an unforgettable useful experience for the client.”
Andrea’s career’s early stages started on 1994. After graduating, she started working in statistics for a market research company, while pursuing a postgraduate degree in Business and Marketing. On 1996, she found the company Mc Luhan, which on 2000, she sold to WPP group, and then worked in the company for three years. Later, on 2003, she reestablished Mc Luhan under a concept orientated to customer relationship consultancy based in technology. In the last 10 years she has become a specialized reference in the region on issues of artificial intelligence, consulted by the press and giving conferences.
“My vision is always being ahead in solutions that cause a change in the way of doing things creating unique experiences.”
A Team of Experts
“My motto is always being a step forward in the innovation and has a flexible structure so we can adapt to changes quickly” says Andrea. Per day, Andrea spends at least between two and three hours studying new technologies, usage per segmentation trends, and behavior in the face of technological tools. Also, she speaks a lot with the clients so they can tell her their problems and needs. She asserts “clients lay out their difficulties to us not knowing how to cope with them and ignoring if there is a technological tool or not to apply.” After that and given the help of a multidisciplinary team of experts per field, the team at Mc Luhan starts the design of the product that can solve the needs of the clients per sector and the team also shapes design as per industry. She opines “I value teamwork, the fact of listening to each other, and the company internal and external community, as well as the professionals who can provide knowledge in both, always including them within the frame of professional respect and honesty.”
Inspiring Work Environment
Andrea opines “It seems to me that the most significant trait is the fact that we work as women and we do not copy men´s models to reach for success.” She believes this is something that has evolved in the last years after the movements and initiatives of women power. Twenty years ago, women who managed to make progress made it at the expense of scarifying their private lives. She adds, during her professional life, she has always been surrounded by men at the boards of directors; but, due to her personality, she never felt fear or insecure about not being at the same aye level with them.
Since the establishment of Mc Luhan till today, the 70% of it is built by women. And they have always been empowered as this feeling has been natural for them no matter if they were part of the company or not. It is in the company spirit. There is a great environment of collaboration and respect among all genres that constitute the company. The value resides in the people and not in their genre.
Always Ready to Face Challenges
The first obstacle Andrea faced was creating a company being too young, a woman and having way too innovative ideas. However, she was tenacious, and she believed in the model. In Latin America and on 1996, the progress of the technological services was known here with 5 years of delay. So, she engaged to spread out her service. She explained what was all about and clarified the concept of a 360 view of the customer for service.
Political and economic conditions and changes in Latin America are not easy to surf, but Andrea believes it helped her on not only being creative with the services the company supplied, but also on how it offered to the customers and how needs would arise for each market. For each crisis, Mc Luhan and the team try to find support solutions rooted in technology for their clients. For example, under events such as COVID-19 pandemic, the company developed a service with immediate effect to tackle crisis caused by absence, suspension of activities or evacuation of the customer service team. It also designed a virtual nurse who activates a care protocol and gives recommendations when it identifies and pre-diagnoses Coronavirus. This service made quite an impact as the company launched it when companies and governments were arranging their contingency plans. So, the company supplied a solution what other believed impossible.
For Andrea, the empowerment is not something new to her. She has been using it to fight since she was little. She has always sought to make an alliance with other women in her company. In fact, Andrea’s associate is a woman, and they have been carrying forward the whole company in perfect balance since years. Together, they foster talents in the company as well as in the clients. They have seen women who started from below and now they perform important company positions, and that gives Andrea deep satisfaction. Nowadays, Andrea found herself in an initiative called Woman in AI (Ipsoft), in which she is invited to be the regional pioneer in charge to inspire new generations to participate in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Here is where Andrea sets the improvement adapted to Latin America, because only a few women pursue degrees in STEM. So, she suggests hiring women from different disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, HR, marketing, etc. They can study and work within the AI (Artificial intelligence) environment, because the faster they develop in the business, the better they will be positioned in the market. In a short period of time, every device will be deeply engaged with AI, and the ones better prepared would reach the best business positions.
However, Andrea believes “we should start from the beginnings. What I wanted to allude with that? I say that very few little girls between six and twelve years old see themselves working in STEM, since there are almost no models to follow.” So, she believes, it is important to produce education and motivation at very early ages so they can approach technology not only as users but also as developing tools that will follow their own preferences.
Insights on Meritocracy
On meritocracy, Andrea asserts, “I would like to explain its meaning first. It is the power of merit, the power understood as right. This right is given to the deserving individual. Still, if we want to decide who deserves it according to the individual efforts, all participants should be fixed at the same starting point. What usually takes place is that this point is not located at the same place for everyone, consequently, the ones launching from a different condition will spend more time to reach or probably, do not reach the expected at all.”
She further says “If companies analyze the value only relying on the individual capacity, we would be ignoring the surrounding conditions and situations such as genre, social and economic environment, culture, geographic place, just to mention some of them. In consequence, defining the parameters while considering the situation, environment, capacities and efforts of the individual plays a key role if we want to settle when and where someone can reach the expected. We should use the meritocracy as a motivational strategy, but the starting point must be fixed before analyzing.”
Visioning to Advance Future
Andrea is now focusing in placing and enhancing Mc Luhan’s AI (Artificial intelligence) bots. The team is currently introducing a new line which allows clients to have unique experiences through AR (Augmented reality) + VR (Virtual reality) along with the AI (Artificial intelligence). After COVID-19, lots of shopping habits will change, and the company will be there offering usage and purchase experiences so real that one would even feel inside the store.