Chakipi Peru – Miguel de la Flor, General Manager
By 2014, at 42 years of age, Miguel de la Flor had had a successful career spanning various management roles at reputable Peruvian and international companies. His extensive experience included implementing sales and distribution channels in both mass consumption and direct sales companies including Telefonica, a leading global telecommunications company, Embotelladora Don Jorge, a major manufacturer and distributor of beverages in Peru, and Herbalife, which develops, markets, and sells nutrition supplements. He had no plans to leave his job at the time until he received a call from a headhunter, telling him about a new role to lead CGEP’s Chakipi inclusive distribution business in Peru. After learning about the Chakipi model and the benefits to female entrepreneurs, he accepted the offer to join Chakipi as general manager, knowing that there was the opportunity to have a significant impact on his home country.
Miguel acknowledges that his previous roles were critical in giving him the experience to lead Chakipi. While he was happy with his previous experiences, he feels extremely fortunate to have been given his current opportunity. Miguel spends about 25 per cent of his time in the office analyzing sales and productivity reports, and spends the rest of his time in the field. He recognizes that in the office, you only see a small part of the story. He emphasizes the importance of creating and nurturing relationships with suppliers and staff, interacting with Chakipi entrepreneurs, and hearing their experiences.
“When you get to the communities and start explaining to the women how they can take advantage of the opportunity, at first it seems like a crazy idea to them. But then they realize something new can happen in their lives. Many times it’s probably the first opportunity they have had… The best part is hearing the stories from the entrepreneurs, seeing their kids playing around them, hearing them say that their lives have improved, seeing how grateful they are for Chakipi and how it has helped them. Listening to their stories – that’s what’s amazing.”
Miguel also notes that there are many challenges associated with working in rural areas. In some remote regions of Peru, cultural barriers can initially make it difficult for Chakipi staff from the city to gain acceptance and also to understand what really motivates people to be successful. “You really have to break a wall in order to understand what they are feeling and thinking.”
Despite the challenges, Miguel firmly believes in Chakipi and its potential. He believes that the model can be successfully replicated in other countries.
“My dream for Chakipi is to be known all over Peru, that everyone knows we came to Peru and made a great change for the people that need the most help. [I hope that] when someone hears Chakipi they realize it’s a company that impacted thousands of women… I’m really happy to be working with such a great team. I think we are going to do something really good. I am very lucky to be in this position.”