People Profile: Carla Silva, VP and GM, Global Head of Licensing at King Features, a unit of HEARST
The global licensing community is powered by an incredible group of professionals whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. Each week we’re profiling one of these professionals in this ongoing series.
How did you get into licensing (or how did licensing find YOU😊)?
After graduating college, my first job was working as an assistant to the SVP of International Licensing, Rita Rubin. She was a true pioneer in the industry and my journey started on Valentine’s day, 1994. I had the opportunity to learn about the licensing/publishing business, work with a network of Agents around the globe, travel to various tradeshows, and work on some wonderful brands such as PEANUTS. It’s been an amazing journey and I am grateful for being a part of the licensing industry for so many years!
What’s a “typical” day in your current position?
I start each day with my morning routine: COFFFEE! Once that kicks in, I do some short exercises and then get down to work. I write down my top priorities for the day, read/answer emails, conduct Zoom calls/presentations with our network of Int’l Agents in order to inspire our partners and drive excitement for our biggest priority initiatives. Throughout the day, I also pitch/negotiate agreements and lead strategy and growth across multiple categories of business. I meet with outside creative agencies to develop new art trend guides for our brands and discuss our marketing, PR, and new business strategies with the team. Each day is an opportunity to work on something new and that’s one of the reasons why I love this industry so much! The reality is that there’s never enough time, so it’s important to stay positive, have a high level of energy and focus on what’s truly important.
What’s your biggest personal and professional accomplishment?
Personally, my two boys are my inspiration and why I do what I do every single day. They are my greatest accomplishment. Apart from that, I took advantage of some newfound free time made available due to the pandemic and I was able to complete the following Hearst programs: Hearst Management Institute Program and Hearst INCLUDE Certified Change Agent. In addition, I completed the TR Mastery University which promotes life-long growth to help us create our most extraordinary life. I attended several events and learned from some amazing philanthropists who have not only transformed their lives for the better but who have dedicated their lives to helping others master all aspects of life – mind, body, physical health, emotions, time management, business, & finance. It was truly an eye-opening experience and personally rewarding. Lastly, I’m extremely proud that I’ve had the opportunity to leverage my professional career to travel the world and personally learn from some amazing and accomplished trailblazers!
My biggest professional accomplishment is having the ability to re-invent our classic brands and introduce them to a new generation. During our lifetime, we all go through so many different changes both personally and professionally, and it’s crucial to adapt and focus on the next generation. History repeats itself, and we must always stay true to the brand values but evolve and grow.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
We’re seeing changes in consumer behavior and digital growth everywhere. Gaming is a growing category across all platforms and will continue to play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms. Content will continue to be king and this is the reason why you’re seeing so many acquisitions such as Microsoft and Activision. It’s important to stay nimble and open minded to new categories and ways of doing business.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
So much has changed during the last two years due to this terrible pandemic and we’ve seen a huge increase in anxiety, depression, suicide and other mental health issues. This really concerns me. At the same time, we’ve also seen some amazing people take action. Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, two incredible women at the top of their games, speak openly about mental health and bring these important issues to the forefront. It’s important for us to talk openly about these issues. We need to truly listen, stay connected and support each other. I see this happening and it brings me hope.
Biggest challenge? Finding a way to continuously maximize revenue and re-invent classic brands during these challenging times… CREATIVITY, commitment and ACTION are key. Thankfully, I’m blessed to have an amazing team and network of Agents to work with.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
Growth mindset, great communication, resilience and dedication. Never stop learning!
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? OR What is your favorite quote?
Education is one thing no one can take away from you and so is traveling! In terms of quotes, I have so many favorites…
“Trade expectations for appreciation. Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” Everyone has a different definition of success, but make sure you take the time to be grateful and focus on the things that make you HAPPY.
And the one I use Every. Single. Day. “Where focus goes, energy flows.”
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you)
There are a few… For example, the successful collab between Snoopy x H&M many years ago. The product line was amazing! Our partnership between Popeye x Universal Studios which continues to go strong to this day! The characters from the Popeye universe deeply resonate with fans around the world, and it’s thrilling to see one of our fan favorites experiencing continued growth. And fans should stay tuned because we’re kicking off the new year with even more exciting promotions and limited-edition fashion collections.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
What a fun question! I have many different passions… I would probably be a Real Estate Guru… or Life Strategist/Motivational speaker traveling the globe and inspiring people to unlock their potential and LIVE THEIR BEST LIFE!
The last licensed product I bought was…
I bought a “Life is Good” t-shirt for my husband. Love the story on how the two brothers started the company, the quality of their products, and the cause, where a portion of their net profit is donated for kids in need. Life is Good!