People Profile: Isabella Rafael, Strategy & Business Development Coordinator at LMCA
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)?
My journey into licensing began within my family, through my dad’s agency in Brazil. As early as I can remember, as a 3- or 4-year-old, I would often visit his office and be in awe of all the toys. From Strawberry Shortcake to SpongeBob, my younger self would think, ‘’I want to do what my dad does, because he gets all the cool toys.’’ As I got older and learned more about licensing and what it is, I of course realized that it is about much more than toys, but the idea of connecting brands and consumers in innovative ways was still fascinating to me. Having embraced licensing as my own path was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What’s a “typical” day in your current position?
In my current role, my days revolve around collaborating closely with both our North America and LATAM teams when it comes to strategy and business development. A usual day for me is a mixed bag of activities. Mornings are typically dedicated to LMCA’s strategic marketing initiatives—think social media, our presence at trade shows, upcoming press releases, etc. As the day unfolds, a lot of my time is spent supporting the brand development teams across the Americas and, of course, I’m always in regular communication with our partners, licensors, and licensees. No two days are the same, and I love that!
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Or what is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘’What’s past is prologue.’’ There’s something very reassuring about viewing the past, including its mistakes, as a steppingstone for constructing the future.
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (It doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you.)
There’s this Brazilian kids’ cartoon called Turma da Mônica (TDM), that actually just hit its 60th anniversary. Over 20 years ago they launched TDM apples, which are known for being small (seriously, they are almost bite-sized apples) and a great quick and healthy snack. This was so popular that they now produce over 1.6 million tons of all sorts of fruits every year! When I think of TDM, I think of fruits.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
In my view, the top skill for a licensing professional to have is the ability to build and maintain relationships. Licensing is a people business and it’s all about the connections with licensors, licensees, retailers, and agencies—you name it. Knowing how to work these relationships is key.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
I strongly believe that if I wasn’t in corporate brand licensing, I’d be in entertainment licensing. However, if licensing wasn’t in the picture at all, I’d love to work in marketing or take a year off to travel, Eat Pray Love-style.
What’s your biggest personal and professional accomplishment?
Back in college, I got to be a campus tour guide. It was a big deal for me, both personally and professionally. I helped potential new students figure things out for themselves and make choices about their education. And guess what? Some of those then-incoming students actually graduated this year! That makes me feel so happy, proud, and maybe just a tad old.