When Devotion Meets Work | Carolina Cortez
In the bundle of positive vibes and laughs that Carolina Cortez brings to work, she also carries with her an unbridled sense of devotion.
She remembers a day back when Tanner Pharma Group was in its infancy, Banks said to her about the company, “This is your baby, and if it grows, you grow as well.”
Carolina took the words to heart. Since then, she’s maintained the mindset, “This is mine too,” when thinking about Tanner and has acted accordingly. That’s why she can look back with glee and gratitude over the past 19 years as Executive Vice President of TannerLAC (Licensing, Acquisition, and Commercialization). The journey to where the company is today wasn’t easy, but when you’re devoted, easy isn’t necessary.
In the beginning, Banks and his team were looking for partners in Latin America. While they were on the search, not one of them spoke the native language. In stepped Carolina, a recent university graduate with an interest in finance, and holding down four jobs simultaneously. She had a hope of finding work with a larger company, and she was in luck. Tanner Pharma wasn’t a big company at the time, but it was built on big ideas.
Her encounter with Banks and his team may have been divine fate. Carolina interviewed and was awarded the position, making her only the second person to join the company since they began hiring.
As Carolina confesses, “Selling was not a skill I thought I had,” but she acted as translator for Tanner, relying on her Spanish and Portuguese. Though collaboration didn’t work out with this potential partner from Venezuela, her first day tested her leadership ability, and Carolina did not disappoint.
In the years that came, Carolina found more opportunities to lead. The company transitioned from building to building as it grew, started different programs, and expanded outreach. When the team was small everyone was up for doing anything necessary to push the company forward, even taking out the trash.
“If we had to take out the trash, everyone took out the trash. Even Steve, who is the company’s president. To me this is very nice because it doesn’t matter what my title is, everybody’s equal. That to me translates into ‘I care about you.’”
From that point the team began to quickly grow. As they encountered new experiences year over year, that care is what kept Carolina in her various roles, eventually becoming EVP of TannerLAC.
Company growth did not come without hitches along the way. Sometimes she and the company felt discouraged after getting bad news like losing a registration for a product, losing a market, or changing manufacturer and then not being able to sell a product in a certain country. But with every disappointment there was reason to continue. There was always someone who needed care, and always someone benefiting from their aid. With more people coming on board and more Tanner locations springing up across the globe, there was more work they could get done.
What Carolina realized with their work also was that sometimes those people who needed care were Tanner employees. She recalls one year when an associate suffered an illness. They were out of the office for almost a year, but when they came back, there was a job waiting for them. She herself has been in a similar position going through a loss, but the family culture kept her sustained.
At Tanner, family means working with a group of people who are willing to act, and seeking collaboration. Their motivation is not the promise of getting rich, but the promise of helping others. And what gets sown, is also reaped.
“You give but you also receive at Tanner,” she can say today with a smile.
For Carolina today, those years have flown by. A company of four has become a company of almost a hundred, and there are no plans to stop growing. Carolina hopes that as the company continues to expand its global outreach and bring people into the fold that the family culture will remain the same. She hopes that their caring nature will never change, because that’s what Tanner does best, caring for its products, its patients, and its people.