‘Talking about anti-racism in the market has even become fashionable’: CEOs talk about live business from GQ – GQ

Live from GQ Brasil: CEOs Kwami Alfama (Tereos), Sérgio All (Account Black) and Rodolfo Gomes (PPTGO) and talk about business, lifestyle and blackness (Photo: Disclosure)

Almost a year and a half after the assassination of George Floyd by the US police, an event that generated a series of worldwide protests against structural racism and popularized the term “anti-racism”, the market’s assessment is that companies have not done the enough to combat racial differences in the workplace.

In live at GQ Brasil, CEOs Kwami Alfama, who chairs the multinational Tereos Starch & Sweeteners Brazil; Rodolfo Gomes and Sérgio All, founders of startups PPTGO and Conta Black, respectively, gave their opinion on the subject, in a conversation that dealt with business, lifestyle and blackness.⁠

“When we see a market dominated by white people talking about an anti-racist process, at a certain point, it even becomes fashionable. I don’t see it [o antirracismo] in practice, we see stories of companies taking one action or another to say what they are doing, fulfilling a goal, there are few cases of companies duly committed to this,” said Sérgio All.

Rodolfo and Kwami agreed and added that the change has to reach all spheres of the companies, from the top to the bottom, in addition to needing to be faster. “I think the projects for black trainees, basic education, are super cool, but how long will it take? 20, 30 years to have people in leadership positions?”, asked the CEO of Tereos.

The speeches reacted to two data pointed out by the Ethos Institute. The first speaks of blacks occupying only 4.7% of leadership positions in the 500 largest companies in the country, even though they are the majority in Brazil. The second indicates that, at the rate the country is at, racial equality in the workplace will only be achieved 148 years from now, in 2169. 281 years after the end of slavery.

Both Rodolfo and Kwami point to diversity as something beyond the social, but the financial as well. Companies have understood that diversity facilitates innovation and brings profit. Those that do not adopt these policies must lose space in the public’s taste, which, little by little, no longer accepts companies that maintain this racist bias.

“You are not born an entrepreneur”

Live from GQ Brasil: Reporter Pedro Lobo and CEOs Rodolfo Gomes (PPTGO), Sérgio All (Black Account) and Kwami Alfama (Tereos) talk about business, lifestyle and blackness (Photo: Reproduction/Instagram)

Live from GQ Brasil: Reporter Pedro Lobo and CEOs Rodolfo Gomes (PPTGO), Sérgio All (Black Account) and Kwami Alfama (Tereos) talk about business, lifestyle and blackness (Photo: Reproduction/Instagram)

Sérgio All, an entrepreneur for over 25 years, since he was 19, decided to take this path early on, seeing his parents’ juggling to put food at home. “I only worked once as an employee to decide that no, I wanted to be the master of my nose'”, he said, in a story similar to Rodolfo’s.

“I remember as a child, playing and saying that I was an entrepreneur. My father brought some super complex forms from work and I remember filling them out, joking, thinking that being an entrepreneur was simply filling out some papers and the company was all right,” he recalled , with humor, the CEO of PPT Go.

Regarding the emergence of this entrepreneurial vein, the panel was unanimous in saying that entrepreneurship has to be present in everyone’s daily lives. When they were employees, they acted as if the business was theirs, and in the startup itself, they seek to undertake every day, seeking innovation.

the double life

With the responsibilities of managing large companies, Kwami and Rodolfo found in their home office life an opportunity to get closer to their children and family, which was difficult in the pre-pandemic period.

“With the digitization, accelerated by the pandemic, I was able to carry out my work much closer. She was the first child I could see learning to read and write, so it was a fantastic experience to have lunch with her, take her to school… something that I’ve never done. Today, technology is helping to better adjust that balance,” reported Kwami.

Even without children, one of the themes that has been on Sergio’s mind the most is legacy. Turning the camera on his cell phone during the live, he showed his nephew, who is already being trained to join the company and, who knows, maybe take his chair in the future.

In all cases, being with the family has proved to be important in this difficult period, especially combined with hobbies such as reading, sports and video games. After all, even CEOs need to be very relaxed, with a balanced life, to get on with their day-to-day endeavors.

Check out the full live: