Strategic Planning and the Courage to Follow your Passion!

“You’ve got to follow your passion.  You’ve got to figure out what it is you love–who you really are.  And have the courage to do that.  I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dream.” Oprah Winfrey.

Three years ago, based on our Strategic Plan, I began an exciting journey to help American firms find work in Brazil, as it prepares for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.  My “courage” to continue was put to the test on July 23, 2012 as I experienced what has been one of the biggest challenges of my career and life.  During one of my business trips to Rio, I was hit by one of Rio’s new rapid buses as I crossed the street to my apartment, throwing a major wrench into my well-planned business development strategy for my trip!

Over the next 48 hours I experienced what I could only describe as a surreal nightmare. I honestly thought that I was dreaming – this couldn’t be happening to me.  Each time a new test or scan was performed, I was presented with a new list of ailments, as well as a new specialist to help me get through my ordeal. Don’t get me wrong…all of the physicians and nurses were excellent – but I was in a country where English is not the primary language and my Portuguese still needs a lot of work.

During these next few days I learned that I had seven fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, a blown left eye socket, a compound fracture of my right wrist and an open contusion to the left side of my forehead. Each day when the picture became clearer,  I thanked God that I had no neurological or spinal damage that could have left me paralyzed, or worse…dead. As I sit here almost 3 months later, I am 85% recovered and still thanking God.

Despite this setback, my passion and belief in what Brazil has to offer American Companies has not wavered.  As we enter a crucial time in our strategic plans, our business development efforts suffered very little due to the commitment of my partner David (my husband) and my team of Brazilian representatives. My husband flew in immediately and picked up the ball on the Brazilian efforts once it was clear I would fully recover.

I literally have walked away from this with a renewed focus not only on life in general, but on my efforts in Brazil. There are so many ways this could have played out …I am grateful that I was given a 2nd chance in life.  As the saying goes “That which does not kill you, makes you stronger” and I certainly feel that way.

So what is my message in this blog? “Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.”  As Benny Hill liked to say “Live everyday as if it were your last, because, one day you’ll be right!” You will face obstacles, both in your personal life and in business – you must have the courage and perseverance to face them and overcome them.

Brazil has a reputation for being difficult to deal with, and it is. The same however, can be said for the US. Ask any Brazilian trying to do business in the US and they will speak of comparable difficulties. What the past three years have taught me is that even in difficult situations, there is always a way.  Business in Brazil is no different than business in the US, you plan the work and work the plan, the key is developing the plan that works in Brazil – to that end we established Brazilian partners that shared our vision.

My goal was to concentrate on positioning for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games. As we worked with the Brazilians, we found additional opportunities not directly related to either.  Brazil, as one of the BRIC nations, has both the desire and funding to introduce progressive, technological and systemic changes, afforded by it’s newly found wealth in the pre-salt oil fields.  We have the technology and system changes that Brazil needs and wants. Brazil is now in crunch time – with less than two years until the 2014 games, and their municipal elections out of the way, Brazil is on the fast track to get its country ready for the games.   Are you ready to participate?

Take advantage of DAVNA’s efforts and leverage our efforts for your product and Company!  The time is now!  If you are ready to expand your business and participate in the rewards of partnering with Brazilian firms in the pursuit of billions of dollars in opportunities, call Danna Olivo at 407-405-6410 to get started.


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