Season 1
47 Minutes

Ep 21 | Adriana Machado | When a Celebrated Latina Business Leader Changes Course

Adriana Machado, 52, is one of Latin America’s most celebrated women business leaders. Former CEO of GE Brazil and an outspoken advocate for an impact economy, Adriana went on to found the Briyah Institute, a B_Corp that bridges innovation, practice and purpose to inspire leaders to transform their organizations. Adriana serves on multiple Boards where she supports causes like Alzheimer’s prevention. She is a wife, mother and resides in Miami.

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Adriana Machado  00:00

First of all, enjoy it. Love it don’t get bumped by the concerns because the obstacles are the way we learn from the difficulties in our lives. So welcome it, embrace it and enjoy every second.

Achim Nowak  00:23

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your fourth that? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected for that, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you’re listening on. Let’s get started.  I am just delighted to welcome at Adriana Machado to the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. Adriana is one of Latin America’s most celebrated women business leaders and an outspoken advocate for an impact economy. She’s a former CEO of GE Brazil, and also served as the regional head of government affairs and policy for GE Latin America. After leaving GE Adriana founded the Briyah Institute, a B-Corp or benefit corporation that bridges innovation, practice and purpose to inspire leaders to transform organizations by co creating an impact economy. She serves on multiple boards where she supports causes that matter deeply to her. Adriana is also wife and the mother of two children. So welcome, Ariana.

Adriana Machado  01:48

Thank you, I came so good to be here with you such a good energy. I love it.

Achim Nowak  01:53

Ditto,  and I know we’re going to have a very rich conversation. I’m interested in what you’re doing now. Because everything you do is inspiring to me. But before we get there, I like to start with who you thought you would be when you were young girl a teenager? What were your dreams or aspirations?

Adriana Machado  02:13

So you’re going to start from there. Hmm. Okay, start there. That is a beautiful question. Because when I was growing up, my biggest dream was to become a ballerina, a classical ballerina, and I was my dream come true. And I had the best teacher in the world for that. Well, Offelia Corvello I remember her this day. And she was so important in my whole life. She was trained in Russian ballet, so very disciplined, very rigorous. I remember she even had to stick sometimes to kind of remind us to put the tommy up in I’ll tuck the tummy and be the right posture. And she made us work really hard. But she also has the beauty, the beauty of shows by last show. So I was growing up in Brasilia, so the capital of Brazil, middle of nowhere. I mean, it was still the 70s. And there wasn’t a lot going on there in terms of cultural activities and whatnot. But this lady moved from Rio from the municipal ballet in went to Brazil started her own company, and gave us art. So we were told we could do it. And we were just trained to do it. And more than that, you know that saying that goes by the best way to teach us by example. She made a speech at a very young age. So she made us believe in ourselves. So then I was learning by lead. I wasn’t so little anymore. I was about 10 when I found her and I told my mom I wanted to do that. And I enrolled myself in this in her class and I started dancing and she just totally believed in me and she gave me the opportunity to live art to go with the music, the beautiful Carmen’s the beautiful, you know, tie Kava skis and all the different things that she brought to our classroom and teach younger girls ballet and be responsible and we had the sense of responsibility. We we had this presentations that were beautiful at the end of the year. I remember myself sewing my own costume. I remember myself learning how to sew to put my ribbon in my toe shoe. And I remember my shoe my foot getting really ugly. And I also remember me trying to be the ballerina with the body I had but I was not. But that experience I came I think you know shaped me forever because although I did not become a dancer, a ballet dancer, the love she inspired me for dance shaped me who I am. And the discipline she instilled in me, stayed with me and the belief that I could be whatever I wanted to be stayed with me forever.

Achim Nowak  05:10

I’m so moved by that story, you may not know that I was a professional theatre director for 12 years in Washington, DC in New York. So I have a greater appreciation for the discipline of being a performing artist. But one level deeper as I think about what you are today is the arts are a way of fully discovering who we are right and learning about ourselves, and giving ourselves permission to be that or dream that or pursue that. And I just appreciate the way you told it so beautifully.

Adriana Machado  05:46

Let me interrupt you. But this is so important, because I think I wasn’t able to say it so beautifully back then. Because it was more happening to me. And now at my middle age, right, I have my existence on this planet, maybe that that’s when I can put in words, because the level of consciousness has risen to the point that I can see, this beautiful gift I got as a child probably didn’t appreciate it as much when I was growing up. But now I can see it. And I can I can, I can really appreciate the fact that I had this beautiful gift.

Achim Nowak  06:22

Before we get to the Briyah Institute, which I think of as your current professional baby, amongst many of the things you do, you’ve had this celebrated career, and you’ve done many things before you became the CEO of GE, Brazil, but you were the first female CEO of GE, Brazil. If I’m doing the math correctly, you were 42. At the time, is that correct? So that’s a very young age to be the head of big corporate enterprise. If you think back of that period in your life, what are some things that you that stand out for you or go wow, this is pretty spectacular. This is what I loved about being in that role, and what I was able to do, and also, because there tends to be a shadow side of things, this is something that was challenging and frustrating.

Adriana Machado  07:14

So this is an interesting aspect of getting there at 42, the previous CEO Joao, he was about the same age when he became CEO too. So looking back the probably wasn’t anything spectacular about them choosing me at that age, I think I was a nice professional that had the right background for what he needed to do in Brazil back then. And that was very unusual, not the age itself. But the background. Because there was not many women who reached the CEO level being from government affairs like I was. But then it’s it’s that being ready and being in the right place at the right time. I think that was the the mix that made it so possible. And I was totally honored with the opportunity to be that person to represent a beautiful company in my country and be able to do what I knew best, which was to be this bridge, the link between the private sector in the government, because I grew up in Brasilia Achim. And when I was growing up, I studied political science. And my first job out of college, actually, in college, my first internship was in the Brazilian government. And my first job out of college was with the US government at the embassy. So I learned diplomacy, and I learned government affairs before I knew what he was all about, when I moved to San Paolo, and I was able to then move towards the private sector, and make this bridge happen but more geared towards the private sector interests, then working for Intel working for GE, I think I built this very solid foundation of navigating this two worlds. So looking back, it might seem natural that this was the right person to choose. Because that was when he wanted to do more business with governments in the world. And in Brazil was a very big market for GE was the third largest market for GE. And GE wasn’t used to dealing with this entity, the government. So they are nervous, they’re in the right place at the right time. And I was so happy to be chosen to, to have been given this opportunity to be trusted. To do this.

Achim Nowak  09:31

I I love the phrase to be trusted. I just want to play devil’s advocate for a moment, just because I spend a lot of time you know, coaching CEOs and corporate executives. So I know that role can come with lots of pressure, lots of performance pressures, quarterly revenue pressures, dealing with talent that’s performing for you and talent, that’s not and that can be many rewards. If you can, if You have to pick a moment that stands out from your tenure where you go. In this moment, I understand what I loved about being in this role that I was given.

Adriana Machado  10:10

Oh, yeah, I have those moments, many moments. But there is one in particular that I cherish a lot, which was: GE was deciding where to position where to put the fifth Global Research Center for GE in the world. So I was not the CEO, yet I was still the government affairs person working with the CEO. And there, this opportunity came. And Joao was also very optimistic about, you know, doing things, big things. And he said, we can do this, we can convince the company to bring it to Brazil. So we built the case. And I helped him from the beginning of this project. And it was a long thing. It’s a long term thing. So it took a long time for this decision making to happen. But it eventually happened. And I became CEO right when it was about to happen. So my job as CEO was to make sure the project standard, so after convincing GE that Brazil is the right place, how do we implement this. And it was a beautiful process, because it was challenging, very challenging. Brazil did not have all the conditions ready for a research center to come a global one just as big as GE was planning to build. And there were so many different things we needed to do along the way, aligning not only with the federal government, for the environment, for innovation, to be there to be in place to be really what they wanted it to be. There was, of course, some policies that needed to happen, but working with the state government, that the municipal government to find the location to find the site to find the team to, you know, hire the right people also having the right balance. I remember being in the conversations with the Chief Technology Officer, Mark Liddell, and deciding the kind of team we’re going to have in this beautiful space that ended up being Bo. And also the need for diversity. The discussions back then, and how we were able to put Suzanna one female leader, PhD had a one of the three pillars of research that we were going to do in Brazil. So I mean, that was such a joy to be able to make that project happen and participate all the way from, you know, the the ideation, the the the thought that we could convince GE convincing GE that Brazil was the right place to do. And having it built in Brazil and created in Brazil was such an immense honor. And again, as you said, it comes with the challenges that it was not easy, but it was so rewarding to see it happen.

Achim Nowak  12:51

You know, what really struck me is telling the story. I love that Joao said, you know, we can do this, that that is such a wonderful mindset to work with people who say we can do this, but also what a gift. And then I’m relating this to Briyah and students right now, but you came in at the middle of creating something. Right? And so you had the chance to come in as a creator CEO who championed a project she was passionate about, and that’s a beautiful way to lead even with all the challenges, isn’t it?

Adriana Machado  13:21

Yes. And then you know what, back to your conversation about being a coach isn’t coaching all about empowering people. And then you said worth attracted to as well saying the way he empowered me to also be his government affairs person and do that with him. And the way right now though, and kadem Bhatia and Jackie meld empowered me, john rice, I think also I needed to thank him for that because he trusted me and they empowered me to be that person. So when I think of Briyah and I decided to create Briyah and react comes with this aspect of creation big time because the word Briyah comes from Kabbalah, and Kabbalah that are five worlds and the world of creation is called Briyah. Nice. So that is intentionally chosen because that is that the energy that’s moving me so just like I was empowered by this, this powerful man, I was also inspired by a very powerful woman that I saw working as a leader in GE Lorene boss singer. Before I even dreamed that GE was going to be in my path. I saw her present at a conference at the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil. She was the leader of ecomagination, which was a very advanced project. It was a business strategy for GE back in 2005. That if it were today, it would be called ESG with all the letters because that is ESG being born. She was there presenting powerful and beautiful lady representing GE presenting this core program that was going to reduce emissions, reduce water consumption, increase energy efficiency. Across the board. All GE businesses were supposed to invest in r&d to develop solutions for that, in would, of course, write the benefits of having more sales with those project products. So helping GE do its thing, but also helping its clients. So it was a precursor of ESG. So I saw that lady presenting. And you know, little did I know then, that I would have the opportunity to do that for GE later on. And I can do that now for Briyah. So this is what is inspiring me. How can I get that, that experience from GE and transform it into something as powerful and as big with Briyah?

Achim Nowak  16:02

Word from your sponsor. That’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast fourth, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation.  I know Briyah is about connecting a lot of dots. And as I’m listening to you, I’m you’re connecting some dots in my mind. And I just wanted to spell them out for our listeners, where my mind went is you had a lot of champions who champion you and who helped you. And it’s a privilege to champion other people and, and life gets better when we do that? Well, yeah, I also heard empowerment and creation, which are tenants of Briyah and now we’re going to talk about one more thing that and this is a question that you probably get asked a lot and in a reason why, because it’s on my mind. You’re in your early mid 40s, you’re the CEO of GE Brazil. So there’s power that comes with that, and you’re a woman with that power. What are some things you learned about yourself about what it means to be trusted with that level of power and how to use it well, and and how you held that power?

Adriana Machado  17:38

Okay, so I will go back 111 step. Before I reach that position. I also had the privilege of meeting Abby, she was the Consul General, in the console of Canada in San Paolo, she hosted us a group of women from me this, this is a group of women that I helped create with a friend of ours who was coming from the US where it’s common for you to have affinity groups, women groups, she was moving to Brazil, and she missed that kind of support group. And she said, Let’s create a group of women and government affairs. We started in 2008. Abby hosted us. And I remember shocking me to hear her say about talk about power and tell us you all should aspire to positions of power. I was shocked again, I was totally shocked. I said, Wow, how? No, no, we don’t need that. I mean, that’s okay to just, you know, go with the flow and just add them. And then if we don’t have more women sitting in those key positions and making decisions, we’re not going to have balance. So we need diversity, to sit at the table to be in the decision making positions and to have your voice heard. So you have the same. So when I was offered this opportunity, the first thing I told my boss was if you think I’m ready for the job, let’s do it. for it. I was you know, you know, goosebumps I was so scared, but I just took it. I just did it. And I think that’s what is the beauty of you knowing that or not knowing that you can do it right that that you’re being trusted, and you’re giving the empowerment to do it. But also you can learn as you do. And I learned so many things that came. As I said, my background was government affairs. I did not know everything that needed to know for that position. But I had so many good people around. And I was willing to listen. And I was willing to admit that sometimes I didn’t know certain things. And I was, you know, willing to work together in collaboration to make things work. And I truly believe collaboration is the way to go. Especially now with this world getting more complex. There isn’t a single person in this world that can do it alone. So collaboration is so key.

Achim Nowak  19:59

So let’s talk about Berea Institute. And another question that’s really interesting to me because you you’re 52. Now, you start a brewery a few years back. So you were potentially in in your prime of having a continued extravagant corporate career. Anywhere you wanted to go with your background, you know, you were you’re with somebody that people would want. And instead, you started a B Corp named Briyah. I just because this podcast is a lot about people, making maybe unexpected decisions, taking the unexpected turn, can you just walk us through that decision making process for yourself?

Adriana Machado  20:45

Sure. And it was indeed very unexpected, because the only short thing I had when I moved to Miami was that I was going to stay with GE. The reason why I came was my my oldest son was in high school. And he needed to decide whether he was going to pursue his process for enrolling in college in Brazil, which has a very particular example, this triple R, or he would prepare to do the LSAT and go to college in the US. Since I was already in the route to go out of Brazil and be an international an expat with GE, I said, Well, I can’t let him prepare for this triple R, I have to allow him to prepare for LSAT so that he can go to a college where I go where I move at least closer to where I am. So that decision was what Mark does. Because there was a clock that was a calendar, there was a time for him. And so my husband and I, we decided that we could do it, we could not wait for God to decide where I would go working for GE but take a time of absence, go to the us start our family life there. So that then when GE told me where to go, my kids would be ready to go wherever I wanted to go. So I took that leap of faith, not knowing, not dreaming that I would leave GE at all. So that gave me confidence. Because I knew I had GE it was just a time of absence. He was absent. So everything was going to continue to be the way I’d always thought it was going to be. But little did I know that she was already going through a lot of turmoil back then. And now we know what happened and everything that is surfaced and more visible now. But back then we didn’t know. And I just trusted with all my heart that everything was going to be fine. So when it was happening, I confess I did not know what was hitting me. But one thing was sure I was comfortable in Miami, I started to learn that Miami had a life that I didn’t know before, because I always heard of the touristy part of Miami, you know all the different things that man is are known for. But there are some good people just like you, yes, I can marry so many people, so many good friends I made. And it is it is rather comfortable for me to be here. It’s closer to home, I can fly in a direct flight back to my parents, and I can be there fast and the weather and the culture. Everything is so convenient. And my family is very happy here. So when that came, so the GE situation was happening. Miami was our new home, we decided to stay and then I meet Muhammad Yunus. What a privilege is that he comes to Miami to start the Grameen Bank. We have an opportunity, thanks to the Arango, who brought him there for this luncheon introduced me to him and I have a chance to have a conversation with him. And this man tells me that he is changing the situation in Bangladesh, by changing the mindset of the young people by saying to them, you are not job seekers, you are job creators. Because there is always there is all only unemployment, because there is employment. If everybody is looking for a job, and there aren’t enough jobs in the market, there will be people frustrated. But if you tell these young people how powerful they are, and that they can create their own jobs, they can be intrapreneurs. They can’t, they don’t have to wait for the perfect job to land on the perfect job and prepare for the perfect job. They can change the world. Wow. I heard him say that. And I said, Yes, you’re absolutely right. I’m going to use that in my talks. Because I was always invited because I’m used to that. And I will use that in my talks. Then I go Wait a minute. How can you use that in your thoughts? If you’re looking for a job yourself? Talk, you have to live this saying before you say it. And that’s when I realized oh my god, I have to do I have to make happen. I’m not going to wait for GE or any other company. I’m going to create my own ge. So then it’s it all started to sink in, I started to, you know, panic a little bit. But that’s when I realized that I could do it. And I needed to do it. So I looked for the best practices. I went to MIT to see how you create a startup. And I have been in this journey stance,

Achim Nowak  25:28

would you just repeat the, again the name of the gentleman who you heard speak, because you said it very quickly. And I want to make sure our audience clearly here’s the name,

Adriana Machado  25:36

okay, he is Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Prize winner, he I think he won the peace prize of 2006. The Grameen Bank, the concept of microcredit, beautiful story, beautiful trajectory, and he is an advocate of social entrepreneurship. So he is doing a wonderful, wonderful work with youngsters. And a little bit differently from what he thinks I believe that every intrapreneurship is a social intrapreneurship. Because to be successful, you have to tackle a big problem. And the big problems are social, environmental. So any business can do that. And that’s the that’s the caveat. That’s the difference that I want to still in the world with Briyah, I believe that every business can reach and have a bigger goal and be offering or achieving positive impact. That’s what I mean by impact economy, you pursue financial returns. And as you do that, and in doing that, you are also delivering positive impact for people in planet. That’s what B corpse are all about. Right?

Achim Nowak  26:50

I’m assuming you’re implying this. But let me test this, that this is true also for big, traditional global entities like GE or others? Or is this easier to do for small startups, the ability to be a serious impact player,

Adriana Machado  27:06

it might be easier to start out that way. So you don’t have to change the culture. But it is so possible to do it for big companies. Remember what I just said about ge ecomagination. Of course, it was not for the whole company. It wasn’t the whole shift that I would dream GE would do. But even though they did it for some projects, some products and some product lines, I believe if there is the leadership, willingness, and the bottom of the pyramid, also, you know, doing it, you can get there, a great example is not Buddha. Course, naturo was also born with that mission. But now Mathura acquired Avon, which is a very traditional business, yeah. And they are in this route to becoming a B Corp certified with the whole group. Other companies are going in that direction, this whole movement of ESG is in that direction. And there, you know, there are cases where companies are just greenwashing or ESG. washy, but I believe that if you’re honest, if you want to do it, there are ways to do it, and you can do it. You can change the route and you can find in your core business, ways to be responsible and to be regenerative and change the business models in a way that we will produce better impact for people and planet have to be mindful of that and have to be invested in that. But you can do it.

Achim Nowak  28:35

I hear your passion for the impact economy, which is what you support with Briyah. And I know there are three words that you use. And I want to say that you put your play at the intersection of these three words, and let me just throw them out. And I want to invite you to let our listeners know why these words matter and why they matter together. And the words are innovation, practice and purpose. And if I’m extrapolating, you know, that can lead to an impact economy. But would you would you just explain that to us a little bit?

Adriana Machado  29:11

Sure. I learned very early in my career that innovation matters. I worked for Intel and ge. So the most innovating companies you can dream of. Yeah. Thomas Edison creating GE and we have the Intel, which is my age. Yes. Transforming everything in in their segment. I was told that you have to invest in innovation, especially in times of crisis. We created a research center in Brazil. Yes, right. That is such a powerful lesson. And I totally believe we have to constantly challenge ourselves disrupt ourselves. I remember one article that Jeff Immelt wrote in the Harvard Harvard Business Review of how GE was disrupting itself. And this is Jeff. He challenged everything about GE all the time. If you don’t know, Jeff read his book, hot seat, it is amazing. And look for chapter four, where he talks about the need for being systems thinkers in how he apply that in creating ecomagination. It’s a beautiful story, and how he tried to implement that in creating digital. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish that job. But there was so innovative. So again, I learned by doing that innovation was important. And I truly believe we have to constantly look for innovative ways to do innovative things. I also believe in good practice, I was told the right way to do it. You know, we need training, I looked for MIT to know how to create a startup that’s really good practice

Achim Nowak  30:53

GE trained you well.

Adriana Machado  30:55

GE trained me well, Intel trained me well, the government well. I was so fortunate that I had good, good teachers all my life. And I understand the value of not having to reinvent the wheel, why reinvent the wheel go look for the best learn by reading. And more than that, let’s try to play Leonardo da Vinci a little bit, let’s combine the different disciplines the different learnings, because that is where in the intersection of all this this multidisciplinary approach, there will be more innovation, there will be more opportunities. And the purpose is what drives us. So if we know you know, if we have a north, if we have a direction to go to it makes it so much easier. I am reading a book by David Kessler. And it’s all about the sixth stage of grief. David worked with Elisabeth Kubler Ross, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with her. You know, she wrote about those five stages of dying and grief. And now he has added the sixth stage. And you know what this is, it’s all about finding meaning. And it is so beautiful. Because even in the worst tragedies in our lives, there is hope. And there is healing, when you’re ready to find this meaning. So Briyah is about bridging innovation, practice and purpose for us all to find a way for a more regenerative capitalism, and, you know, life on this planet, with quality of life with wellbeing for people. That’s what I dream of.

Achim Nowak  32:43

Beautiful. When  you’re mentioning the word meaning I was struck by the fact that when you spoke earlier about being a young dancer in Brasilia and studying that and discovering in hindsight, a deeper meaning and the experience that maybe you weren’t aware of as, as a young girl, and that’s true for many of us. And I think the more we can find meaning in the moment and not in hindsight, the more we enrich our own life and and life and society and culture around us. What is something specific that Briyah is working on right now that that it might be fun for us to know about?

Adriana Machado  33:20

Well, the core of everything we talked about people, I want it to end, right? I am not an engineer. So I’m not developing a guest turban or some, you know, renewable energy type and technology. But I can help with the biggest assets that any company has, which is people yes, people development, leadership development. The same way I was told I could be a leader and I was helped to see the way to become a be a big leader, I can help others do that. And the trick that I am perceiving more and more to be the right thing to do is through systems thinking. With this increased complexity in the world, how do you navigate all these very difficult decision makings you have to have and how do you really make the the business shift the course to a more regenerative and impactful economy? I truly believe it’s by thinking not linearly, not fundamentally, but systemically. So I’ve been studying that and I as I study, I apply that at BBriyahria. And my, my, my wish is that more and more people will be able to apply systems thinking to business fast, so that they can all rise and that’s what we used to see a GE we all rise and that’s what I’m trying to do it for you help we all rise, humanity needs that. I’m just a little seed planting this, this message. message in I am trying to connect with other people doing wonderful things around the world. So whenever I can I highlight good blogs, articles, books, messages videos, because we need to hold hands and make all right.

Achim Nowak  35:17

You I believe you have a specific actually leadership training or development program Briyah Is that correct?

Adriana Machado  35:25

That is called the CEO meeting master the nature of scary because it’s not only for CEOs. But the idea behind it was, let’s see what CEOs have to do. Let’s understand what’s in their radar screen. What is it? They’re thinking about? What is their mission? What do they have to do? And let’s embrace our leadership journey wherever we are to deliver that. So it is good for people who are already sitting in that chair, for people who are pursuing that career. And for people who just want to have a notion of what’s going on in the C suite and how they can help. Yeah, so that’s the program co metamask.

Achim Nowak  36:06

And I’m assuming it’s SEO with systems thinking, yes.

Adriana Machado  36:09

Oh, yeah. Totally systems thinking what we do. And the beauty of the pandemia, again, was that we were able to also adapt to the new world. And in adapting, we discovered the beauty of curating groups of people from all over the world, and having them practice systems thinking together. So that is the asset we have right now, we found this way of doing it very effectively, 150 leaders have already done it. And we continue to do this and to improve this, the way of doing it so that more people can learn how to apply it.

Achim Nowak  36:46

You also are involved with a bunch of other organizations where you serve on boards, I’m assuming these are all things you’re passionate about. And I’m selfishly just going to mention too, that I was personally drawn to. And I’d love for you to speak to what about their purpose, or their cause drew you to it. The first one. And I don’t know if you’re still involved with this called the Berlin future forum. It spoke to me because I am German. And I went to high school in Berlin for a couple of years. So that is partially my hometown. But what drew you to the Berlin future forum? Well, I am also of German descent, my, my, I didn’t know that.

Adriana Machado  37:26

Yes, my mother’s family migrated from I don’t know if it’s Swiss Switzerland or Germany, but it was Freiburg. And I know that there are fibroids. But it was a very disastrous migration back in the beginning of the 19th century. And they all move to Rio. So my, my grant, great grandparents were from Germany. And I always wanted to go back and trace the roots and understand better what is in me about that. But it was a coincidence, actually, because this is an Archon time living in Brasilia, but also with German descent, Raphael, and a former Zen Buddhist monk, yesterday, Eco, who started having this sessions, and they invited me and other people to create the Berlin future forum back then. And the idea was that we would post the conversation from the future. That’s why it was Berlin future forum and invite people with different backgrounds and different ways of thinking to come together and play this not finite, but infinite game. So you play and you stretch your consciousness and awareness. And we did that for a couple of years. Now. It doesn’t exist as it is, it is, as it was, but it the group is still together. Yes, we go and our file is still doing it. It’s not called the Berlin future forum anymore. It’s called the BFF. But we still come together to stretch our brains and to, to rise to raise our consciousness. So what drew me was the fact that it was stretching my mind, really think and stretch myself as a leader and, and doing that with other people that I truly believe are also ahead of me in the game, and grow this this opportunity. So I think we are in a moment that we need to know how to ask more questions and better questions, deeper questions, and to wake up to this genius that that that are inside of us like yes, we call says yes, we go is is a very inspiring leader to be around. So yes, I still support although I’m not in the leadership position anymore.

Achim Nowak  39:48

What I hope our listeners take away from the story you just told it. What I heard is it’s a choice to stretch our mind. And and we get to choose the people that we hang out with that can help us do that? Oh, yes. And that choice is available to all of us.

Adriana Machado  40:06

No matter where you are, it doesn’t matter if it’s Bernie, I loved it to people, because I love Berlin. And I always want to enjoy the opportunity to be in that city because we hosted it there. But it is whom you choose to be in the journey with that is so important. And we take it for granted. So as as I said, I’m not in the leadership position. But I chose to be with these people who are there, stretching their minds and hearts and helping me to the same.

Achim Nowak  40:37

Last work related questions. I’m curious about the brain health project, which is something that you support? Would you talk about it and tell us why that is something that’s important to you?

Adriana Machado  40:51

Well, first, because I am a woman and the chances of dementia in women are twice as much as man. Second, because it happens around menopause. And I’m always getting almost optimistic right? Now, but that’s not only it I met, a Morrison taluk. It’s Dr. Morris, from Boca Raton, who has this invention, he totally believes that you can increase the cognitive power of the brain, you can reduce the cognitive decline by enhancing your brain health. And he developed this formula for brain health prevention called the cognitive the cognitive home. And I worked with him for two years, and we got investors to do the first investment and have the first study done, we got some good results that are not sufficient to have a proof of concept to have investors. But we do have an opportunity with the University of Miami now to do the studies that are needed to prove that he is right. And hopefully we’ll have a way to prevent dementia, and consequently Alzheimer which is the most common form of dementia. So I am totally in love with this project. And I truly believe that we need to do more to understand more about the brain to be able to live our healthy lives for so long.

Achim Nowak  42:18

Well, I hope our listeners as we listened to you understand that, that you are living at the intersection of innovation practice and purpose and that you are you’re doing that and that’s a choice you’ve made and the choice is really interesting to me. Now as we start to wrap up, based on what you know now if you had a chance to just say a few words of wisdom to the young Adriana in Brasilia, who was studying dance and doing all sorts of other things. What What, what do you know now that you would like her to know?

Adriana Machado  42:54

Oh, well, first of all, enjoy it. Don’t get bumped by the concerns because the obstacles are the way we learn from the difficulties in our lives. So welcome it, embrace it and enjoy every second every pirouetted every strategy, every music, every routine, you have to present every child, you can help with the arm position, right? To enjoy it and enjoy or failure as much as you can. Because she’s a beautiful soul. That is with you guiding your way. And just continue to aspire to be like her.

Achim Nowak  43:40

Beautiful, that phrase, the obstacles are the way it’s so simple and clean. I love the way you said that. Thank you for that. from your vantage point now as a successful accomplished businesswoman, wife, mother, who is pursuing things that matter to her that you’re passionate about. Some of our listeners might go Well, yeah, it’s easy. She can do that. But I could never do that. You know, I could never switch gears that way. Any words of wisdom for those listeners?

Adriana Machado  44:18

If I did it, anybody can do it again. It is not anything that you could dream of growing up in Brasilia. If God had told me then Adriana, you’re going to be the CEO of GE, I would have challenged God and said, How come this can’t be I don’t you know, know how that can be. And it happened. So just go with what life brings you because the opportunities that we all have in our lives are suited for our talents for what we have. So beautiful inside us and continue to to develop yourself. Look For a ways to keep learning, life is a journey and everybody’s journeys matter. And my journey is different from yours again, different from anybody’s but it’s not less beautiful, more beautiful than any other person’s. So anybody can be a leader and anybody can have a beautiful journey to be proud of at the end of the line.

Achim Nowak  45:27

If any of our listeners want to learn more about your work and the Briyah Institute, where where would you like to direct them?


Well follow us in LinkedIn. So I think that’s where I post the most. But we also have a website, We try to also highlight when we have the next SEO meter master programs or other leadership programs. I also write a newsletter every month where I update our readers on everything I am learning as I go. So just follow us on LinkedIn and and connect with us through Briyah.

Achim Nowak  46:07

That’s it. Thank you so much for this wonderful conversation at the piano.

Adriana Machado  46:19

Thank you so much for the wonderful opportunity at Keene. You are so artistic yourself and I am very happy that you brought this this little dancer in me back to my you know big Adriana. In the face, I am right now. So thank you so much for that.

Achim Nowak  46:42

It was my pleasure. Bye bye. Bye. Like what’s your heard? Please go to my fourth act calm and subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us your review. And let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao


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