We had the good fortune of connecting with Tomás Ordoñez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tomás, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
The future is collaborative! This affirmation means that the only way for us to achieve a “brighter tomorrow” is working in a collaborative way: together, joining efforts in an articulate manner and sharing a common goal.
True progress and true common good are reached by working in solidarity with those around us. Making sure that everyone is being able to contribute with their special talent. When we work for something that we care about from a role and an activity that resonates with our personal objectives and talents, the whole system is benefited.
I see this and try to replicate it in every aspect, space, group and sphere of influence of my life. From a personal level with my own family and friends, to my professional career and, mostly, with my NGO, as a way of working with peers, colleagues, and other organizations. I really believe better results are accomplished if you work and manage yourself in a collaborative way, empowering and encouraging everyone to be their best self and shine.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Everything I have done has been a consequence of commitment, sheer determination and talent. I have been a privileged kid in many ways, being born to a well-educated, hard-working, middle-class family that was able to give me such tools as not many in my country are fortunate to get. They have led me by example into understanding and respecting the value of self-awareness, a humble disposition and a proactive attitude. I had access to good schooling outdoors and a nurturing education indoors. Nothing was handled to me for free, I had to be up to the task that was presented to me and that, I come to realize, was what set me apart; I have been successful at capitalizing and making something of myself out from the advantageous scenario I was placed in.
Back in high school I was elected prefect by my classmates three years in a row and, on my last year, after a long campaign, Head Captain (this one was chosen by both students and school faculty); I was the ultimate pupil authority on campus. Ever since a young age I was not only drawn to but picked for leadership positions. I thrived under the responsibility and enjoyed the actions that came with it, speeches, rallies, meetings and decision making, however small they can now seem, back then they felt like a promising try-out experience for what was to come after graduation.
I finished this period of my life both proud and enthusiastic about the future. I went on to study Social Communication at a University in Buenos Aires. Everything was new, but my passion and my eagerness to prove myself remained and drove me. The solely thing that was connecting my past reality with the present one, was me practicing the same sport, rugby, at the same club I always did, Club Universitario Buenos Aires. I was now playing in its first team; this had been a lifetime goal for me and was now occurring. Responsibility, dedication and teamwork is essential in this sport, and I was committed to it, to such a point, that I performed as captain during my last years active. I retired only because my professional career, which started to develop as soon as I finished high school, was gradually demanding more time, energy and focus from me.
I landed my first job at a call center that offered life insurance; I literally had to call people non-stop for six straight hours every single day of the week and ask them, after a brief explanation, if they were interested in hiring our service; it was clearly not the best job in the world but it was the first and as such, it implied a lot of learning and growth.
As I began to get more knowledge from my university career and its contents I began to feel attracted to what Public & Corporate Affairs were. My father had accomplished a very successful role and trajectory in this specific area of work and began mentoring me personally. I was drawn to how the articulation among different type of organizations worked and their relationship with government, and how these associations could produce great actions and have a positive impact on public well-being. This is why I started searching for a job that was related to this area of personal interest whilst I still had my job at the call center.This second position was one at Alurralde Jasper & Asoc., a high profile and respected consulting agency. I performed as an intern for a whole year, it was hard work for a small monetary reward but I was investing in my future. I learned plenty and started to become aware of how the corporate and professional world functioned. I was officially hired after that time and offered a position as Account Assistant. I stayed there for a whole other year and left to challenge myself at a more digitized company that wanted me to develop from scratch their communication department as well as being of assistance to the commercial area. Trabajando.com is a multinational company with presence in over ten countries; I worked for them for two whole years and, having built my own teamwork and gained experience in digital communication, I left to face yet another challenge, an even bigger and better-known consulting agency called URBAN requested me to fill in a specific position, I had already performed under such a role (Account Assistant) but the atmosphere was dynamic and promising. Here I became the Agency’s representative in front of journalists and press media, other companies and government officials of different hierarchy. My main client was Farmacity (a national pharmaceutical chain that takes up to Walgreens as a business model) and so pleased were they with my service that they too called me to hire me as soon as an opening appeared. I took it, I had taken all I could from the “consulting side” of business, I was now being introduced to the Big Corp and I was, again, excited, this was where larger things happened.
Somewhere along this road I got my bachelor’s degree at the University. I was becoming every time more passionate about work in itself. I enjoyed being employed and feeling the satisfaction of experiencing my actions having a concrete impact and wanted to take it to the next level. I felt like I had the energy and the expertise to create something of my own and, if it was going to be so, I wanted it to be a “life changer”. Festejo Solidario was thought of and funded. This is an NGO that goes to poor neighborhoods in the country and contributes to the emotional and intellectual development of disadvantaged kids through the celebration of birthdays. Our first date was way back in June 2017 and it was an eye-opener, we left the place feeling we had truly changed those kids days (in Argentina, poverty is really wretched and a high percentage of children never get to even celebrate their birthdays). We understood that it was something we had to start doing systematically, in an organized and professional way so as to reach out to more children and have a deeper and more lasting impact. Legal paperwork was undertaken, people were hired, a volunteer teamwork was looked for, trained and established, a website designed and released, important corporate funding associations obtained and media presence searched for and used purposely.
To this day, we have achieved a direct impact to +10,000 kids. They are the future, guaranteeing their healthy development is an issue we should all be committed and responsible for. They are the most important public to attend, as the most vulnerable.
My career in the private sector and my leading role as funder of a non-profit organization are my two professional pillars, the ones that, added to my academic formation (one which also counts with a postgraduate degree in Corporate & Public Affairs), had fed and polished my passion of being a positive factor of common good and innovative change. My confidence has been shaped, my mind broadened and my heart set upon its determination to put all its strength and knowledge to good work. I am a curious man with a non-judgmental disposition; I have travelled and nurtured myself with experiences from cultures around the world. I have been to Europe, to several countries in my own Latin America and to the United States in several opportunities. I am someone not only aware but determined about the path that I intend, not only my professional but my entire life, to take, I will become a leader for it is what I am meant to be.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I haven´t been in Miami as long as to recommend friend what to visit. I would definelty invite him an argentinian pizza at Banchero, on Collins Av. 6995. But if any of the readers are thinking of going to Buenos Aires, Argentina… you must go watch a football (or soccer) match at “La Bombonera”. It´s Boca Junior´s football stadium, it´s really an amazing show. Also I would advice to go and visit Recoleta, go dance in Palermo and eat at Puerto Madero. And if you were visiting for a week or more, you better go visit La Patagonia. The most beautiful landscapes of our country are there. Of course I would cook you our classic “asado” (bbq) with the best meat in the world.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The two most influential individuals I have had through my life are my mother and father, Felicitas Fragueiro and Juan Bautista Ordoñez. Both gave me all the love, support, encouragement, personal advice, professional mentorship any person would aspire to receive. In such different ways, one and another were, are and will continue to be a source of inspiration, wisdom, humility, calm and self awareness. They both deserve a big shoutout! Also my wife, María “Toti” de Achaval, who has the ability to make me happy and keeps me always in the well-being balance part of life. She teaches and reminds me everyday about the importance of the really essential things in our lives.
My friend and partner of “Festejo Solidario”, Joaquín Martinez. He is the smartest and kindest person I know. For me it has always been a pleasure and a privilige to share time, talks, laughs and business with him. He really pushes me to the limits.
Instagram: @ordoneztom / @festejosolidario