Human Resources talked to Havaianas Asia Pacific President Robert Esser, who comes from California but has lived in Asia most of his life.
What's on Robert's desk?
- A rotating globe floating in a clear liquid cube gifted by my girlfriend for my fondness towards antique maps and as a memoir of our adventures. - A biography of Ernest Hemingway. I am a giant fan of Hemingway. I also prefer print books to e-books. - A handmade fabric coaster and embroidery from my children.
Describe your typical workday. I get into the office very early, before 7am. The first thing I do is check my emails. I get about 150 emails overnight from Brazil because of the 12-hour time difference. Then I have meetings with people. I usually don’t take a lunch break. I bring lunch from home and eat it at my desk. I try to leave before 5pm every day. In the evenings, I have phone calls from Brazil from Havaianas’ headquarters.
My typical week includes a flight to Singapore or Japan or other Asian countries. Every three months, I have to go to Brazil.
You are wearing Havaianas' flip flops. Do you actually wear them every day to work? No. That’s only for today. I own 10 pairs of Havaianas’ espadrilles, and I do wear them every day. They are classy, comfy and waterproof.
Would you describe yourself as a productive person? Yes. I don’t have much tolerance for formal nonsense. I axed weekly meetings in my previous company because there were often too many people involved, and they were more like a reading session. I would rather have a one-on-one shorter, but more efficient session.
My son always asks me why I am walking so fast. My theory is, if I spend less time getting from place to place, I will have more time. I usually have a couple of things going on at the same time.
You speak Mandarin and Cantonese, and you've been in Asia for almost 30 years. Why are you attracted to Asian culture? I can’t really explain this. I am just interested in it. When I first came to Asia, it was because I was offered a degree in oriental studies by a university in Beijing. And then one thing leads to another, and now here I am.
Who is your inspirational figure? Lionel Messi’s hero is Agustín Creevy, the captain of Argentina’s rugby team. And I get where Messi is coming from. I have a lot of respect for someone like Creevy who does not necessarily get all the cheers, but works very hard, goes to the frontline and gets the most difficult task done.
If you are interested to share your workspace essentials or routine, please email Samantha Chan at [email protected].
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