Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
An evolution. That is how Carlos Ortiz Lahera describes his 11-year journey at Kids2. But it’s not just the company – which he has seen double in size and scale in brands – that has evolved. So has Carlos, both personally and professionally.
Since 2011, Carlos has held four different job positions (marketing, strategy, e-commerce and sales) and worked in three international offices (Mexico City, Atlanta and Amsterdam). While working in the Atlanta office, he did more than broaden his career, he met a woman named Rebecca on the (then) Business Unit team. She’s now his wife of 5 years and they have an 18-month-old daughter, Clara.
“It’s been an absolutely great experience. Every year has been different. I’ve learned from so many people and grown with the company,” said Carlos.
While he’s seen Kids2 transform in my ways over the years, he says the constant has always been the Kids2 culture.
“Our Kids2 culture is our common global thread. Every person wants to help, wants to learn, and wants to work together. Even if team members don’t work together often, we all know it’s important to connect and communicate.”
Carlos now works out of the Amsterdam office with colleagues representing eight nationalities and who speak a combined 18 languages! That is no surprise as Kids2’s DNA is very culturally diverse. The 16 team members in Amsterdam work hard and love the team that is seen as a family. They can be found together taking a boat ride on a nice afternoon (after work of course), eating barbecue on July 4 or just enjoying a drink from the office beer tap on Wednesday (their Thirsty Thursday).
When it comes to the various Kids2 positions he’s held, he loves the sales aspect the most. That is no surprise when you learn that he was drawn to business and entrepreneurship at a young age.
“I remember the first time I discovered this; I was in elementary school. I would buy candy and then sell it at school,” Carlos recalls, but also remembers not making too much money off the candy venture!
Carlos’ parents taught him to embrace and explore. He certainly developed a passion for adventure and love of travel as a pastime. He was born in Mexico City and grew up in both Spain and America (Texas). No matter where he was living, his parents taught him the importance of culture and traditions. He fondly recalls celebrating several international holidays.
“We would celebrate Three Kings Day, which is very important in Spain and parts of Latin America, the same as we would embrace Thanksgiving in America. It didn’t matter where we lived, we were inclusive of heritages around us.”
Now living in the Netherlands, he and his family have adopted more traditions.
“From the beginning of December through early January, my daughter celebrates Sinterklaas, Santa Claus and Three Kings Day! Plus, her birthday is at the start of the year too,” laughs Carlos.
For Carlos, it’s important to celebrate his Spanish heritage, especially through Hispanic Heritage Month. He is proud to work for a company that is inclusive and recognizes global cultures and holidays through the Belonging and Inclusion Task Force. He looks forward to October 12, the National Day of Spain (Fiesta Nacional de España or Día de la Hispanidad). This is the holiday he is most proud of - a day commemorating Hispanic history, achievement and culture.
Carlos and, his wife, Rebecca have travelled extensively – through the Americas, Europe and Asia. When planning a trip, one of the first things he does is plot his running routes. It’s a way for him to explore and see the city he is visiting in a different way. Plus, it helps keeps him in shape from embracing the food scene!
“When we travel, no matter where it is, we want to live the local culture, especially the food. In Texas we eat barbecue. When we are in Spain, we have a lot of paella. It’s all about the place we are in and experiencing their traditions, traditions we can carry forward with us.”
No matter where in the world he is, Carlos runs 3 - 4 miles daily. Depending on his mood, he is listening to a wide variety of music - classical to pop to rock and more – as he pounds the pavement.
When not running, you can catch him enjoying any kind of sport – especially fútbol and hiking. Though his current favorite hobby is spending time with his daughter. They share a lot of similarities, including a love for seafood.
As he watches Clara grow (and outgrow some Kids2 product already), he can’t help but think about the endless opportunities and ongoing evolution at Kids2.
“International expansion and the team we have in Europe really excites me. We have a strong culture, incredible products and whole lot of ambition and desire to drive growth to the company. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s doable.”