On the Rise: Linda Bassitt
President | Latin Expo Group LLC | Age: 30
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job was the show director for the Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo in Panama City, Panama, five years ago. It was a one of kind show for its time, being the only tire show in Latin America and the Caribbean.
What attracted you to the industry?
In my spare time I was involved with charities and special causes and I enjoyed creating fundraisers and events to raise money for them. One day I thought, "How great would it be to make what I enjoy doing in my spare time my full-time job?" I went searching for events companies and eventually found the Latin Expo Group, which organized the Latin Tyre Expo in Panama City.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
When I first started with the company familiarizing myself with the tire industry was very important to me. While the company organized the show, I set out to understand the various companies in the industry and their needs and how we can help them in terms of increasing sales and market share by attending our shows. Aside from the Latin Tyre Expo in Panama in 2015 we created the North American Tire & Retread Expo in New Orleans, with a goal of giving the U.S. a tire- and retread-only show to help exhibitors connect with buyers in a targeted setting. This is a challenge as it is a new show, but we aim to make the expo the best tire show in America.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My boss Gustavo Lima is my biggest influence and truly is the greatest mentor. He has taught me that we all have more than 100% to give. We have 200% (and more) in us. And that no matter what, we must push ourselves to do our best, for ourselves. He believes in me, and our entire team and staff, and gives us all opportunities to prove ourselves and to be greater.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Seeing the trade show company grow has been my greatest accomplishment. When I first started in the company I was the sole employee and managed the Latin Tyre Expo. Now, we have three trade shows (Latin Auto Parts Expo, North American Tire & Retread Expo, and the Latin Tyre Expo) and a team of 11. I am now the president of the company. What I try to instill and teach the team is that dreams do come true, but you have to work hard to make them happen. And that "teamwork makes the dream work.” Together we can accomplish much more, and we have plans to create many more trade shows in the years to come.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I'll be doing the same thing I am now, and watching and training a new generation of young professionals to grow the business.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Technology has definitely helped us with our daily tasks, but at the same time it has caused us to lose that personal touch with customers. Calling someone can be a better way of reaching them, but many people now are comfortable with emails and never pick up the phone.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
How important branding and technology can be in differentiating and marketing the various tire brands available.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
Tires are a necessity. As long as we use cars we will always have a need for them; and whether it’s new tires, retreading, or recycling, there is a large market demand for it.
Tell us about your family.
I am the only girl of three brothers, and I absolutely adore my little brother.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Living in Miami, being outdoors is definitely a priority for me when not in the office, whether at the beach or taking a nice bike ride.
What keeps you up at night?
Books. I love to read!
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I hardly ever watch TV but I adore movies.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I'm a big foodie and I love to travel.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I could sing.
What’s your favorite food?
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. He has such an upbeat personality and seems so passionate about all his various companies. He’s a true inspiration about how we all should be daily and how we can truly do anything we set our mind to.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
Do you accept cash or check?