Conversations Essenceis

In fulfilling our purpose in building change, we share several testimonials from leaders that personify the same. Here, we give space to those who inspire us. Those who keep within themselves the characteristics that we consider to be essential to the new generation of leaders.


Com conversas intimistas, perguntas diferentes e abordagens que nos distinguem. Damos-vos a conhecer o coração da pessoa, o lado humano do gestor e a empatia do líder. Pois será sempre nesses aspetos que encontraremos a mudança, a transformação e a inovação.

We had a conversation with Marco Galinha.

Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Grupo Bel and President of Global Media Group. That Marco Galinha has the wisdom, talent and genius of a great manager, we have no doubts about that. Still, it is on his humility that we rest our eyes. Intuitive and with the heart in the right place, Marco Galinha is an inspiration for all who want to be part of a new generation of leaders.

At Lead YourSelf we say that “Business needs love, but love is not a business.” Do you agree? Do you feel that business needs love? – I was reminded of a book by António Pinto Leite, ‘O Amor Como As Management Criteria’. At the end of the day, when things go well, we want to believe that creating value or creating wealth is an act of love for society. There is no other way. The bad distribution of that same wealth, in a very uncontrolled way, is totally the opposite of all this. How do you promote this love in your business? – Sometimes it is very difficult to do. For example, when business goes wrong and has negative results, it is necessary to stabilize. The business world is a lot like a hospital, I liken it a lot to a patient in the operating room. When the patient is losing blood, we have to stop the bleeding. If the patient has a leg problem, we have to decide whether the leg or foot needs to be amputated for the patient’s survival. These are all management acts that cause enormous instability at the beginning of a relationship. This can sometimes be misunderstood. We also always have to take into account the defense of the weakest, with people who have the lowest salaries, for example, it is worth starting to understand that people also have a life, a personal life. It’s a matter of having a care and respect for the productivity of the people involved. Life is a passion, a person has to love what he does to be able to carry these things forward. Do you consider yourself an intuitive leader? – For me, intuition is perhaps the most important thing in management acts. I would even say that management is 80% intuition and 20% management. It’s more intuition than management, much more. That’s one of my ways of thinking, every week I tell people about it. Used to say that “you have to be good and like. It’s not enough to be good.” Do you like what you do? – Of course I do. It is a peace and a concept of love for what is most beautiful in life, which is happiness. It’s a purpose, a follow-up. Following something, following a direction. Even because I wasn’t like that and I learned to be. I was reading, I was learning. I was fortunate to travel a lot to dozens and dozens of different countries and was able to understand a lot about the world and what people are looking for. It is impossible to always be at peace, it is impossible to always be in love, we are an organic being and with each passing day there is a huge transformation, even in our cells. But in fact, the concept of happiness for me is doing what I love. I love what I do and even when I sometimes make difficult decisions that make me sad, I always feel that my conscience has not been sold and that my principles remain intact. When I was a child did I already feel that I had a vocation to be a manager? – When I was young I had some arrogance. I was in that period when I thought I was the best. I always thought I was really good at what I did, it was a big mistake and a big shock when I found out it wasn’t quite like that. I’ve been wrong several times. I thought I was going to be national MTB champion and I did it, but then I thought I was going to be MTB world champion and then I realized I couldn’t. I started to gain more humility. I am the seventh of eight children and that is why I was conceived very much towards success and to always be the best of the best. Which is very unfair to a child, because life is so much more than that. I received a very austere education from my father, but I always insisted on learning more by myself, always with some luck along the way. For me, luck also remains a lot of work. I like working on Saturday and don’t mind working on Sunday. I am a person who has my faith, my spirituality, which is perhaps one of the most important things for me and which does not involve injecting me with doctrines or dogmas, but rather discovering myself completely. Throughout my life I began to realize that competition is not very necessary. I live in a transitional phase in my life, where competition can be bad. In other words, it is important to realize that our passage through life is much more than that. If we manage to improve society a little, it’s much more interesting than competing. I notice that you remember very well the times when you were a child… – So I don’t remember! I remember every year. I have a lot of memories from when I was very young. Sometimes my family doesn’t even believe it’s possible to remember things so old. I have a very fulfilled childhood and adolescence. We were eight siblings and it was the older ones who took care of the younger ones, with enormous ease. We never needed anything, my father was financially capable, but he thought it was important for us to milk cows, for example. I still know how to do it today. I took care of agriculture, I did everything possible and imagined at this level. And that gave me great emotional stability. At the time I really didn’t like what I was doing, you know. He put me to work hard, it wasn’t exactly pleasant. Today I really like what I used to do and I like even more the education my father gave me. I was privileged. And back then, when I was a child, did I already dream of managing companies? – I always had the idea of ​​companies because it was rare for a cyclist at the end of his career to have a very stable life. I started talking to elderly people very early on, on the bus when I was going to school. People thought I was crazy or something. When I was 7 years old I was talking to people in their 80s and this is not normal. I was more affectionate than other young people because I talked a lot to older people. And notice that an old person is a person full of experience and I think that was a big growth factor in my life. It helped me understand what I wanted to do. Knowing and wanting to listen, being available to listen. I asked a lot of questions and that helped me a lot, I started to mature in the face of life and mistakes. Do you feel that you are part of a less traditional generation of leaders? – Of course you do. I don’t fit into any more traditional type of leadership, nor do I like to be guided by anyone. It’s like that Frank Sinatra song, the My Way. It is very important to live in society and for me there are two types of wealth. There is the financial wealth that is created, often accompanied by a certain arrogance of thinking that you have a lot of money and there is the wealth of personal satisfaction, that of being able to transmit that wealth to society. To me this is the true concept of wealth. I don’t call it socialism, I don’t call it the right, I don’t call it anything. It’s my way of looking at life. Attention, it’s not about giving money to people who don’t want to work, but it makes sense to redistribute wealth when it’s possible to pay a little better, for example. I am exactly what my conscience tells me, which gives me stability and above all, which gives me peace of mind to rest at night. He has already publicly stated that “a good leader has to stay in the middle of his team.” Is this still your posture? – Yes. By the way, I would love to be able to do this in all my challenges. But it is always very difficult to do that when shareholders cannot be directly involved with the employee dynamics, for example. But of course I do, I like being around people. I don’t really like having a CEO’s office far away from everyone, I feel much more comfortable being in an office next to my employees. I like this proximity, after all they are my co-workers. I have no desire to be better than others, in the sense of being the boss or the boss. Everything we do is teamwork and often joint suffering when things don’t go well.

Can we conclude that it is important for you to empathize with your collaborators? – Yes, absolutely! Very important. The Bel Group has several very different business areas. What is it like to manage such a diverse group? – Again, I didn’t look at anyone. I looked at what my conscience and intuition were telling me. All these businesses are interconnected in a future perspective. A few years ago I invested in space and today people see that space is the future. I invested in the automation project, today automation is the future. I invested in large distribution and logistics, today it has an incalculable value. I was very lucky too, but that luck led me to think about the future of society. The core business at Grupo Bel is tradable goods and logistics, which are also doing very well. That’s why we got through the crisis so well. But of course, it took us some time to figure out what worked and what didn’t, it’s part of it. I also feel it’s important to pick the best people to work with. This I feel. Have you felt the impact of this pandemic on your teams? – This type of situation creates a brutal strain on people. At the beginning of the pandemic everything was very unstable, we didn’t know where it was going and that caused some stress, of course, but then the thing ended up stabilizing. Do you consider yourself resistant to change? – No, not at all! I like changes. I’m very quick to adapt to new things. By the way, the one I like to talk to the most is with young people because I learn a lot from them. Sometimes I even feel that I learn more from my children than I teach them anything. The resilience and adaptability of new generations is unique. Let’s not forget that they have the world in their hands. It is a generation that will challenge teaching, for example, because for the first time they have an inexhaustible source of information beside them that is calling everything else into question. Often, we let ourselves go on autopilot due to routines or everyday stress. When this happens, how do you balance the scales of life? – My life doesn’t have an autopilot. There’s too much turbulence for there to even be an autopilot. However this is the perfect decision cocktail, so you can make the quickest decision at the most opportune time. The results of life come from there. Does it follow the heart or the reason more? – Both. Of course, there are days when I can follow one more and others follow another. But I like to follow both. Do you tend to have those spontaneous moments when you feel “this is it!”? Yes, and I’m rarely mistaken when that’s the case. What touches your heart and moves you, even when life is turned upside down? – Read about the history of the world, about wars and know that peace is not a thing guaranteed. Knowing that we have to treat the countries that saved us from Nazism well. Do not mistreat other countries. Do not mistreat for example Russia or Israel. Don’t mistreat Americans or Africans. And this is perhaps the most important thing, as nothing we have is guaranteed. Look, we had this pandemic, which in many ways can be equal to or worse than a war and I think that helped us to appreciate the moment more because we don’t know if tomorrow we’ll be able to have those moments. When reading history and understanding the antiquity, we have always been living in limbo and with enormous resistance and resilience, which defines the Portuguese people as what we are today. Since we were the first to abolish the death penalty, the first to abolish slavery. Global Media Group, for example, is much more than a person, it is much more than Marco. I would say that the history of this group breathes on its own. I feel very small next to a Diário de Notícias, a Jornal de Notícias or a TSF. At the same time I feel a great sense of mission and gratitude for having this opportunity. Everything we have, from our history, our culture, the problems of the past, is much more than we can imagine. It’s a sense of immense responsibility and a lot of gratitude. Do you feel that this sense of mission and purpose is increasingly important to people? – Yes, without a doubt. Grupo Bel is a mission, for example. We have a mission and I want to believe that the entire board of directors is aligned with this mission to be better every day and never forget the path of humility. The sense of humility can never be lost. The day we lose that is ceasing to be before ceasing to exist. Do you feel it is important to promote a constant engagement in your teams in order to maintain this alignment? – Yes and it is a constant learning process too. Unfortunately it is not possible to do this in all areas of the business. There are areas of business that do not allow me to promote this engagement directly. In these cases, I try to do the best I know how, I try to take what I’ve learned from Grupo Bel in 20 years and the qualities that have led us to always recover from all the challenges. I want to believe that people trust me and believe that I am capable of doing the same in other projects as well. Does it become difficult to lead when there is no room for closer proximity to teams? – Yes, of course it does. I’m not a whip leader, never have been. I like to create an empathetic relationship. I am a people person. Do you have unfulfilled dreams? – I have, to take all projects to the end with the result I hope. A deep dream would be for me to be able to contribute to the improvement of our country. Feeling that I can improve our country a little is a deep dream, one of the biggest I have. Even if it’s 0.01%. It’s a very difficult dream to fulfill because there are more people sending them backwards than forwards. But I feel I’m on a good path, sometimes against everything and everyone, but a person with a well-defined and organized conscience can do everything. Do you still believe that there is a ‘right time’ for everything? – Of course, of course there is. Without any doubt!