In the last two decades, Rachel Maia has paved a path of success from the ground up. Born of humble origin in São Paulo, she has overcome major hurdles to become one of the most visible and admired Afro-Brazilian women in business.
Her track record with luxury companies such as Tiffany & Co., Pandora and Lacoste eventually led her to Forbes 40 Most Powerful Women in Brazil. And as a Black woman CEO, Rachel represents less than one percent of Brazil’s high-level executives, serving as an inspiration for many women and people of color across Latin America.
In 2020 she founded RM Consulting working as an advisor to companies of different segments, including JBS, the world’s second-largest food company and the largest in animal protein.
Maia often references her work as making space for the women who will come after her. To that end, she has expanded Brazil’s job market for other women by creating education programs to coach low-income professionals in the retail market.
“Diversity for me is more than numbers. You can’t just add numbers to look good in the photo”, said Rachel Maia. “But we, as leaders, need to be discerning that we are this turning point. We have to create value so that, in a true and genuine way, we can include people”.
Maia is currently the Chairman of the Consultative Council of UNICEF in Brazil and recently released the book Meu caminho até a cadeira número 1 (My way to chair number 1), only available in Portuguese. Her autobiography brings memories from her childhood, stories about the time she lived abroad in the U.S. and Canada, and the challenges she had to overcome in the corporate world and in society in general to turn into one of the most successful leaders in Brazil.