When Alessandra Alarcon Appointed President of Entertainment at SBS in 2019, at 31 she became the first woman to ever lead the Latin American media company’s highly lucrative live events division.
“We have a cute nickname for my department at Corporate,” she says, laughing. “They call us the ‘profit center’.”
“The Profit Center,” as Alarcón calls it, brings together SBS Entertainment’s many highly regarded and successful music events, including the annual January Calibash in Los Angeles. In the three years since it was acquired by Alarcón, Calibash has gradually reduced the number of acts and emerged with a more star-studded line-up. “I thought the crowd would be ok because I would be okay with there being fewer acts but more quality sets. And I’m happy to report that I was right,” she says.
The success was particularly important for Alarcón as she is the granddaughter of the SBS founder Pablo Raul Alarcon and one of the daughters of SBS chairman Raúl Alarcón.
In this episode of billboard Podcast “Latin Hitmaker,” Alarcón opened up about the importance of heritage, the new US Latin market, and balancing work and motherhood in her first in-depth interview since being named to her post. Below are some highlights of the conversation.
On Bringing a Bilingual, Bicultural Perspective to a Spanish Language Media Company: “It gives me a very unique perspective on business and how business is done. There are many deep relationships [in Latin] and there’s a certain way of thinking about how things have to be done because that’s the way it’s always been done. And I think I was born in LA and then [living] grew up in New York and Miami […] and this more bicultural view of business and the way things are done has certainly helped me achieve many things and not get lost in the noise that sometimes happens.”
About her negotiating style: “I’m definitely more of a velvet hammer. It’s a very male-dominated industry. Women are making progress, but it’s a very male-dominated industry. There’s a time and place to be tough, but I’m always happy to come in, listen to someone, make them feel heard and respected. But of course a hammer has to come down.”
On work tips from her father: Raúl Alarcón always taught his daughter the importance of being respectful of others. “He said, ‘There’s nothing worse than having an enemy working for you. The solution will come to you, but you won’t get it by swearing at someone or making them feel bad about themselves.’”
For compensatory work with your six- and four-year-old children: “This [is a] Advice I got from my aunt. She was working and she had two kids and she said, ‘You can have everything, just not at the same time.’”
On her advice to those new to the business: “The obstacle is the way. There is a way through everything. There is a solution to every problem. It may not be exactly what you want, and that’s where humility and flexibility come in. You know, you have to be limber and willing to adapt, because if you don’t adapt, you die. You have to pan.”
Listen to the full episode of Latin Hitmaker here: