Dream High: Mayte Carvalho, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

da Dasha Ovsyannikova

TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
Los Angeles, Stati Uniti
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Mayte Carvalho
Director of Business Strategy TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

Tell us a bit about yourself and your side hustle.

I currently serve as the Director of Business Strategy for TBWA\Chiat\Day LA. Back in Brazil, I was named one of the six great women startup leaders by GQ Magazine and was also on the hit show Shark Tank where I pitched my app Beauty Pharmacy which became the number one app in the Brazilian AppStore. My side hustle is being a Rhetoric Professor and I absolutely love it.


What inspired you to start your side hustle? How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been teaching for the last 2 years. What inspired me to start this side hustle was the fact that I love learning and sharing knowledge, so the academic world seemed like a natural fit for me. I believe that professors help to shape our vision and beliefs as human beings more than professionals and inspire us to be protagonists of our own history.

Does your side hustle benefit the community in any way? If not, do you plan on using it to give back at some point?

Yes. I do unpaid Rhetoric teaching and mentoring for Advertising students in poor communities in Brazil as well. I see myself in those youth - I came from a small city in Sao Paulo and made it through. I want them to aspire and believe that they can achieve their dreams. I decided to study advertising after I saw “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” that Chiat\Day created for Apple when I was 17 years old. That was very distant from my reality at the time, but I had this epiphany when I watched it and thought “I’m a crazy one! That’s it! I want to inspire people and do great things.”  And who would have thought 12 years ago that I would end up as a Director for the same company.  That’s why I do pro-bono teaching. I want those kids to dream high and to believe they can, because those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world… we all know the end of the story. =)

What motivates you to keep hustling?

Feedback from my students! That they were able to win a scholarship using Aristotle’s principles of Rhetoric to write their applications, that they got a promotion, nailed a job interview, and were able to identify toxic dynamics in their relationships by the way they communicate/people communicate with them. Every time someone writes me an email or shares it with me in person, I have this feeling that I am doing the brave thing. The sole purpose of life is to pass on what we’ve learned.

Were there any specific skills you needed to start this project? Has your day job helped in developing those skills?

I had formal education on Communication Theory but it was my empirical skills that helped get me to where I am. I fundraised a company on Shark Tank with the power or rhetoric and also started my professional life as an Account professional at an advertising agency before moving to Strategy. Account professionals are masters of rhetoric and negotiation when it comes to deadlines, handling creatives and clients and it was for sure a good way to develop those skills. I admire them a lot.

Does your side hustle benefit your day-to-day work?

For sure. Especially because a lot of my students are studying marketing and comms in general. I teach under the Marketing Chair at Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM), the best Marketing University of Latin America.

7. What have you learned since you began your side hustle? Has it evolved it evolved the years?

  1. We don’t know what we don’t know
  2. Students teach me a lot of things I don’t know
  3. Vulnerability is power: the more I share deep experiences with my class, the more they bring their full self to the classroom

Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives & executives on how to pursue their passion projects on the side

  1. Find a mentor: Someone who inspires you and you can look up to as a role-model. I have a good friend and mentor that is also a professor and a marketing professional, Denise Roberson, Chief Purpose Officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA. I think it’s relevant to have someone to share experiences and grow, ask them the insider questions and learn from them.
  2. Start with what you have: Minimum viable product mentality, almost like a startup mindset. Build, measure, learn. Don’t quit if something was not the way you planned at first. If you don’t have the best way to do it, start with a beta.
  3. Community is everything: Attend events of the side hustle you want to be part of, find them online, join online forums, follow the references of that area on Twitter and Instagram, mingle. Read their books. Be part of the ecosystem! Breathe the same air.