We’re back for our second iteration of “Between Two Palms”, our monthly sit down with members of Grover’s leadership team. In the hot seat this time was Federico Paullier, our Senior Vice President (SVP) Growth.  

The flurry behind the scenes was less hectic than during our first crack at it, but the audience’s curiosity was just as palpable. Like last time, we started off with quickfire questions and slowly got more personal. 

As people gathered both in the office and online, we were ready to kick-off, and so was Fede.

 

What is your go-to drink order?

FEDERICO: Usually I go for Gin & Tonic, so pretty basic, but recently I’ve been leaning toward Negronis. 

 

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

FEDERICO: I think it’s unusual for some people, but not for me: chicken hearts. In South America it’s quite normal to eat them, but it’s pretty weird for Europeans. It’s delicious, though. 

 

What is your favorite book of all time?

FEDERICO: Lately, I’ve really been liking Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari—I like history a lot. And my favorite classic is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco—It’s more of a classic that you read in school, but I really liked it.

 

What’s your favorite song right now? What kind of music are you into in general?

FEDERICO: I’m into every kind of music. Some people here know my “Desert” playlist, which consists mainly of deep house, but the song I’m listening to on repeat right now is “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”, by Outkast. I cannot stop listening to that song.  

(Find the “Desert” playlist here!! 🌵🐫)

You grew up in Uruguay and Italy. What was the experience of growing up in two countries like? 

FEDERICO: I was born in Uruguay and I moved to Italy when I was 4, then back to Uruguay when I was 8, and then back to Italy once again when I was 13. I lived in both countries in parallel throughout my youth, for family reasons. It was certainly a bit disruptive, but an all-around great experience. What I appreciate most is that I grew up close to nature, first by the sea, and then by the mountains. I was lucky to experience that, and culturally both countries are very interesting. Moving around a lot helped me adapt to new circumstances and taught me how to start over from scratch, which is something I bring with me wherever I go. I believe I’m the nomad I am today because of how much I moved around growing up.

 

You’ve played rugby a lot in your lifetime. What is one thing you learned from rugby that is a useful lesson for everyone?   

FEDERICO: There are so many lessons we can learn from rugby. But if I had to choose one, it’s probably teamwork. It’s essential for the game, more so than in other sports. You learn discipline and respect in other sports, but in rugby, teamwork plays a special role. You can’t do much as an individual. If you try to do things on your own, you realize very soon that you’ll hit a wall (literally). An easy example is that you sometimes get aggressively tackled by an opponent and then need to sacrifice yourself to pass the ball to your teammates. You absorb the impact to create space and opportunity for the others.

 

(For those of you that don’t know rugby, here’s what he means. Notice how the passer always draws in the defender to create space for their team.)

What was it about Grover that convinced you to join? 

FEDERICO: At the time, I was consulting at another startup and was looking for a different young company to join. I was actually in Paris when I started talking to a recruiter about Grover. Then I spoke to the people in the team and I really liked everyone I met. I was immediately struck by Grover’s strong purpose and the sustainability aspect of the business model. The idea itself was something that really interested me. I also wanted to go back to e-commerce, which is something I had done early on in my career. And Berlin was always a city that I could see myself living in, so I took the opportunity, and here I am. 

 

How would you describe success?

FEDERICO: Doing what I love and learning from it. Obviously, there are other things that matter, like status and compensation for example, but it’s much more important to love what you do and work with people you can learn from and respect. 

 

We’ve never seen you lose your cool, and even when you do, it’s very dignified.  How do you manage that?

FEDERICO: Working out for me is how I manage stress. Exercise is really just managing energy—and sometimes it’s not the best energy. More generally, it’s also having other things that you care for outside of work. If work is all you have, then it becomes too important and you can’t help but let it fully define who you are. When you have things outside of work that you really care about, any work problems you may have will feel a lot  smaller and consequently be a lot more manageable. 

Who’s the person you admire most and why? 

FEDERICO: I really admire my uncle. He’s only three years older than me, and we are like brothers. We lived together in London for five years. He’s a lawyer and he’s a person who has always inspired me and helped me motivate myself throughout my career. Earlier on, I wasn’t as motivated as I am now, but when I saw how much he was sacrificing for what he loved to do, that pushed me to do more and be better. I look up to him a lot.

Each of these sessions is insightful in a new and unique way, and gives us a glimpse of what our leadership team is like outside of work, and, most importantly, how each leadership team member thinks and approaches the balance between work and life. This talk with Federico highlights some of what we believe are the most important life lessons: do what you love, keep the people you love and admire close, and: everyone has a lesson to learn from rugby. 🏉