Between Two Palms is back, our fireside chat series where we talk to our Leadership Team to find out more about them. This time, Jonny wasn’t able to make it, so Victoria, our Team & Culture Manager (now turned Associate Product Manager), took the helm and spoke with Esteban Escalante, our VP Commercial.

What’s your go-to drink order?

ESTEBAN: Everybody knows I love tequila. Maybe I’ll start with a beer or something but in the end I always go back to tequila. Not European tequila, but real Mexican tequila. 

What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

ESTEBAN: In Mexico we eat chapulines, which are grasshoppers. You fry them and they end up being crunchy and quite good. Some people will move on from chapulines to scorpions. 

What’s your favorite book?

ESTEBAN: I read a lot, so my favorite book is always evolving over the years. When I was younger it was probably The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Over the last ten years the coolest book I have read is The Cursed Legions by Santiago Posteguillo. 

What is your favorite song right now?

ESTEBAN: My favorite song has always been “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Also, back in Mexico I never listened to any Latin music, but here I miss it so I actually listen to a lot more Mexican music than I did previously. 

Walk us through how you got to Berlin. 

ESTEBAN: I came to Berlin in 2017 and joined Grover. Before that, I worked for Best Buy for four years, so I knew Grover’s products and I knew consumer electronics, but I always sensed something was missing. In the end, the Best Buy business model is just about selling the assets and nothing else. What Grover gives you is the ability to change the entire customer offering in a way that makes sense for both the customer and the company. For me it’s a win-win. Grover offers something completely different which quickly caught my interest long-term.

What key decisions did you make early in your career that have impacted you and led you to where you are now? 

ESTEBAN: The biggest decision I made is when I chose to leave Best Buy and move to Barcelona to do an MBA. It was a huge leap and for me there is a very clear difference between before and after. The MBA was a transformational experience. Those two years allowed me to reassess everything. The MBA also gave me a lot more skills I needed to move from a purely financial role, which entailed a lot of analysis, to a more commercial role, which requires seeing the bigger picture. 

How would you describe your working style? 

ESTEBAN: I try to be very direct and very communicative. I am very detail-focused, because as a customer-focused business, the details are critical. So that’s very much my style — very direct, very confrontational. I love saying no and I love taking the other side of an argument just to have a good discussion. 

What motivates you to keep going?

ESTEBAN: I think we really have an amazing team so this is what motivates me. I have the obligation to give my best for their sake — because if I’m not doing my best, I’m not doing them justice. The way I see it, if I demand their best, it’s only fair that I also do my best. 

What is your proudest achievement at Grover? 

ESTEBAN: To see the growth we have had in the Category Management team since I took over in 2018. And more specifically, to see how the team has developed over the years. I really think we have laid out the foundations to take Grover to the next level. 

Our interview with Esteban highlights the importance of our team at Grover — without it, and without communicative and bold leaders like Esteban, who encourage ownership and accountability and inspire excellence — we wouldn’t be where we are today.