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Early on in his career, Javier Beeck ’95 received advice from an advisor who was, like Beeck at the time, a controller: If you want a good life, choose a profitable business and stay there.
“Well, I took the total opposite route,” laughs Beeck.
A self-described “hands-on guy,” Beeck always exhibited a passion for transformation, be it transforming materials as an engineer or company strategies as a marketing manager. Perhaps this is why he has always felt too contained in roles that have cast him as a cog in the machine instead of the person running the engine.
“Rather than wanting to be my own boss — because I do recognize the importance of learning from bosses — I wanted to own my destiny,” he says. That didn’t happen immediately, though. After working in manufacturing in Bolivia, Beeck felt he was a little too in-the-trenches and sought to broaden his view of the market by gaining managerial experience. Kellogg appealed to him because he could combine an education in marketing with the school’s MMM Program.
After graduating from Kellogg, he kicked off an 18-year career with the German chemical company BASF in part because it offered a development program in finance, but also because he felt it connected to his personal heritage.
“I was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where I attended a German school,” Beeck explains. “I knew how to speak German, but I hadn’t taken it to a business level yet. My grandfather came from Germany to Lima, so I thought it was important to take that extra step.”
He spent six months at the headquarters in Germany before a two-year stint in capital investments for the agriculture products division in North Carolina led him to assume a position in Mexico for six years. While there, he took advantage of his close proximity to the president by asking for more opportunities, eventually moving from controller finance to business management.
By the time Beeck returned to the U.S., he was poised to become the marketing manager for the pharma and dietary supplements side of the business. By 2013, he was the manager of product, strategy and innovation in the pigments division and had been a passionate contributor in helping make BASF the leading chemical company in the world. At this point it was time to reassess where his destiny was leading him and Beeck determined that he wanted to move to Miami.
Motivated significantly by the deaths of his wife and mother, and his responsibilities to his young children, Beeck decided it was time to step away from the corporate world and put his skills to a greater endeavor.
An entrepreneur invited Beeck to an acceleration program for social impact initiatives in Latin America. “I realized, as the companies were presenting, how there was a gap between the social entrepreneurs saying that there weren’t enough investors and the social impact investors saying there weren’t enough companies to invest in.”
Beeck realized he could help companies become investor-ready by sharing his strategic, financial, marketing and operations knowledge. Along with his siblings, he is also planning to set up a foundation in his mother’s name to honor her passion for educating children and continues pursuing opportunities to coach and invest in social impact.
Though he didn’t take the early advice to follow a simple, stable career path, Beeck has no regrets.
“When you follow your passion with knowledge and dedication,” he says. “The right energy follows you.”