In 1971, the Colombian couple Nelson Fuentes Sr. and his wife Yolanda undertook a non-return trip to the United States, selling their belongings in Cartagena de Indias to travel to the North American southeast, in the city of Atlanta. The search for a broader job opportunity, as millions of people who today make up the Hispanic face of the United States have done, which translates into 18.7% of the total population of the country, was the beginning of a history of effort , learning and harvesting valuable lessons for the future.
With endless cultural, legal, language and financial barriers, and even a seemingly vital business condition that he would end up betting on (color blindness), Nelson Fuentes Sr. and his family defied the laws of probability and founded a printing company in 1983. -boutique.
For nearly a decade, the family business has been shaping cover letters, posters, letterheads, brochures, etc., building a loyal customer base and without losing the iron attitude of growth and determination in the face of any type of adversity. that characterizes them today.
The evolution of the industry, along with the challenges of competition and digitization, as well as the complexities derived from the coronavirus in the world, forced what was once Interprint Communications to transform and grow.
Today, IPCOMM is an agency that, although it maintains its vital area of services around printing, has brought a much broader expertise, professionalism and quality, which today give life to a complete business consultancy for the contemporary productive ecosystem, a field where design, digital strategy, creativity and marketing cross paths, needs and solutions.
Mónica Maldonado, CEO of the company and daughter of that exemplary marriage, tells El País what it has been like to be part of a family and business lineage of three generations, vital for the Hispanic and female community of the Southeastern United States, which today is recognized by a dozen national, regional and local certifications about 100% Latin American female leadership.
“Since the business started, and as good immigrants, the family also became an essential part of the business. I joined to work with him in the sales area. The goal from the beginning was to pursue much bigger goals than we could achieve back then. And that's what we have come to; Today we are one of the largest printers in the Southeastern United States with the Women-Owned Small Business certification.
“In addition, during the pandemic we decided to bet on growth and open a communications agency to offer our clients a more comprehensive solution. We not only do printing services but also graphic design, website development, digital campaigns, and communication plans "," the pandemic and social claims opened an opportunity in the area of diversity and inclusion and we began to work with companies and institutions such as Grady, Papa John's and Accenture developing comprehensive internal communication plans in those areas, ”points out Mónica Maldonado, who also, along with her brother and children, has had to face the recent death of her father and founder, the pause of an important base of clients, in addition to the operational, financial and human complexities that the entire Hispanic community has faced.
Latin American professionalism
For Mónica, her family and the entire staff of almost twenty people who make up the heart of IPCOMM, conscience and trust are the pillars that guide the company in the midst of adversity, to run the company that her father founded almost four years ago. decades towards new horizons, which, while increasingly complex and challenging, have also been positive and rewarding, thanks in large part to a prominently Latin American attitude to life.
Regardless of the size of the project, IPCOMM has met the needs of its clients with opportunity, creativity and professionalism, bringing the trust of important clients such as UPS, Accenture or Coca-Cola. In this regard, Mónica Maldonado's vision is based on diversity and reciprocity: “the universe of consumers of these companies is very wide and diverse. And as we say around here: 'you have to work with people who make sense of the products that we sell and consume. Let them look alike. '
“(...) I always have the idea and pride that Colombians, and a good part of Latin Americans, make an exceptional product;
as a small supplier we only need that first opportunity from large companies, to be able to demonstrate the added value in efficiency, costs and creativity that a diverse supplier like us can contribute to the communication efforts of these companies ”.
This spirit has accompanied IPCOMM in the transit of trails that are much more competitive and conducive to a broad and comprehensive business, especially in difficult times like these.
Mónica Maldonado confesses that it has not been easy and that circumstances have led them on a path of human learning and enormous internal strength, in partnership with solid, empathetic and committed allies.
“It was tough because a lot of our clients are in the
and entertainment field.
That stopped being from one day to the next and still does not catch its usual rhythm.
Faced with adversity, we chose to reinvent ourselves, and look on the positive side to expand our business and work as a team with our clients on new solutions that were aligned with the values that their consumers were demanding. "
Always forward, unstoppable
During the pandemic, digital and market readjustment challenges forced IPCOMM to find new outlets, learnings and strategies to satisfy its customers and conquer new ground: “For our part, the government support was very good and important to move forward. We took it and tightened our belts, we were out of the office for about eight weeks, working only with the people who were required at the time. My parents, my brother and my children got together to see how we did to transform ourselves ”, confesses Mónica Maldonado, who today begins to see the results of that effort.
And he adds: “In everything new that you start, there are always fears, but one only has to do what he has to do, get fully involved with a vision of getting ahead. I do not know everything, but I have allies who know it and together we see how to meet the needs of customers to give them a perfect solution (...). That has been the attitude that marks the way in which we have come forward, step by step and from opportunity to opportunity, regardless of whether it is large or small; one has to be ready ”.
Looking ahead to a future in which those opportunities need to expand, IPCOMM's capacity and quality track record has found a voice in important projects of significant high value, such as UPS's Black Voices of Big Brown book, in where the company faced high dedication work, through a final product that would have many finishes, textures, techniques, design commitment, etc. An art that had to be solved against the clock and that today is a first-rate editorial fruit.
The inspiration behind a family business that has spanned entire generations, today reinforces its quality, human warmth and link with excellence from its roots. “We have lived by the great example of our parents for three generations, my mother is still involved in the company, I am now the CEO of the company and my brother the director of
, my son Rafael is creative director and I have had also my daughter Verónica doing business consulting at different levels. Today she is directing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Georgia ”, specifies Mónica Maldonado, a person proud of her origin and her achievements, which are echoed in a business of completely human quality.
The CEO of IPCOMM sees a positive future, full of opportunities and teamwork: “As in communications where perception is reality, in life and in business we choose to perceive this new reality that we have to live with the pandemic. as the ideal time to become experts in communicating corporate diversity programs. To be an active part of a social change from our role as communicators. Not being only defined by the circumstances of this pandemic, but also looking for the opportunities that this new reality presents us with. Furthermore, to feel that we are contributing our grain of sand for a strategic change of companies towards a more equitable society by helping them to develop their diversity programs. "