For Ivan, stepping onto the squash court is like entering another world. It's all about playing well, playing hard and winning—and you can't succeed without physical fitness and strategic thinking. Ivan thrives in that environment, the same way he thrives in the high-energy arena of brand insights and analytics at UnitedHealth Group. After spending part of his career in agencies and corporate environments, he says that being at UnitedHealth Group feels like a middle point—a place where he can finally bring his true self to work. Sure, the pace is intense and the expectations are high, but Ivan is up to the challenge. Just like the squash court he loves so much, he's trained for this. And just like every other day on the job, there's nothing better than go time.
How do you describe your job to family and friends?
I tell them my job is about trying to understand who the consumer is, how they behave and why they do the things they do. I try to get inside their minds and hearts, so I can script a message and film a story people can actually believe in.
What are some of the greatest challenges you need to take on in order to be successful in your role?
One of the greatest challenges in my job is simplifying the complex. In advertising, we deal with a lot of big data and analysis—we need to be able to tell a story through the numbers because that story has a big impact on the organization.
When you’re facing those challenges, what are some of your personal strengths and abilities that come into play?
I tend to rely on my strategic thinking when I'm facing the challenges of my work. I'm a big picture type of guy and I like to think two to three steps ahead. That really comes in handy with media and strategic planning.
What does collaboration look like for you in your role?
Collaboration is key. We tend to be a matrix organization. Brand development touches many lines of the businesses, so it's important to work together as a team towards a unified goal.
What do you love about squash?
I love everything about squash. It's a very physically challenging sport, and yet people refer to it as "chess in a box" because it's strategic by nature and you have to think two to three steps ahead. It's really similar to what I do at work, in terms of working with a team to achieve a unified goal.
What are the elements of your job you love?
As an individual, you can have a big impact across the organization. The company is very lean by nature and you tend to shoulder a lot. It's hard at times but it's very rewarding in the end.
How does the work environment at UnitedHealth Group make the most of your talents and skills?
I was brought in to do a specific role and the company relies on me to be the brand and media expert, to know the voice of the consumer. They listen to me as a collective group and make decisions based on my recommendations, which is really empowering.
How have you grown at UnitedHealth Group?
I've worked in corporations as well as agencies, but UnitedHealth Group feels like a middle point where I can bring my true self to work every day and it's valued. The fact that I feel like I'm being my genuine self at work every day makes a big difference.
If you weren’t working at UnitedHealth Group or doing what you do today, what would you be doing?
I'd be a DJ in Ibiza, an island off Spain.
What do you like more—luxury hotel or cabin?
I'd choose a luxury cabin.
What do few people know about you that they would be surprised to learn?
I'm Irish, Scottish, German and Puerto Rican – but for some reason people are always surprised find out about the Irish and Scottish parts.
What are you most grateful for?
The ability to be in good health and hang out with my kids.