Creating a more connected world
"I want to build bridges where silos now are."
García-Sjögrim has had the foresight to see the impact of creating connections wherever and whenever they’re needed. It may sound simple, but it is often the most difficult concept to master in corporate America.
He started his career journey in corporate planning at Choice Hotels International and the Taco Bell Corporation. Later he joined The Coca-Cola Company as program manager for the design and development of the World of Coca-Cola. He combined his business acumen with his ability to create relationships across departments, businesses and the community. Having played a key role in taking the World of Coca-Cola from concept to reality he joined the company’s global marketing team as director of planning and execution. Following that he took the role of special assistant in the Office of the CEO. Later he became vice president of the South Florida marketing unit, then director of investor relations. He then moved to a role as vice president of Latin affairs, in charge of developing and maintaining invaluable relationships with the Hispanic community.
He now serves as group director of business integration, global public affairs, sustainability, and communications at the Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta.
After wearing so many hats in his journey, García-Sjögrim has zeroed in on what he says is his legacy and purpose.
“I want to build bridges where silos now are — connecting what should have always been connected and seeing all the areas where new connections are needed and will greatly enhance and impact the world we work and live in. Getting past competition to see the bigger picture is vital,” he said.
"This world is changing, and it can be polarizing. It’s so important to have a place where people from all over can come together and work together. Diversity is the key ingredient."
Even before joining Coca-Cola, he was interested in networking and relationship building. In 1999, he put his beliefs into motion and co-founded giveashare.com, a company that specializes in stock gifting. The idea resonated with people looking to give value beyond traditional gifts. The internet and García-Sjögrim’s foresight allowed him to connect in a whole new way — with anyone interested in his product to purchase as well as all those who received it as a gift.
It was, to him, a business un moment de triomphe.
García-Sjögrim credits his perspective to both experience and education. He attended Middlebury, where he majored in economics and French. He went on to earn an MBA from Goizueta Business School where his ideas were further refined and his soft skills became one of his strongest resources.
He now gives back to the places that he feels gifted him with so much.
“I left a very impersonal educational system in Spain and wanted to find a place where I not only could learn and be educated, but build meaningful relationships. I definitely found that at Middlebury and Goizueta. So I make every effort to give others the opportunities that I enjoyed,” he said.
He and his wife, Lucienne Ide (also an Emory alumnus), share the same vision of connections and opportunities.
“This world is changing, and it can be polarizing. It’s so important to have a place where people from all over can come together and work together. Diversity is the key ingredient,” he said.
García-Sjögrim’s vision extends to his involvement in other areas he’s passionate about too, from being a trustee of The Nature Conservancy’s Georgia chapter and a member of the board of the Latin American Association to serving as a founding member of the Orange County Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and as a former board member of the South Florida chapter of Autism Speaks.
García-Sjögrim’s legacy continues to solidify that his purpose as both practical and profitable. His joint venture in stock sales became a tactile example for him to build upon, emboldening his entrepreneurial spirit and business skills and setting the stage for continued success. He continues to inspire others as a speaker, leader and mentor of diversity and business relationships, returning to Goizueta, a school that’s connected and intertwined with Atlanta’s own Coca-Cola rich history, to speak to new students about what’s possible.
And anything might just be possible if you hear García-Sjögrim talk.
His optimistic but realistic view inspires others who are willing to look, listen and leverage our world of differences as positives, for all of us not against any of us, and to reach out and build those new connections and bridge our gaps.
“When we cross a bridge we’ve built without hesitation, without trepidation, that is when we will truly be a connected world, one that values the intangible connections as much as the tangible revenue those connections create,” he said.