Get to know Lourdes

It’s just after 1.30pm on a warm autumn afternoon in our Madrid office. Lourdes waves to a colleague walking past her window and apologises for being a few minutes late – it’s been a typically busy day.

Lourdes Freixas
our South Europe Financial Director at DS Smith Packaging

Tell us about your role

In a nutshell, my role is to help DS Smith achieve its strategic goals across France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. That is to be the leading global supplier of sustainable packaging solutions, become a trusted and strategic partner to our customers and provide innovative packaging solutions for all their needs. A big part of that is making things happen - in the way we say, and within the timeframes and resources we specify. Plus, if I see an opportunity for growth, improvement or profitability, it’s also my responsibility to make sure we invest in the right resources to make it happen.

Tell us about your team

I work with several amazing teams across southern Europe, both within the packaging division and the whole DS Smith group. Our finance teams are passionate, understand our business and have a desire to deliver results. I also work closely with the Managing Director for our region and ambitious and result-driven colleagues in sales, operations and HR. Together we are supporting each other and achieving results. I’m lucky to have so many different, talented people around me!

Lourdes with her team, Miles Roberts, our CEO, and Stefano Rossi, our Packaging CEO
Lourdes with her team, Miles Roberts, our CEO, and Stefano Rossi, our Packaging CEO

The manufacturing industry is traditionally male dominated. What is it like at DS Smith?

It’s true historically, but I see that changing. At the end of the day, we are all people. Being a woman in a traditionally male dominated industry is hard, but it can also be an advantage. I’ve always felt my opinion is carefully considered because I bring a different perspective.  Not just because I may sometimes be the only woman in a meeting, but also because I’m from Argentina, and non-European. I’ve had opportunities to participate in several internal and external initiatives, including an event in Madrid to encourage young women to overcome gender bias, and as a role model for other female colleagues. These are the things I enjoy the most.

Lourdes with her South Europe leadership team
Lourdes with her South Europe leadership team

How do you find the work/life balance?

It’s one of the things I really like about DS Smith. We work hard but the balance is positive. I have a young family but I’ve always been supported and given any time I needed. I believe in the personal touch so I do travel a lot so I can meet as many of my team as I can. This affects me a little but, of course, that comes with the job I choose to do.

Tell us one thing you think DS Smith is really good at

For such a big company we have been able to retain the competitive edge that helped us to grow - primarily due to our significant flexibility and speed of response. I believe this has played a major part in allowing us to navigate all the turbulence and change of the last few years so successfully.