There is an undoubtedly special bond with those people with whom you have shared childhood experiences with. Paula and I went to school together, and even if she is a bit younger than me, I will never forget the generosity she has always shown towards me the times we have coincided, like that day after years of not seeing each other (I am sure she does not remember) when she gave me several tickets at the concert ticket office. She said: “Hello! Haven’t you got any tickets? How many of you are there? Here, take these for you and your friends.”
Paula Serra was born in Mallorca in 1968. A determined, strong, courageous, and committed woman, always willing to help, something that makes me feel very grateful.
She was very excited when, a few months ago, I suggested interviewing her for the section of my blog.
Perhaps, as she confessed to me because as a journalist, she is usually the one that conducts the interview, so she prepares herself thoroughly to answer my questions.
We are warmly received by Luis Altamira, hotel manager of Es Princep, a new boutique hotel in our city that restores our history values, combining tradition and modernity, principles with which we fully identify. Nothing says “luxurious getaway” like a magnificently prepared cocktail while one enjoys a very special atmosphere in a unique space.
We meet in Gremiun, a space in Es Princep perfect to taste that delicious cocktail.
Did you always know that you wanted to dedicate yourself to the family business?
I do not know if I always wanted to do that, but what I do really know is that I was born in a family that led a family business in which both my parents and grandparents worked actively.
The moment I had to decide what I wanted to study, I gave them different options. and they said: “Oh… journalism is a very good path.” And just when I had finished my degree, a delegation was being opened in Antena3 in the Balearic Islands, so they encouraged me to work there.
Today I think that decisions are made in a more conscious way and that 30 years ago we did not think that much, it was more spontaneous unless you had a very strong vocation.
What do you think has been the reason for Grupo Serra’s success? More than 125 years leading in the media of the Balearic Islands. It must not be easy.
It is not easy. In fact, we have just finished 2018, in which we have celebrated these 125 years of history, the reason why we have reviewed the existence of Ultima Hora and why it is a leading newspaper.
I would say that it owes its success to two men; first, its founder, Don Josep Tous i Ferrer, who wanted to create a popular newspaper. He introduced publicity as an innovation and, for the first time, he decided he wanted to pay journalists so they could be independent.
He created a series of stamps that were reinforced by Don Pedro Serra, when he decided to buy that headline in 1973, maintaining its quality and choosing to support our roots, our culture, who we are.
I believe that his mixture is what has made Ultima Hora last 125 years and, of course, Don Pedro’s impetus during these last 25 years, which has certainly made possible the creation of the press, audiovisual and radio groups.
Of course, a lot of work has also been a crucial factor, as it happens in every aspect of life. Indeed, luck is an influential aspect, but it is work which in the end determines everything, and I think that part of his luck was having such a great team which supported him, a wife, and three children who have been in the company since young.
Between questions and answers, we are served two marvelous cocktails, both because of its presentation and its flavor. The mixture of tastes and aromas is surprising. Alex, our bartender, explains its preparation… a complete delirium.
In the middle of the conversation, we give ourselves a break. It is in this moment that we end up talking about how for both Paula and me, this is being the best part of the day, an interesting conversation, a cozy space, an exclusive treatment, and in the best company, so what else can we ask for.
Tell us about your time as an audio-visual producer. You were able to go the Goya Awards, which is a huge success, is it fiction what you most like?
My professional circumstances happen a bit by chance. I started to manage local television; then, when IB3 was born, I also started managing its productions.
There, we were encouraged to make fiction and we met with another national producer. During six years, we had the opportunity of carrying out all the series. I had no idea about how this whole word functioned, but I liked it.
As a result of this project and another we did in Tele5, we met a lot of people. In one of these meetings, during a meal, I sat with Marcos Cabota and Toni Bestard, and they explained their project to me and encouraged me to produce it.
From then on, we started the adventure of “I’m Your Father”, a documentary that lasted three years and that did not cost what it was supposed to cost in the beginning: 10,000€. However, it took us to the Goya Awards. It was a different project, something that I had never done before. I had to seek funding, sell the project and all the subsequent work in order for it to be successful.
I always say that in this audio-visual word, there are projects that do not give a fortune, but that, instead, give a lot of personal satisfaction, and this is one of the examples, which makes me feel more than satisfied. We went to the Goya Awards and we deeply enjoyed the experience, always with this doubt of whether or not you will be awarded and you will have to go up the stage and give your speech (laughs), another challenge.
This has allowed us to keep on moving forward. Now, we are working on a documentary about how Thriller, by Michael Jackson, was made, which until now is the best-selling record of all times.
Your family has always had a connection with art, how important was it for your father and how did he transmit it to you?
My father comes from a family interested in the world of culture. At the age of 20, he began to buy a series of works, because he was passionate about collecting. He even painted. But he did not collect as in buying and selling, but as a personal enjoyment that he could share with anyone who would go see him.
His approach to traveling meant visiting Miro exhibitions in Paris or going to a Giacometti exhibition in New York, of which he wanted to make us participants.
He became a great collector and promoter. We have The Baluard Museum which, despite the criticism, I think it is a fantastic place and that, without him, it would not probably exist, as well as the recognition of the figure of July Ramis. Also, he influenced the acknowledgment of Joan Miro, when he became his friend and nobody in Mallorca knew him. It is also remarkable to remember his friendship with Camilo Jose Cela.
My father was a very culturally restless person, and it is clear that if you lived around him, whether you wanted or not, you joined the party, for which I feel very fortunate.
How do you see yourself a few years from now with regard to your professional career?
I have not really thought about it. I am a person that just lives day-to-day, I do not think: I want to reach this certain point in my life.
Opportunities, if you know how to search them, happen, and I establish my challenges from year to year.
From the point of view of the company, I see ourselves struggling since we are living some different and complicated times. There is a big revolution in the media, so we need to reconduct the company.
However, with the years, you realize that the most important thing in life is to live, to try to be professional and to do what you like the most. I do not contemplate great challenges if I am not really sure they can be achieved.
We are tremendously fortunate for living where we live, for being healthy, for having a job and stable families… What we need to do is to be grateful every day for all of these.
As a woman, what do you think about movements such as the #metoo one?
I deeply respect it, and I also believe that it is and will continue to be extremely necessary for many moments.
It is true that in the world we live in, there are injustices and situations that have been tolerated over the years and, as women, we should not continue to tolerate the situation that we find ourselves in because of our gender.
Having said that, I must confess that I have never felt discriminated against as a woman in my work, ever, and I have sat at tables where there were 10 men.
I have never hired a person because they were a man or a woman, and I have never seen salary imbalance in my sector.
Personally, I think that anything taken to the extreme is not right, and I still defend that men and women are not equal and have different determining factors. In the end, it is a matter of personal choice, and you have to choose.
It is hard for me to think that you can be an incredibly competitive executive which has 5 children and is able to leave at 3 in the afternoon, pick them up at school, walk with them in the park, do their however with them, and then go out to have some dinner, looking like a wonderful and smiling woman next to your husband, subsequently putting on your executive suit the next day at 7 in the morning.
Either you are a “superwoman” or else you have to choose what life you want to live.
You cannot have everything.
Tell us about your commitment to solidarity.
Regarding it, I would say that I love feeling useful in solidarity projects and do my share. It thinks that, from our newspaper or from the producer, we can broadcast thousands of initiatives, and we always have our doors open for everyone.
What is more, I actively collaborate with Amics de la Infancia, which works with Bolivian and Peruvian centers. Also, here in Mallorca, I am part of the board of Projecte Jove.
Finally, I ask Paula about her relationship with the brand Isabel Guarch. I explain that I am interested in knowing her point of view as a woman and as an entrepreneur.
What do you like about Isabel Guarch as a brand?
Several things. First, I find absolutely intelligent how the brand has managed to reinvent itself and be one of the very first to have given a philosophy to the jewels. All of them tell you something that is linked to tradition, to Mallorca, to the past, where we all come from.
It is a family business which belongs to somebody who is from here, somebody who has a face, and eyes. In this globalized world in which we find so hard to discover what there is behind each thing, knowing where every piece that you see comes from makes every jewel even more attractive.
Furthermore, I think that each of the collections that are presented each year is even better than the previous one. They are incredibly beautiful. And I tell this as a person who does not usually wear jewelry, even if now I wear a little more.
What I like the most is that they can easily become a gift. In fact, whenever we have to give a present, I think: “a jewel of Isabel Guarch is perfect because it means more than just the jewel.” You honor your birth-place, you give something nice, you tell part of your story, you support family businesses… I believe that the whole of it is really appealing.
Transmitting all these values means a lot of effort, work and, above all, truth, since nothing has just been made up.
It is, without a doubt, a dose of motivation for me to hear these words from Paula.
Thanks for being my friend.
Luis Calvo vídeo y photos. @luis.calvog