The Heroine’s Journey of Carla Martinez Sagastume

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

One of the things that I love the most about my work is the versatility of it: the fact that I can work with different people, with different clients on different projects, across countries, and across industries. It allows me to broaden my views on pretty much everything.

What is my idea of happiness?

There are many things that make me happy – from sitting at a table and sharing a meal with my family and friends to completing a project that I am absolutely proud of, to traveling to an unknown destination. Even something as simple as petting a fluffy dog or cat, can instantly make my day.

What is my greatest fear?

Letting my family down because I am not good enough.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I can be a bit of a control freak. I am an over doer and tend to be a bit anal about my work – to the point that sometimes I take on more work upon myself than I should. Sometimes I would rather do everything myself because I feel not everyone will understand my vision or execute things the way I want.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

I do admire Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuck. And not necessarily in my profession, but I do admire Simon Sinek and Adam Grant.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Being able to set my own rules for each project I take on – from the number of days and hours that I will be working, to what I am worth. Being able to set and live by my own schedule is something that I really cherish. There’s no more hating Mondays, because I can either decide not to work on a Monday, I can decide to work late, or even better, not to work with a client that makes me hate it if it is indeed a Monday and I DO have to work.

On what occasion would I lie?

I don’t know. I tend to be very open and honest – to the point that people sometimes joke about me having to use a filter. I think anything can and should be said if it’s your truth, it’s just the way you say it and the intention behind why you are saying it that tends to be the problem. I do lie when I have to tell my little niece that La Llorona will come and get her if she misbehaves or when a client is telling me a pretty bad idea, then I would say “That is a great idea, however…”

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

That some people/clients think that marketing is the magic formula that will make their products or services go viral instantly. A lot of people don’t understand the strategic part and the grind behind of it, to the extent that they say, “let’s just do what the competition is doing” or “let’s just copy and paste the information from our competitor’s website”.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

I cannot say a specific point in time or a specific company. What I can say though is that I am the happiest when I feel the freedom to be creative, when I feel that I am adding value and that

I can work with a team in harmony, and we are all pulling and pushing towards the same goal.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

That sometimes, I need to let go a little bit and be a bit more trusting of people.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I have had so many achievements I am proud of because I have been lucky to work with many talented people, but I have to say, I am mostly proud of two (in equal measure). One of them is starting on my own – I had been going through some tough times for a couple of years and the buildup was bringing me close to a burnout, so I decided to quit my job like two weeks before Covid hit and there I was, sitting on my couch, wondering what to do next. The original plan was to travel a bit to clear up my mind, but that obviously wasn’t possible anymore. My friends were freaking out that I would never be able to find another job in the middle of a pandemic and begged me to beg for my job back, but I was too tired. I also felt disconnected with the way a lot of companies are working. I wanted to be able to do my job under my own terms, so I started my own company: The Working Story

The other one is when I was a project manager for a book published by Forbes and worked very closely with the authors, Angelique Schouten and Chris Zadeh, and the Forbes team. It was a gruesome but exciting project, featuring interviews with Nobel prize winner – Dr. Harry Markowitz, Pat Williams – founder of the NBA Orlando Magic, Dr. Ian Redmond – renowned field biologist and conservationist, among many other awesome personalities.

Where would I most like to live?

I would love to live somewhere closer to my family, where there’s sun and beach, and green everywhere.

What is my most treasured possession?

My late dad’s high school prom jacket.

If we are talking in more abstract terms, I think it would have to be my brain and that drive instilled in me by my parents and my sister. If you have a brain and drive, you can do pretty much anything you put your mind to.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I think my loyalty. I can be very loyal and if you are in my corner, I will have your back forever.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

There are so many amazing places in The Hague, however, the place where (unfortunately) I get the most inspired is when I am in my bed, ready to go to sleep, and all of a sudden, the wheels in my brain start turning. Not even if I try to shake it off and hug my pillow can I make it stop, so I usually have to get my phone or get behind my laptop and start making notes. It’s very annoying.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Wherever there is good food, good drinks, and good service.

What books influenced my life and how?

I have read so many books in my life. I am a total book worm. I think each and every book I have read has influenced me in one way or another – from the suspense thrillers that make me be more aware when I am walking alone at night, to the philosophical books that can make me change or question my view completely, to the sappy romance novels that I read in the train, because in the end I am a romantic at heart.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day?

I have a “Carli’s Happy Place” playlist on my Spotify, which ranges from happy Latin music (merengue, salsa, bachata) to pop to heavy metal. I think I would probably use it as the soundtrack of my last day because it always lifts my spirit.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Truth be told, I don’t think I have any. I would love to come up with some great names, but to be honest, I just can’t think of anyone. I admire the creators behind some characters – for example, Jane Austen, who wrote some well-developed women characters that were way ahead of her time. I think authors like her – or Stephen King, for example, who leaves you traumatized for days after you have read one of his novels – are extraordinary in the way they make you feel and live their stories. That someone behind the fictional character(s) can make you feel any and/or all the emotions…now that, to me, is the real hero.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My parents. I have never met two more polar opposite individuals who all they had in common is their mind-boggling love for each other, and their drive to make a space for themselves and their family in this world. The way they faced adversity, with such integrity, has been to me not only one of the biggest life lessons but also quite humbling.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

I think CODA. It’s amazing what people can achieve when they believe in themselves and have the support of people that want to see them succeed.

What role do stories play in my life and work?

Definitely a HUGE role. I love stories. I fall asleep thinking of stories. I even named my company ‘The Working Story’. I believe everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s a good or a bad story.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

For me, it means that you are responsible for your own being, and your own future. One of my friends, Chuyita Muñiz, a great psychologist, always says, “We were all born to be happy, but being happy depends on our decisions”. If we don’t like something about our life, it’s up to us to change it. Of course, a lot of people want the magic pill…but the fairy tale story where the knight in the shining armor comes to save us is the one story that I can’t fully get behind of…I like it, but it’s not real unless we, ourselves, are our own knights in shining armors. We can’t delegate the responsibility of our happiness to someone else.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

I don’t know about fans or sponsors. I do have a lot of great people, including an awesome group of amazing, strong women who always have my back: Barbara Mercuur, Esther Damani, Linda Johnson, Isidora Maurer, Claudia Portillo, Kari Durham, Diana Krieger, and Angelique Schouten; and my friend Napoleón Cornejo. As for my partner in crime, that’s for sure my sister, Sara. She is also a Marketing and Communications specialist like me, and besides our close relationship, we work together on different projects, feeding off each other’s knowledge, creativity and experience.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?

I would love to work with people that respect my work and each other’s roles within the company, a team or a department. I would love to work with companies that respect employees and foster a life-work balance relationship. I want to work with companies that have great core values…but not only that, they also live by them.

What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on?

I have three big projects:

Myself. I am a constant work in progress, both professionally and personally. I am trying to go more with the flow and calm down that part of me that freaks out when things don’t go according to plan.

Growing my own marketing & branding consulting company, The Working Story.

Kicking off Marketikas with my sister – a platform where we speak about Marketing and the marketing hurdles we encounter with projects.

Where can you see me or my work in 2022? (coming soon, mainly in Spanish)

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Passion is something that is ingrained in all of us, whether you choose to follow it or not. A lot of people choose to settle for safe because they are scared to follow their true passions, but it doesn’t mean that the passions have gone away. They have only been locked somewhere deep down.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Do they have to be living in the NL?

Sara Martinez, Angelique Schouten, Kristina Raja, Mary Curran Hackett and Diana Krieger.

How can you contact me?

You can contact me via email:; my website:,

or via LinkedIn:

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