Maria Fernandez, EVP/COO of Sony Music Latin Iberia on ‘Latin Hitmaker’ Podcast

As COO and executive vp of Sony Music Latin Iberia, María Fernández is one of the most powerful women in Latin music. But power is rarely on her mind.

“Power is something I never sought and something I never really think about,” says Fernández. “To me, real power is the power that doesn’t need to be displayed.”

Fernández was long a Sony secret weapon who worked largely behind-the-scenes, until her boss, CEO/president Afo Verde, nudged her forward.

“He’s the one who told me that to truly understand this business and contribute to it, I had to spend more time with managers, with artists, with people in the industry. It allowed me to have a vision that normally people that are in finance may not have,” says Fernández, who used to be CFO at the label.

In this episode of Latin Hitmaker, Fernández spoke candidly about her rise to COO, balancing high power work and motherhood, the ins and outs of finance and why managers are her “artists.”

Listen to the full podcast here:

Here are three nuggets from the conversation.

On managers as artists: “I’d say my ‘artists’ are the managers I work with. I’m something like a manager’s A&R in the sense that I work very closely with them. Especially in the past few years, where part of the strategic vision is to identify those people who have an exceptional talent in the industry and see what kind of business or association we can make with them.”

On her deal-making philosophy: “I’m one of those people who believes that for a business to be successful, both parts need to feel they made a good deal, even one or two years later. We are betting on people’s talent and it’s definitely not a good idea to try to take advantage of them.”

On balancing motherhood and work: “The first thing to be clear on is, it’s not necessary to choose [between the two]. For a long time, it was expected that once you had children you had to choose between family and work. Part of my job is to make clear that’s not the case. Definitely, having a child means having to handle stress, organizing your time, establish priorities. There are many areas where there’s a before and after, But I firmly believe being a mom is a competitive advantage in the workplace.

You can find all Latin Hitmaker episodes on Spotify or on most podcast platforms.

Leila Cobo