My name is Iris Griffiths. I am Brazilian by birth and British by choice. I founded ACROSS to help companies and individuals to take advantage of the Brazilian and other Latin American countries’ business opportunities without preconceived ideas or stereotypes of what means to do business in this region.
I was born in a small town (Poté) in the Northeast of Minas Gerais in Brazil. I was a precocious reader and in my early teens, after struggling to understand something in a translated Agatha Christie novel, I decided to learn English. This was my first step towards the English language, becoming a translator and, eventually, England.
After secondary school I moved to the capital city of my State (Belo Horizonte) to study journalism. It was a newspaper article about sociology students working as market research street interviewers that introduced me to market research. I so was inspired by the idea of finding solutions by listening to people’s opinions that two days later I knocked on the door of the largest market research company in Belo Horizonte. I started my career in market research as a political telephone interviewer, immersing myself in the sociological world of market, political and opinion research, choosing qualitative methodologies as my preferred research method along the way. I have never stopped listening to people’s opinion since.
The first time I saw an interpreter on TV I felt real excitement about helping people to communicate as if there were no language barrier – a feeling I still experience today before starting an interpreting assignment. By the time I left Brazil I was working in the combined fields of language and market research, both academically and professionally.
I started my professional career in the UK in 1997 as an academic researcher. In this capacity I started to understand how culture and how we perceive our own culture in relation to others impact on our business and social decisions. I embraced intercultural and cross-cultural issues as knowledge subjects and it was just a matter of time before I incorporated this into the work we do at ACROSS. I don’t underestimate how lucky I am for always being able to work with something I love.