New York – Ana Calvo de Luis, Coolture New York (Spain)

Ana Calvo de Luis found EuroCircle – or we found Ana during 1999 when we started EuroCircle events in NYC. I still recall how she got us some fantastic tapas and cheeses donated for this cool gothic place in Tribeca called NV. I am sure it does not exist anymore!

When did you move to the US? Where are you originally from?

Originally from Spain, I have lived one quarter of my life in Argentina, another quarter in Europe, mainly Spain, and a third one in the USA.
I moved to New York in the late 90’s. As everyone that moves to New York, I thought I would just stay a couple of years, and then irremediably felt in love with the city and just became another Newyorker at heart.

New York has a ‘je ne se quoi”, or maybe they put something in the water, but it definitely has a different beat that makes you vibrate with the excitement of the possibitilies. A collage of architecture, art, business and cultures, it is a city that doesn’t leave you indifferent: either your love it or you hate it. It is a city for dreamers, you can enjoy anything your heart may desire, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to, but if you are not careful it can ask a high price for it. The career opportunities in New York are unbelievable, but striking a balance with personal life, especially in heart affairs, can prove challenging.

Tell us a little about yourself such as what you do for work etc..?

I am a very positive, open, curious and versatile woman; therefore, I have always been open to good and exciting opportunities. Therefore, my CV is quite broad and versatile, and not too boring to read about, I hope.

I have served as Head of Corporate Communication and Investor Relations of Banco Santander for the US and Latin America; Legal Counsel for Ernst and Young and Humanitarian Aid representative for Medicos del Mundo, (Medicins du Monde), and UNCHR in the former Yugoslavia. In search of a more creative environment, I then took a year vacation and started my own line of footwear and accessories , successfully placing my brand in all best Fashion magazines and more than 100 stores all over the US including renowned stores like Barneys, Nordstrom or the Four Seasons resort stores. Then, looking to share all that experienced to help other brands, I founded Coolture, a Consulting and Communication Company offering a broad menu of customized services designed to help companies in the growth potential in the American market, including the development of Corporate reputation through promotional and cultural event planning.

Nowadays, Coolture has found a nich in creating high quality fashion, art and branding events in cutting-edge private and public spaces, so that they are known globally and produce unique opportunities where ordinary people encounter authentic, ever-changing experiences in multiple forms and media.

I am excited to share that we have organized some critically acclaimed cultural, fashion and corporate events. Recent projects through Coolture in New York city include the Spain Art Festival: Video Art, Installation and Performance Festival in Times Square, New York; the Madrid Art Walk, Art Exhibition promoting the art work of the three larger museums of Madrid: Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza y Museo Reina Sofia, Grand Central Station, New York; numerous Art exhibitions and fashion shows for New York Fashion week, including Fashion Show for Preen, Terenxov or Project Runway winner Leanne Marshal; Follow the red, Soho Mile, exclusive fashion night out for renowned brands such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Camper, Custo Barcelona, Mango, Mascaro-Pretty Ballerinas, Tierra and Tous; the opening of Lladro store in Madison Avenue or the Rioja wines Tames the Flame consumer event in New York.

Nowadays, among other things and with all the accrued expertise I am excited to create and develop with my team, fun and successful events with solid content, blending business and cultural interests which often times we have the pleasure of shearing with Eurocircle.

Do you go back to where you are from often?

I love Spain and Europe. Life has a different pace there, a quality lifestyle which is usually lost in translation while living abroad. And mostly, there lives my family, which I love dearly and like to see as much as possible.

I have always been very lucky to combine work and pleasure, and I have always been able to go back to Spain quite often, two or three times a year.
Spain is a an amazing country, full of warm people, nice family style, with great entertainment, great weather, and great combination of quiet and social lifestyle at will. Plus you can hop on a plane or train and just be anywhere in Europe in a couple of hours to visit friends!

When is the best time of year to go to Spain?

The best time to visit Spain is… anytime. But it strongly depends on what you would like to do. For example, Spring and Summer is wonderful to enjoy all the great beach areas we have all around Spain! Marbella y Malaga, Puerto de Santa Maria, Valencia, San Sebastian, Santander, or any of the Islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera…
In the Autumn and Spring, a special and unexpected trip f you want to enjoy old and new experiences, is to do the Camino de Santiago, a beautiful pilgrimage trip through northern Spain. This trip, that can start anywhere you want, from the South of France to Santiago de Compostela, in the North west of Spain, will transport you to medieval times, since by foot, bike or even horse; with small or large budgets, will take you through beautiful landscapes, peoples and foods, but most importantly, through an amazing trip of the heart. http://www.santiago-compostela.net
In Fall and Spring or even Winter, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Segovia, Toledo, Avila, Pamplona, Rioja, Cordoba will take your breath away, and you would love the food too!
Finally, close to my heart and a true gem, is visiting the land of wine, La Rioja, the most renowned land of wine in Spain, is full of vineyards, monasteries, amazing architecture and wonderful people. You will be impressed by this blend of the old and new worlds, enjoying one of the best wines in the world paired with tapas to die for! http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/ciudades-pueblos/provincias/la_rioja.html
In any case, once again, feel free to reach us to Coolture Spain and we will help you sort out any questions you might have of Spain.

What are your favorite Spanish dishes? Where can you find great Spanish cuisine?

Spanish food is unbelievably good, both traditional and modern cuisine. In fact, in the List of best restaurants in the world 2013, 3 Spanish restaurants are in the first 10 positions. Article: http://www.theworlds50best.com/list/1-50-winners/
I love tapas, as in life my favorite way of enjoying food: a variety of small plates that gives you a broad range of wonderful tastes and options. I could give you a long list of favorite dishes, mostly in Spanish, including tortilla de patatas, gambas al ajillo, paella, jamon Serrano con tomate y pan tostado, croquetas…
But I believe the best would be to show you. May be we could organize a Spanish tapas expedition in New York through Eurocircle to show you exactly why food from Spain’s food is consider one of the best in the world these days.

What is your favorite music?

All of it, including classical and even if I can’t remember any names.I have to admit that if I find someone playing beautifully in the subway or any street, I would probably be late for my meeting and a few dollars poorer. But mostly, my favorite is the one I enjoy in Ibiza, where some of the best DJ’s in the world hang out, while you watch the Sunset or the Sunrise…

What if any are the misconceptions of Spain and Spanish people? What should people know about Spain such as Spanish culture vs what people usually think and know?

Spain and its people usually don’t market themselves as well as they should, so there are plenty of misconceptions. The best way to get to know Spain better and learn about all the wonderful things that had been happening there in the last 20 years, I would encourage everybody to plan a visit to Spain soon.

Recently, I had to prepare a lecture at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was creating a Spanish inspired competition for its students and had to motivate them speaking about our culture and art. I started to talk to them about some of our painters such as Velazquez, Goya, Picasso, Dali, Miro, Sorolla, and ended up running out of time… There is so much creativity, quality and beauty in our culture, that you just to come see to believe.

What do you think about the economy of Spain? Does it affect you?

The economy in Spain right now is in deep recession with a high unemployment rate. That of course affects me, since it is heart breaking to see so much talent wasted and such hard situation for so many people. Thankfully, the Spanish family is the best in the whole world: so loving, strong, so reliable and close, that they are the ones thanks to which things are not completely falling apart.

In any case, this tough situation, as many in life should be taken as a perfect opportunity for people to invest in Spain, both in their real state, their companies and its people. This strong land and it’s amazing culture and people will definitely get out stronger from this recession. It is a great opportunity to visit Spain and to invest in Spain, it is a sturdy country, with the best weather in Europe and so many treasures to be discovered, things will certainly get better.

What are the great groups/association from Spain that are located in NY?

If you are interested in getting to know Spain better, for business or pleasure, you can always reach us at Coolture Spain, a branch of our Coolture company, where we can always get some time to tell you more about this great country as well as get you in touch with the right people.
Additionally, I could recommend a bunch of good Spanish institutions based in New York, but as a sneak peak:
a. The Spanish Consulate, Cultural Department, where you can find out about all the cultural programming going on in the city http://www.spainculturenewyork.org/beta/cms/about/mission-cultural-department/
b. Chamber of Commerce US-Spain, private institution that organizes lots of great galas, and who can help you with questions about Spanish companies www.spainuscc.org
c. Gabarron Foundation, cool private art institution located in Midtown with very interesting art and event programming. www.gabarronfoundation.org
d. Instituto Cervantes, one of the oldest Spanish oganizations with interesting cultural Spanish and Latinamerican activities and moreover, where you can learn some very good Spanish lessons www.nyork.cervantes.es

Is there anything else you would like to share with EuroCircle members?

New York is a wonderful city, and should be thoroughly enjoyed. Don’t let the fast pace of its inhabitants deter you, once you break through, you can find incredibly nice, talented and warm people. Eurocircle, with magnificent Kaisa and Alex, is a wonderful open group that greats all new comers and will help you have a great start.
Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in New York and get them done! Don’t let for tomorrow what you can do today. You think you have plenty of time, till you realize is time to go. If you want to try new things, explore new career possibilities, reinvent yourself, this is your place. No matter how much out of the box or outrageous, no one will make fun of you because everybody is just a little bit bolder and forward thinking out here.
And no matter when you leave and where you go next, believe me, some of you will stay, and some of this crazy city will always be with you. For good or for better, you will forever be, a New Yorker.

Connect with Ana Calvo de Luis

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Coolture.book
Website: www.coolture-newyork.com
LinkedIn: Ana Calvo de Luis