Stoli Brand Ambassador Fernanda Neves is in St. Maarten, where she will be training, bartending and spreading the word about the Stoli brand amongst other things. While on St. Maarten, Fernanda will be doing some market visits: checking the visibility, availability and distribution of Stoli products; looking at the market to promote the brand and teaching people about Stolichnaya Vodka, its origins, how it’s made and how to be creative by using Stoli in cocktails.

Neves also did some staff training at Caribbean Liquors; met with Stoli flagship accounts, held a live radio interview and did some guest bartending. Today, she will conduct a bartender training for interested bartenders from noon to 2:00pm at Melange Restaurant (Port de Plaisance). Lunch will be served. This evening will be the second Stoli Red pop-up party at Dirty Sanchez. Neves will do some guest bartending and there will be a Video DJ and a Stoli pop up bar with drink specials on the Stoli Moscow Mule and Lemonade. The public is welcome.

Neves tells us more about herself in this week’s Hot Seat.

Who is Fernanda Neves?

I am the Stoli Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Ultra Luxury portfolio of Stoli for Florida, USA. I was born in Bauru, Sao Paulo. I’ve lived in Miami for the past 15 years. I am a Brazilian natural with some Argentinian blood, who portrays both the distinguished Brazilian charisma and the well-known Argentinian determination.

Education?

I hold a Marketing degree from Florida International University (FIU).

When did you discover your love for the marketing and beverage industry?

I have always been an outgoing person who is passionate about everything I do. My family has a business background, so business is in my blood. But when it came to numbers, I always liked to interpret them not calculate them. So marketing was the perfect major for my personality and skills. When my family went back to Brazil and I decided to stay to finish college, I had to start working to pay my bills while going to school. The solution was to work at night in the food and beverage industry and study during the day.

How did you end up being the Stoli Brand Ambassador?

Before Stoli, I worked at Fontainebleau Resort, on the buyer side of the business. I was the official mixologist of the hotel, working at the Scarpetta outlet. I ended up being the Stoli Brand Ambassador after a friend of mine, who had worked for Stoli for five years, recommended me for a new position that opened up based in Miami.

What do your tasks entail?

My job is divided amongst two sides. The Global side, where my territory is Latin America (LATAM), where the focus is more marketing oriented. So I visit markets with the support of the local distributor and I follow the agenda prepared that ranges from Master classes and trainings with distributor, bartenders and buyers to guest bartending events, event appearances, radio/TV shows and media interviews.

What do you like about your job?

I like the versatility of my days. Every day my job is different. I am in different countries, meeting new people and exploring different cultures.

Tell us about your upcoming trip to St. Maarten?

This is my fourth time in St. Maarten, third for work. St. Maarten is definitely at the top of my list when it comes to the islands. Now when I come back, I feel like I’m visiting friends because I know a lot of people already and we always have an amazing time. My expectations are to spread Stoli knowledge and love while keeping a smile on my face.

I will be doing a lot of bartending trainings and two main events at Sunset Lounge at Papia, and the Red Night at Dirty Sanchez.

What would you like to say to encourage people to come out to the bartender training?

If you want to learn about global tendencies and the full Stoli portfolio while having a blast sipping on refreshing drinks, you must show your face. I bet I can have you trying some samba moves after you get the kick from the classic mules.

What special can be expected from you as a guest bartender at Dirty Sanchez?

I will prepare some classic cocktails with some exclusive twists, show different cocktail techniques and individually chat with each guest, answering questions and hearing feedback.

As someone who is always around drinks, what is your favourite alcoholic beverage?

Elit shaken martini with blue cheese olives. I like to keep it simple, classy and original.

What is your advice to others wanting to follow in your professional path?

Keep in tune with the trends, acquire knowledge, keep it positive and be persistent. As bartenders, we have the opportunity to meet a lot of people. Your contacts will be the best skill you have in your resume, so keep those contacts and know when to utilize them at the right time.

Future goals?

My personal goal is to eventually be able to balance my career and start a family. My professional goal is to reach a top position in the company and then start my own brand.

What do you do outside of your job?

Exercise. I love to do sports, run on the beach, walk with my dog and dance.

Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?

This is a hard one, because I feel like I’m very open with my life… Maybe that I learned how to sing in Japanese with my grandmother [laughs].

What is your favourite type of music?

I love music period. I like almost everything. It all depends on my mood. But I catch myself listening to a lot of Brazilian music, hip hop, and lately soca.

If you could invite three people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve them?

I would invite my two brothers and my boyfriend. I would serve them a typical dish from Brazil called feijoada, which consists of black beans cooked for hours with parts of pork like feet, tail, ear, ribs, served with white rice and farinha (yucca powder).

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