Adolfo Hernandez knows the value of foresight, vigilance, and teamwork. Even when he’s not at the helm of a global company, he’s undertaking adventures that demand those same qualities.
In 2013, he and a crew of nine others sailed a Swan 55 called Northern Child across the Atlantic—from Gran Canaria off the coast of Morocco to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. They completed the race in fourteen “very interesting” days.
“It was a great experience to really know the meaning of being in the middle of nowhere, being outside anybody's reach, being totally disconnected. To experience what “dark” really meant, and to see all sorts of nature, from whales, to dolphins, to flying fish. To have to fish for what you eat.”
Hernandez and his crew would take three-hour shifts to stay sharp: “Pushing yourself beyond your physical boundaries. You can only be concentrated and strong in three- or four-hour shifts. You go around the clock to make sure that every day you get different shifts. One day you get the dusk shift and the next day you get the dawn shift, and vice versa. Fitting sleep in between.”
Hernandez says he sees a lot of parallels between sailing and business. “Sailing is about plotting the right course that balances speed with the distance to be covered; it’s about optimizing the performance of every crew member in their respective jobs, making sure that everyone plays their role, and that they work well as a team, and that you take some calculated risks when you see the opportunity.”
“Also similar to business, sometimes offshore sailing can be very intense with darkness, speed, storms, swells, and accidents, and it’s critical to be well prepared and to have the character and confidence to deal with these situations. Finally, winning and achieving is a great feeling in both business and sailing.”
Hernandez's career waypoints have taken him from director and SVP positions at IBM and Sun Microsystems early in his career, to Alcatel-Lucent, where he eventually became EVP & President of the Global Software, Services and Solutions Group. He then spent two years as CEO at Acision, which was acquired by Comverse to form Xura in 2015. Hernandez joined SDL in April of 2016.