Jean Montalvan, a native New Yorker, currently serves as both the managing director of MADES (Malaga Aerospace, Defense & Electronic Systems S.A.) and senior vice president of AIAC (American Industrial Acquisition Corporation). His expertise includes management of complex international manufacturing operations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, financial analysis, and business development.
He brings strong international experience working in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and is proficient in English, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese. He holds a Zarb MBA with dual majors in finance and marketing, and a BA with triple majors in economics, political science, and liberal arts. He has also pursued advanced studies in International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Six Sigma, and Chinese history.
In addition to participating in a variety of extreme sports, he enjoys experiences like running with the bulls in Pamplona and is currently planning a Kilimanjaro climb. He has taught university courses in the United States and China, and mentored a number of international students, including Hofstra students, through the MBA admission, international relocation, and adjustment process.
Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to your current career?
I participate in all phases of mergers and acquisitions, but specialize in post-acquisition turnaround management. I am currently the managing director of MADES (a former Raytheon facility in Spain), which manufactures critical electronic systems for defense, aerospace, industrial, and medical device applications. I’ve also managed other companies in different sectors and countries, for AIAC, prior to this role.
AIAC is a NYC-based private equity firm specializing in acquiring distressed manufacturing units of Fortune 500 companies. It owns 60+ world-class plants in over 15 countries with over 8,500 employees and $1.2B+ annual revenue.
I kind of fell into this line of work out of necessity during the recession, shortly after graduating from Zarb around 2008. The fund of funds I was working for was being acquired and could not keep most employees onboard. Through my boss I met an AIAC “deal originator,” whose job was to find acquisition targets. I learned more about AIAC’s niche strategy, saw an opportunity, and made a strategic pitch hoping to create a job for myself. My theory was that Western markets were highly distressed, and that would translate into less consumption, manifesting into troubled Chinese companies ripe for acquisition. I moved to China originally focusing in search of acquisition targets, and found success in the international management and operations side of the business.
What is one piece of advice you would have given your younger self?
Study with passion and urgency. Don’t just do it passively to check a box and get a credential. Study as if your life depended on it. At least the quality of it does. Your competition is global, willing to do things most will not, and it is very hungry
Tell us a bit about your biggest accomplishment.
There is no substitute for the transformational power of living, working and learning abroad. I’ve been privileged to have lived in several countries across four continents, not to mention countless assignments in multiple cities across India, Thailand, Vietnam, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, France, Croatia, Costa Rica and many more. I’m currently helping with acquisition targets in Egypt, Algeria and Venezuela. For the time being, this corporate vagabond calls Malaga, Spain, home of Picasso and Antonio Banderas, home.
Not everyone can pick up and leave, and my mobility has been the most positive influence of my career. My first move was in 2009 to Xiangfan, China, seeking bluer oceans amid the recession. It was a calculated risk that has paid tremendous dividends. I haven’t stopped moving since. Along the way I improved my Spanish, picked up Mandarin Chinese, and began working on my German. There is no better way to integrate into a country, culture, and economy than by showing the effort of learning the local tongue. I’ve made friends in most corners of the world, lived in postcard-worthy places, and regularly crave foods that are high on most people’s gag meter. It’s been a great ride that I hope to continue indefinitely.
What are some of your biggest goals for your career?
It’s been said that if you can accomplish all your goals in one lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough. In the short run, I will be overseeing multiple international world-class manufacturing operations. In the mid run, I see myself as CEO of a Fortune 500 company or starting a niche strategy fund. And in the long run, maybe politics. Running distressed companies translates well into helping small troubled countries.
Are you about to have photos taken? Are you worried? This article is for you!
We know how nerve wracking having headshots taken can feel. You want to make sure you look and feel your absolute best, however if you've never had a professional photos taken you might not know what to expect. Well we've put some tips together to help you as confident as possible when you walk into that studio!
1. Ask Questions
A great way to alleviate any tension or nervousness is to figure out what is making you anxious about your photoshoot. Are you worried about what to wear? Worried about how to pose? Maybe worried about how you will get along with your photographer? We suggest making a list of all the things that have you feeling nervous about your session and bringing them to your photographer.
Say you are worried that your face will look heavy on camera. If bring this concern to your photographer before your shoot they can tell you about their process for making images as flattering as possible. This is also a great way to see how well you will get along with your photographer, which can alleviate any tension you have about the way they will direct you during your shoot. If they are unable to answer your question confidently or are not open to questions before your session this may be an indication that they are not the right fit for your needs.
2. Keep It Simple
When going into a headshot session, whether it be for business, acting, or anything in between, we recommend choosing hairstyles, makeup styles, and clothing styles that you know work well for you. Trying something new before a session can often add to anxiety about your shoot as you may not be confident about how it will look on camera.
If you want the added security that things will look as polished as possible, we recommend hiring a stylist for your session. They will be able to ensure your hair and makeup looks exactly how you need it so that all you have to think about is getting that great expression.
3. Know What You Need
You may be nervous that you will not get exactly what you need from your photoshoot. Maybe you're worried that you won't get the right expression or that the shots won't have the right feeling to them. Say you work as a freelance graphic designer and you're looking for something clean and professional but not very formal. Telling your photographer what you need can help them to guide you on what background, clothing, and expression choices will work well for your images. Or say you want to find more acting work. Knowing your type will give you the confidence to tell your photographer your goals for the shoot. That way, when you see the images throughout a session you will know what you do or do not want to work on.
4. Don't Be Afraid To Communicate
When we really think about it, a lot of the nervousness that comes with taking headshots comes from the fear that we won't like our images. Everyone wants their photos to be flattering and confident and show them in the best light, you're making an investment after all! A good way to alleviate this worry as much as possible is to keep an open line of communication with your photographer. Don't be afraid to speak up during a session if something feels uncomfortable or if you see something that you do not like. Often people feel as if they are not qualified to question the choices their photographer is making. At the end of the day you know what makes you feel the most confident, telling your photographer will only strengthen your shots.
Also, if your photographer does not show you the images as you are shooting, feel free to ask to see how things are progressing. Sometimes taking a look at an image and making one small adjustment will be the difference between settling for a shot or loving it.
5. Have Fun!
A huge way to help your nervousness about a session is to go into your shoot excited and with an open mind, don't take it too seriously! Collaborate with your photographer, listen to some great music, and embrace feeling like a model for a day. Especially if you are shooting with a photographer you trust, who you know is working hard to get you the best images possible, we encourage you to laugh and have fun with the session. The best way to get a natural, relaxed expression is to keep the mood lighthearted. Everyone can look fantastic on camera. We mean that! If you feel happy and confident, you'll look happy and confident.
So take these tips, collaborate with your photographer, and feel free to leave any questions you have about preparing for headshot sessions. Comment here or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
On Friday last week, Heidi and I had the great opportunity to again go and take free headshots for New Yorker's with disabilities. This time, I worked with the wonderful Xian Horn, who runs a company called Give Beauty Wings, whose aim is to help instill confidence and connect disabled New Yorkers with jobs. Xian, who has Cerebral Palsy herself, has a huge resume under her belt and is very involved with the special needs community. Her work is incredible; feel free to take a look at her website here: Xian Horn
I truly hope the headshots we did can help some of them find jobs, as a professional headshot on LinkedIn has been proven to increase your likelihood of landing an interview by an astonishing FOURTEEN TIMES.
Scroll down to see the photos we took.
Here are the headshots, I hope you enjoy them!!
Being that headshots are typically used to further one’s career, I hear a lot about people’s jobs. What they do for a living, how they got into it, and what they like/don’t like. One thing I’ve learned is that a person’s overall happiness is definitely affected by whether or not they enjoy job. Here at the studio we’ve encountered people who are getting headshots because they are going down a completely new path, with a different career in their future. Here’s an inspiring story about how it’s never too late to follow your heart.
When I first started working here at City Headshots, I met someone who’s story has always stuck with me. Louise Heller came in looking for some headshots, and I had the opportunity to do her makeup and work with her on her shoot. As I was doing her makeup, I began asking her about her acting career. It turns out that Louise was on her sabbatical - she’s an English professor here in New York. She told me that when she was growing up she loved acting, and wanted to pursue it as a career. Her parents, on the other hand, urged her to look into a more conventionally successful career that would offer a bit more stability. Louise followed her parents advice and said that although she enjoyed teaching, her passion has always been acting.
She told me that while on her sabbatical she was really diving into acting, and following what her heart has been telling her this whole time. It was so refreshing to hear her story; there are so many people who fall into a career just because they hear “the money’s good.” Forget the money. Forget the plan everyone else has for you. It’s never to late to change your path in life.
What's on your bucket list? Comment below or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
I’d say about half of the time, when a client first stands in front of the camera they ask “Am I supposed to smile?” or, “What should I do with my hands?” It’s funny to me, because they don’t realize that in a minute we are going to give them so much direction that they know exactly what to do. Here’s a short list of things we adjust throughout the shoot:
We show you the images as we’re shooting so you can tell us “I like this one… let’s go more in this direction.” Don’t be afraid to experiment in your headshot session. At the end of the day YOU get to choose the final image (and you’ll have a TON to choose from). Speak up if there is something you’re not crazy about, but also be willing to go out of your comfort zone to get what you’re looking for. It might feel weird/silly/strange, but you’ve got to trust the process! We’re not happy until you are.
"New York, I love you, but you're bringing me down."
There are days for us city-goers when life can feel overwhelming. I take head shots for all kinds of different people, from real estate agents to stage actors to linguists to non-profit organizers to CEOs to writers to engineers. When I speak to them about living and/or working in the city, I hear pretty much the same thing from most of them, and it goes along the lines of "Man, New York is so great, but sometimes..."
We all know what that "but sometimes..." can means.
Sometimes long hours.
Sometimes crowds, sometimes tourists.
Sometimes rough times with friends or coworkers.
Sometimes the hardship of being away from family.
Sometimes mice found in apartments.
Sometimes rude people on the subway, sometimes not enough sleep.
Sometimes the cold, the heat, the rain, the noise, the lights.
Sometimes that question in the back of your head, "what's so great about [enter personal lifelong dream]? Is it worth all this? Why don't I just move back to [enter home state] and work a normal job and watch normal shows before I go into my normal bed? Why don't I live somewhere where I can see the stars?" (This is what they look like, in case you forgot.)
But then we go go go, we keep going and keep pushing and don't say no and never stop because we're New Yorkers and this is why we're here and we're fighters and we'll make it work, just make it work, just keep going.
I watched an extraordinary independent horror film called It Follows last week. It's the story of a supernatural being that will literally never stop following until it catches up with you. You can run, you can hide, you can drive to somewhere all you want, but eventually, it'll find you.
What an amazing allegory for anxiety. For sadness.
No matter how hard we work, how hard we keep pushing ourselves, those thoughts, those "sometimes" and "what ifs" will catch up with us. If we don't face, if we don't deal, they will become as scary as the "thing" following the characters in It Follows. Anxiety and sadness sometimes exists, it won't just go away.
So what if we acknowledged it?
I love New York. I love my life here. I consider myself lucky to work at City Headshots, to do what I'm able to do and be who I am, however imperfect that is. And because I love it, believe the Art of living in New York includes acknowledging the moments when it's hard to love. Not pushing through the moments, not soldiering on, but taking a second to recognize that to be brave is to be present, not to be fearless.
When we don't acknowledge the difficulties within ourselves, we become less sympathetic to the difficulties of others. Then we contribute to a New York that brings people down.
We can be compassionate in this city by being self-aware and self-caring. By never losing our sense of humor. I genuinely wish this on every headshot client that comes in looking a bit tired, a bit worn-down, a bit strained from the pressure of being a New Yorker. I genuinely wish this for you.
Now here's a clip of Elmo in Hamlet. You know you're not too busy to watch!
x Lee Ann
As a makeup artist, I can never look at a movie, TV show, magazine or photo the way that others do. The first thing I see is the makeup application and what is either great or not so great about it. I’m constantly analyzing my work along with other artists. Everything from the eyeliner to the undertone of the foundation… and I’ve been seeing one face in particular that I’ve been meaning to chat about.
One person I’m fascinated with in the public eye is Donald Trump, and his signature orange skin tone with the pale white underneath his eyes. He almost feels like a caricature because his look is so… unique. Now, a makeup artist in show business only has a couple of minutes for “male grooming” which is basically just a more masculine way of saying “camera-ready makeup and primping for men.” I’m talking 10 minutes to get the job done, only equipped with as many items you can carry in your little on-set bag. Often times you’re also stuck doing makeup in dark, uneven lighting backstage.
Some people have speculated that the “oompa loompa” look that the presidential candidate sports is due to relentless tanning bed visits, some say it’s a consecutive bad makeup job. I’d like to believe the former. Regardless, I’d like to talk about how to correct it using color theory.
Here’s what you do: take a look at the color wheel to find the color that is opposite to the color you want to get rid of. You can cancel out or neutralize any color by applying the opposite color right on top of it. In Donald Trump’s case, he has a bright organge/red tone to his skin. I would mix some blue/green into his foundation and lightly apply enough to neutralize the skin. To even out the eyes, I would take a concealer that matches his skin tone (not the stark white naturally found underneath his eyes) to blend everything together. Either way, his look is very signature and memorable, which maybe works in his favor as someone in the public eye.
Comment or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
After a cold New York City winter us New Yorkers come out of hibernation and find that we fall in love, once again, with the small and overpopulated city we've all chosen as our home. In the winter photos are isolated to holiday events all indoors and all bundled up. When the summer sun re-enters our orbit we're all outside taking selfies pretty much anywhere, occasionally hitting someone in the head with our selfie sticks and blocking the way for the endless crowds that are constantly rushing to get to some unknown destination. Doing makeup and styling for headshots in the summer can be a blessing and a curse. Shooting outside in the summer provides bright vivid backgrounds, full of green foliage and bright blue skies.
However, as I'm sure you know, summer in NYC can get too hot very quickly and it can show in your headshot've noticed many of our clients often show up drenched in sweat caused by waiting in the sauna that is our Subway system and the constant level of heat and humidity caused by the skyscrapers that surround our location. I thought I'd include some tips to look cool, and keep cool, when getting your headshot and hopefully your can apply them to your summer selfies as well!
1) Bring your outfit with you.
This is a big one. Try wearing something comfortable to your session and bring the clothes for your headshot with you. This way the clothing stays crisp and clean and you don't have to worry about any sweat stains showing up in your headshot. This is also a good way to keep cool as wearing a suit in 90 degree weather is a nightmare.
2) Blotting Papers/Powder
A great wear to keep down the shine is to have powder or blotting papers. Powder can help to "mattify" the shine caused by sweat and make sure you look dry and cool in your headshot. Sweat can cause white "hotspots" on your skin that can be distracting and are often a little more difficult to get rid of in retouching. We have a lot of powder here in the studio so even if you haven't booked a stylist on your shoot you can always ask us for some!
This applies to your selfie game as well. Many women keep powder on them and while it can be a little daunting to the fellas out there. You can pick up blotting papers, these are thin sheets that when pressed to the skin can soak up grease and sweat, at any drug store and just use one if you're feeling a little greasy. These are also a great way for ladies to keep their makeup looking fresh without overpowdering.
3) Keep your hair out of your face
For ladies you may be getting your hair blown out prior to having your done and while it may seem silly, a hair net may be your best bet of keeping your curls without them falling due to humidity or heat, if you have more of a straighter styling you may want to clip the hair out of your face, avoid using elastics to keep the hair out of you're face as this can cause and indent in your hair.
For the fellas some of this applies as well, if you are comfortable, try to keep to your hair slicked back and out of your face. This will also help with keeping cool. Also the more contained the hair look, the easier to maintain during your shoot. We can always dab off any sweat around your hair line, but sweaty straggly hair does not look good on camera.
How do you stay looking and feeling cool in the summer?
Comment below or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
We can't stay away from what we love. And neither can J.K. Rowling, who just dropped the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the new play about our favorite witches and wizards, only this time as adults, that premiered at London's West End last night. This addition to the Potter canon is the first in nine years, and I can't help but recall the last time there was a Harry Potter release...
I came across this photo of myself on Facebook today, sitting in my home town's Barnes & Noble after receiving my fresh copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21st, 2007. My old friend captured the moment of me opening the book, heart fluttering, with the bittersweetness of recognizing a series emblematic of my childhood drawing to a close. I was wearing the yellow plastic bracelet that got me in before other nerds; I wore a buttoned-up flannel shirt similar to the one I wore to work at the studio on Friday; my bangs were too long and constantly got in my face; I had burned the part in my hair from that summer's beach trip; I hadn't yet finished high school, or gone to college, or moved to New York, or moved in with the love of my life, or even close to figured out who I was and what I was supposed to be doing with my energy and time.
Pictures of ourselves can do that, can't they? With a glance, a wormhole opened to a memory, one branded into my mind by the iron of knowledge that life would continue, it would always continue, and if I was lucky I'd be able to look back years from that memory and recognize it as a good one.
Pictures of ourselves are powerful. Headshots project an image of our best selves to others. Snapshots snuck between turns of a page can later return us to truths-- Harry Potter is great, our adolescence is as fleeting as his, and we need to preserve the sweetness, the joy we found in our youth in whatever ways we can.
Remember the potency that a single picture of yourself can possess. Capture the moments in your life that you will want to look back on. Goodness isn't found only in the past; it's there, right before your friend's Nikon.
x Lee Ann
Using an iPhone (or any camera phone, for that matter) will obviously not guarantee you'll get a super professional shot but applying these tricks will definitely give you a usable headshot you can work with until you can afford to shoot with a headshot photographer for a more high-end photo.
There are a couple main things to keep track of:
1. Make sure the lighting is good.
2. Make sure your expression is good.
3. Make sure it's been retouched so the background is blurred or not distracting.
So now let's go into detail about each one of these things:
How do you get great lighting with a camera phone? Good question. The most important thing to remember is directionality of the light. The direction of the light means essentially, from where is it coming from? Is it coming from directly overhead? Is it coming from below the subject? Or in front or behind?
My recommendation for a good headshot is to shoot it indoors in front of a window. Have the window directly behind the camera so the light fills in your face. Make sure whoever is shooting you stands with their back to the window, and you point towards them, so that all the light from the window fills in your face.
The other benefit to using a window light is that it's very soft and won't create harsh shadows. Soft lighting is important for headshots because it softens the features and looks more flattering for the face.
The tagline here at City Headshots is: "It's all about expression." Because a genuine expression is actually one of the most important aspects of a headshot, and in many cases, even more so than the lighting of the photo. If your smile is fake, you won't connect with the viewer and the shot won't be memorable. It will feel forced and because people won't be able to connect to you, they won't trust you.
A headshot should establish trust, credibility and experience. Trust is vitally important and can only be formed through a genuine expression of approachability and warmth.
So how do you get a real smile in your shot? Just laugh. Look at the camera and start laughing! Make sure your chin doesn't tilt up to high though. If you look at the photo and don't like the angle, try a different angle but still laugh. Don't just smile, actively laugh. I'm serious! If you don't your smile won't look real.
3. Professional Background
Just as important as the lighting and expression, the background of your headshot must also look professional. If you take a photo with a camera phone, because of the small sensor size, chances are the background will be completely in focus which means that the image will subconsciously scream "unprofessional!"
Make sure if you're taking the photo yourself that you either shoot against a wall with no distracting texture or pattern, or you retouch out the background and out yourself on a more professional backdrop. You can also choose to have the background blurred out so the focus is more on you and the image looks more professional in general.
So there you have it. Three things that must be present for a headshot to look professional: Soft lighting coming from the correct angle, a genuine smile or real expression, and a professional background.
Fortunately if you have the first two taken care of, we can actually retouch your image here at our studio for a good rate to make the background more professional which can give the headshot a more polished look for your LinkedIn page.
Remember, when you take a headshot yourself it's no substitute for a professionally shot headshot by a photographer with the right equipment who specializes in headshots, but it can certainly work in the meantime until you can afford a pro level photo.
If you are interested in learning how to shoot pro headshots, take a look at this book: