Billionaire Luiza Trajano, the businesswoman shaking up Brazil

Sao Paulo (AFP) – Brazilian businesswoman Luiza Trajano has created it on to a great deal of lists: TIME’s most influential people today, Forbes’ billionaires, the major fortunes in Brazil…

But although she has been touted as a possible contender in Brazil’s presidential elections this 12 months, there is 1 record she says she is established to continue to be off: the ballot.

With the nation deeply polarized forward of October’s polls, “I want to unite Brazil,” not divide it additional, suggests the 73-12 months-old entrepreneur, who designed her fortune developing her family members keep, Magazine Luiza, into one of Latin America’s greatest on line retailers.

Not that Trajano, a home identify in Brazil, is shying from the highlight as the race heats up among significantly-appropriate President Jair Bolsonaro and his nemesis, leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Acknowledged for her trailblazing work promoting women’s equality, fighting racial discrimination and pushing to velocity up Brazil’s vaccination marketing campaign against Covid-19, Trajano states she stays engaged as at any time in this clutch election yr.

“I want to take Brazil in which I believe it must be, exactly where I feel it warrants to be,” she advised AFP in an job interview.

“I want to conclusion these deep divisions that are creating the place a lot of hurt,” reported the elegantly dressed businesswoman, a forceful speaker with an imposing character offset by her contagious snicker and vivid purple lipstick.

‘Different’ odyssey

A good deal of Brazilians would like to see Trajano get into politics.

With the small business sector and political center desperately searching for centrist alternatives to Lula and Bolsonaro, her identify was floated as a possible “third-way” prospect.

Brazil’s company sector and political center are desperately looking for centrist alternatives to President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva EVARISTO SA, Ricardo CHICARELLI AFP/File

There was also speak Lula could inquire her to be his working mate.

“I have been invited lots of instances (to run), including for president,” Trajano stated.

But she added she will not want labels, past the types she presently has: chair of the board at Magalu, as her organization is popularly recognised, and president of Girls of Brazil, her 100,000-member empowerment initiative.

“I’m nonpartisan, but political,” she reported.

That has not stopped Bolsonaro from attacking her as a “socialist businesswoman.”

Lula has meanwhile sung her praises.

When TIME named Trajano to its list of 100 most influential people today past year, the ex-president (2003-2010) wrote the magazine’s blurb on her.

“In a planet where by billionaires burn up their fortunes on space adventures and yachts, Luiza is focused to a diverse form of odyssey… setting up a business large when setting up a superior Brazil,” waxed the Workers’ Celebration (PT) founder.

But Trajano needs to be apparent: The PT has “under no circumstances” questioned her to operate for place of work, she mentioned.

Salesgirl to chairwoman

Trajano grew up the only kid of a modest loved ones in the metropolis of Franca, in southeastern Brazil.

She started off operating at 12 in the course of faculty trip, supporting out at the family merchandise keep launched in 1957 by her aunt, also named Luiza.

“I experienced the fortune to appear from a spouse and children of ladies entrepreneurs, who thought in the electricity of women at a time when most ladies failed to do the job outdoors the home,” explained Trajano.

Businesswoman Luiza Trajano (R) took the helm of Magazine Luiza in 1991, turning the business into one of the biggest retail chains in Brazil
Businesswoman Luiza Trajano (R) took the helm of Journal Luiza in 1991, turning the organization into a single of the greatest retail chains in Brazil NELSON ALMEIDA AFP

She took the helm in 1991, and quickly turned the business into 1 of the major retail chains in Brazil, with nearly 1,500 suppliers, and an e-commerce pioneer.

“I have damaged a large amount of beliefs that confined me,” said Trajano.

“I enjoy carrying out that.”

No slowing down

Trajano rejects Bolsonaro’s label of “socialist.” But paradoxically, the fifth-richest female in Brazil, whose fortune is approximated at $1.4 billion, claims she is no supporter of capitalism both, contacting it “savage.”

She prefers to focus on approaches to improved modern society.

When Covid-19 hit Brazil tough and Bolsonaro flouted specialist suggestions on containing it, Trajano mobilized a campaign referred to as “United for the Vaccine” that rallied private-sector aid for the community-health and fitness program.

Looking for to fight structural racism in Brazil, she released a trainee software at Journal Luiza in 2020 to recruit promising black employees — drawing equally applause and criticism.

Now she is placing her sights on such as more gals in politics.

Females at present hold just 15 % of seats in Brazil’s Congress. Trajano needs them to hold half.

She won’t run herself — but she’s not slowing down, both.

“I transform cycles, but I am going to under no circumstances retire,” she reported.