To delve a little deeper, we’ve asked Joanna a few questions about La Aurora, Santiago and the Dominican Republic:
La Aurora is located in Santiago. Tell us a little bit about life in Santiago…
JL: Santiago is also known as ‘The Heart City’. It is a small but beautiful city located in the northern region of the Dominican Republic. Santiago is filled with art and culture everywhere; it’s impossible not to find something great to do day or night. Not to mention how great it is to be so close to friends and family – another perk of living in a small city.
From L to R: Master Blender Manuel Inoa, Juan ‘Tito’ Ventura (Director Of Operations) and Joanna Liriano
What was your job at La Aurora and what did it involve?
JL: At La Aurora I was a Commercial Analyst. My main duty was to analyze sales data and prepare different reports that provide the head staff with information about the business in terms of prices and margin of contribution. I also was regularly involved with the elaboration of marketing plans and the price assignation process for our new products.
There are over 2000 employees at La Aurora. Is it difficult to meet any of the León family or any of the other ‘big names’ within the company?
JL: Definitely not. One of the best things about working at La Aurora is that the organizational structure feels very horizontal, and everyone – no matter the position – is very accessible. You can feel free to knock on any door if you need to, even Don Guillermo’s office or to learn something from the great blender Manuel Inoa.
How do you feel cigars are associated with the culture of Santiago and the Dominican Republic?
JL: The tradition behind the Dominican tobacco industry runs deep and is impossible to describe within a mere sentence or two. We could start talking about the humble farmer that grows the tobacco to roll his own cigar or to make his Andullos, or the cigar roller who learned all about the job from his or her father or grandfather and works for a big company or maybe for one of the numerous small factories in Tamboril, Santiago. The fact that Dominican cigars have obtained such huge acclaim in the last decades makes me really proud, and even more so when I think of the fact that I come from the little town that made it all happen.
Hometown Proud: Joanna cloaked in the flag of the DR
How has your work at La Aurora assisted in your current position at House Of Horvath?
So much of what I know about cigars and the cigar market I learned at La Aurora. It also afforded me the opportunity to get to know many people within the industry and allowed me to contribute in many ways to the ongoing development of La Aurora. This experience has proved invaluable for my present position at House Of Horvath, as I continue to work with La Aurora and many other companies, and not only the Dominican Republic – but also Nicaragua and Honduras as well. Speaking Spanish and knowing the cigar industry certainly has it’s advantages!
Thank you for playing an ongoing role in making La Aurora available in Canada Joanna!
It’s my pleasure. I’m very proud to help import this iconic cigar brand from my home country.