Liana Fuente: The Young Woman Behind A Personal Fuente Story
Liana Fuente is a name that is synonymous with the world of premium cigars. She is a fourth-generation member of the Fuente family, which is known for producing some of the finest cigars in the world.
Liana Fuente: The Young Woman Behind A Personal Fuente Story
Liana Fuente is a name that is synonymous with the world of premium cigars. She is a fourth-generation member of the Fuente family, which is known for producing some of the finest cigars in the world. Liana is the daughter of Carlos Fuente Jr., the current president of Arturo Fuente Cigars, the niece of Cynthia Fuente, and the granddaughter of Carlos Fuente Sr., who founded the company in 1912. Her great-grandfather, Arturo Fuente, started the Fuente family's tobacco business in 1912 in Ybor City, Florida.
Through her work and her advocacy for the cigar industry, Liana Fuente has become a respected and influential figure in the world of premium cigars. Her dedication to quality, tradition, and innovation is a testament to her legacy.
But who really is Liana Fuente…
Liana, to all of us, is known not only for her expertise in the cigar industry, but also for her humble demeanor. Despite her family's legacy and success, Liana has always remained grounded and continues to embody the values of humility and hard work. She is always approachable and willing to share her experiences with others. She takes the time to connect with people around her and is known for her warm and friendly personality. Liana Fuente is not just an expert in the cigar industry, but also a true role model for us all.
So, lets jump into her world…
SGM: Hello Liana. So nice to see you again. (Smiles) As a professional woman, do you ever see your personal sensitivities affecting your professional life? Tell us about it, your experiences & your feelings.
Liana: Unfortunately, society has a history of judging a woman’s sensitivities or sensibilities as if they were a weakness, and I certainly felt that when I first started out in my professional life. However, over time, I realized that there is strength in having a female perspective, especially in a setting that may be male dominated. I noticed or felt things that others didn’t, I was able to empathize where needed or focus on certain values or perspectives that may have been missing. Being a creative person also gave me certain abilities and an increase in my senses, which combined with my femininity, I noticed could be a killer combo when overseeing big projects or new ventures. Finally, I come from a family of very strong women who have overcome so much and taught me so much – and that “can-do” spirit has always been present in me as well.
SGM: Which were the most important challenges you faced & how did you empower yourself?
Liana: As a woman there are always challenges, but leaving my Vice President Role at Arturo Fuente was very hard. I knew I had to leave and risk it all to pursue my other dreams and opportunities.
SGM: What or who inspired you at the beginning and through your journey?
Liana: As I mentioned earlier, the women in my family – especially my grandmothers – were inspirations for me. They both faced so much, whether it was my maternal grandmother (Lidia) who had a husband put in jail during the Cuban Revolution and then having to live as an exile in a foreign land (USA) or my paternal grandmother (Anna) whose husband Carlos took over the small family business (Arturo Fuente cigars) and they both had to deal with those tough early years of the Cuban Embargo, Nicaraguan Revolution, long work hours, family separation, etc. – and they both made it. So, if they could survive all of that, then I surely could as well!
Of course, aside from these courageous women, my biggest inspiration and role model has always been by beloved grandfather, Carlos Arturo Fuente. Know my many as Don Carlos, he was the light of my eyes and the man who taught me so much. His work ethic, his dedication to both family and the business, his ability to get things done, was always something that I admired and looked up to. He was a man of great character and strong value system. I could spend hours talking about him because of our simply amazing he was – I will always look to him as my north star.
SGM: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Liana: Keep Swimming, handle the unknown, follow your dreams!
SGM: What advice would you give to the next generation who want to enter the cigar industry?
Liana: This is an industry built on passion, dedication, and hard work. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination – and if you think it is, then it’s probably not the best fit for you. However, if you have that love for cigars and the people who make it, if you can appreciate all that it takes to bring that beautiful stick to market, if you are excited walking the spectacular tobacco fields and enjoy the aroma of the factories, then you may have found your place. Just be patient, learn as much as possible, and try to be yourself – our industry and the people who enjoy cigars really appreciate people who are real, and unique, and who bring their own style to the table.
SGM: What are you most proud of yourself?
Liana: This is a hard question for me to answer since I’ve always been someone who is focused on the next project or event or exciting trip, and I don’t do a great job of stopping to smell the roses or contemplate once something has been accomplished. However, as I get older, I’m trying to do that more and more, and truly enjoy life as best I can. With that in mind, probably one of the things I’m most proud of is all the years I’ve spent trying to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer. I’ve unfortunately lost two very close family members to breast cancer, and since 2005 I have taken part in the annual walk and fundraiser which takes place in my hometown of Tampa. In total, I’ve probably raised over $750,000 and that is something I’m truly proud of, because it helps me keep my aunt and grandmother’s legacies alive within me.
SGM: Which is your personal vision & how “lianafuente.com” can be a vehicle for you to approach it?
Liana: After spending over 15 wonderful years in the family business and now being in my early 40’s, I wanted to try something new and hopefully accomplish some other goals in life. My hometown of Tampa has seen some amazing growth in the last few years, with thousands of people moving here and new construction projects going up all over the city. Real estate and community development has always been interesting to me, so I began purchasing properties and joining local non-profits and cultural groups, seeing how I could make a difference in my hometown. I’m still trying to work that out, but I definitely want to do things and take part in things that will be positive for Tampa, as well as help in the preservation of some of the great history this town has to offer. My family has been in Tampa since the very early 1900s, when my great-grandfather Arturo Fuente immigrated from Cuba, and I want to make sure we don’t lose any of that important history. Indeed, I recently purchased the oldest surviving Arturo Fuente cigar factory, located in northern Ybor City, so I could make sure that no one else would buy it and tear it down. My vision therefore is a saying I always use, which is “do something bigger than yourself,” and that is what I’m hoping to accomplish in the near future with all these real estate and community projects. And as far as my personal website, that is simply another platform where I can share some of my stories and continue to engage wonderful people all throughout world, especially those amazing souls I met in my over 15 years in the cigar industry.
SGM: Can you say a few words about the role of women in cigar industry; About these women who are not in the limelight, but their contribution is crucial and fundamental in the cigar industry.
Liana: Women have always been an integral part of the cigar industry. My paternal great-grandmother Christina helped her husband Arturo in the family business, as did my paternal grandmother Anna help my beloved grandfather Carlos. If you go to the farms or the factories, you will see many women who day-in and day-out give their all for this great industry of ours, and their hands take part in the intricate process of accomplishing seed to cigar. As I’ve said before, this is an industry filled with love, passion, and dedication, and you can’t fully have that unless you have women involved in every aspect of the business.
SGM: As a woman that supports the SGM, would you like to see any changes in the SOTL Global Movement?
Liana: My beautiful Anastasia…. Keep up the great work, continue the same path, keep sharing your passion, spread your enthusiasm and grow the community. Women need it and we all need it!
As we wrap up our interview with Liana, it's clear, for one more time, that her passion for cigars runs deep, but her love for family and community runs even deeper. Her dedication to carrying on her legacy in the cigar industry is evident in every word she speaks, and her enthusiasm for the craft is truly contagious. Talking about her own journey as a cigar enthusiast and a businesswoman, Liana has been candid, thoughtful, and engaging throughout our conversation.
But beyond her professional endeavors, Liana is a person who values relationships above all else. She speaks with great fondness for her family and friends, and the role they've played in shaping her life and her character. Her warm and welcoming personality is a testament to her commitment to building genuine connections with those around her.
Overall, it was a great pleasure to speak with you Liana Fuente. Your passion, dedication, and warmth are truly inspiring, and we look forward to seeing where your journey takes you next.