Antenor Teixeira Neto
From: Brazil, Salvador-Bahia.
Age: 26 years
Activity: Marketing Manager – Northeast Brazil at AB-InBev.
Music is my passion. I was born in Salvador (Bahia, Brazil), one of the world’s music capitals, where Michael Jackson recorded “They don’t care about us” with Olodum. Our culture influenced me in some way that I decided to learn how to play drums at 12. What I didn’t know is that it tells more about me than I would expect.
Strong dedication. The drummer is the first to arrive and last to leave, with an extra mile of commitment to deal with a complex set of pieces.
I’m son of Antenor Teixeira Filho and Adeilda Mercês Oliveira. If my story was a song, the intro would start when I wasn’t born yet. As well as many other families in Brazil, my grandparents had to overcome poverty during their childhood and education was the only way out. They thrive over their huge efforts, even dealing with tough social conditions. That’s a core value I bring all my life: strong dedication. Whereas my parents had better conditions, they focused a major part of their resources into my education, what allowed me to compete for broader career paths and made me strive to compensate all their work.
Open mind for new references. Musicians improve their performances based on new connections.
While I did well in chemistry and mathematics, I also dreamed about producing something that people would see in the markets, buy and use in day-to-day life, so Chemical Engineering seemed to be the direct match. Then I thought: it sounds a bit crazy buy why not to try the best university in Brazil? A few months later, I arrived at UNICAMP (University of Campinas) and it looked like a dream. Ironically, Engineering was what I learned last. There were so many different people and things to do, that in the very first semester my mind was blowing inside three student organizations.
To make the group better than its individuals. Drummers deal with a complex set of separated pieces that will turn into a powerful instrument together.
All of these groups expanded my mind, knowledge and connected me to a bunch of brilliant minds that taught me a lot. I started to understand that there is a huge universe of possibilities to work on and shape how the world is gonna work in the future. Actually, I was almost addicted to these groups and challenges, which were highly distinct. From a child education NGO, helping on finance and management, to a junior enterprise where I became president, triplicated revenues with my team, when we were awarded as management excellence model in São Paulo. From a consulting challenge (Bain & Company), presenting for a real CEO, to a business modelling competition, using UNICAMP patents from scratch, in which we were awarded with a giant cash check similar to what we watch on TV Shows. Great stories and learnings. Again, all about mind expansion, great people connections and future vision.
The ultimate experience was allowed by a government sponsorship, to be an exchange student at UNSW (Sydney, Australia) in 2015. Even more diversity of cultures, accents and lifestyles. I joint a Chinese group for a startup competition, where we piloted a new type of vending machines, selling soft drinks based on variable volume. We made a cardboard box as our MVP, carrying and selling bottles in public parks to validate our value proposal (the customer was actually served by one of us behind the box). Working with an extremely different team and living one year in a developed country was an intense life learning with so many aspects compared to Brazil as an emerging one. That made me and my colleagues think about the immense opportunities and duty we have to improve conditions.
To set the rhythm. Drummers drive the dynamics of themselves and the group, leading through the path, ups and downs.
Back to Brazil, I started my career in improvement engineering at Dow Chemical Company, in order to practice what I learnt at University. Despite the incredible colleagues and projects, I missed the excitement of market dynamics, creating new strategies to adapt to the future. That’s when I joint Insights team at AB-InBev, working close to market trends strategies that have big impact on the business. A year later, I went back to Salvador to work in the regional marketing team.
I always asked myself: will it work out? An engineer in the marketing team? Turns out I had the best years of my yet short professional life, delivering all time high results with my team. We have changed the shape of marketing strategies, closer to consumers, being present throughout the entire year with relevant campaigns and initiatives. That makes me really proud: to be closer to the people, understanding and participating on their culture journeys.
The combination of engineering, marketing and entrepreneurship motivates me to build legacy and shape the future in some way. Why not to connect a big brand to promote and create a pipeline for low-income artists that didn’t have opportunities in the past, due to biased music producers and media channels? Why not to work on big data to better understand social preferences and offer better services and products? At the end of the day, it’s not about an exact milestone in the future, it’s about cutting edge transformation improving peoples lives. I’m right about two things: first, there will always be a blank space to reach and second, if there isn’t, well… I still haven’t expanded my mind enough.
From: Monterrey, Mexico.
Age: 21 years
Activity: Entrepreneur and college student.
For many years I believed that you can be as successful as you want to be if you put in the work and the persistence to achieve your dreams, but lately I have realized that in many places this far from the truth for the average men. In my beloved country, I have seen a lot of things; injustices, abuse of power, violence, discrimination, and racism and surprisingly, I have also seen that the people that have less are the most generous and always make time to give a helping hand.
That is why I take really personal the fight to give better opportunities for the less fortunate. I strongly think that in order to change my community I have to prepare myself and give the best of me as a student, entrepreneur, leader, son, brother and friend, to be ready to take on big responsibilities when the time comes.
My family is from the small city of Monclova, Coahuila and I currently live in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, which is the best city for young entrepreneurs. We have always been from the working class, but my parents taught me that persistence, integrity, and hard work can open any door. That is why even though we don’t come from much I have gotten scholarships to study abroad, take classes at the MIT and at The Wharton School and to get a full scholarship to study at one of the best school centers of Mexico, The University of Monterrey where I am majoring on Economics and thanks to the education that I am receiving I have been able to start a successful business and export products all around North America.
On my philosophy I think that if I am given opportunities and blessings, I should be a bridge to give others the same chances that I got. That is why I take a big role on organizations that help and try to improve their community, I have founded, participated, and take leadership roles on organizations like Rotary International and Techo Mexico. Nowadays I have a directive position at an international organization named PROVS (Programa para la Vida Sustentable), where we work with the United Nations, governments, and universities to empower refugees, native populations, and people in vulnerable conditions all around the world.
I don´t know what the future holds for me, I certainly have a notion of what I want to be doing, but life is so unpredictable, and things can change in a matter of seconds. What I do know is that I am quite optimistic of where the world is headed.
I see a much freer world, I see the end of inequality and injustices, I am sure that we are going to figure out a way to provide great education for every kid in the world, good and enough food for every family, medicines and a health system accessible for every man that is sick, governments with better policies that ensure that no one is left behind, businessmen that care not only about profit but the impact they create on the communities and thanks to innovation and technology our creativity is our only limit.
And even though I don’t know where I am going to be on the next years, I know I want to be one of the persons of this generation that leads to these changes and I want to invite you to be one of them too, because we are all rising stars as long as we understand that our purpose shouldn’t be to accumulate wealth or have power but to help people and take action on what the world needs.
Cecilia García Pimentel De Palacio
From: Mexico City, Mexico
Age: 24 years
Activity: Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, currently working in Human Resources
It is tough to write about oneself without sounding conceited and I guess it is hard for you to read the text of a stranger. Therefore, I will try my best to relate to you by using my own words and my story. Before you read my text, I want to let you know that my native language is Spanish, so there might be a language barrier.
My name is Cecilia García Pimentel De Palacio, I have always been told that my last name is surprisingly long, and yes, it is. Not every Mexican has three last names. This endless chain of really long names started when one of my relatives joined both of his last names, thus generating a name as long as mine. In addition to my long name, what defines me as a person is my love for literature, psychology, languages, animals and succulents.
I am twenty-four years old, and I just finished my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I am currently working in Human Resources at a big company. Nevertheless, my real motivation is writing, I would love to become a writer and I am working on it. I already published some poems and a foreword, and I am currently editing my novel which conglomerates certain aspects of my life and my culture. I love being a Mexican, that’s my favorite quality of myself.
Even though I have a passion for writing, right now, I have to work in order to have stability in my life. That is another trait that defines me, stability and structure. I do not have the soul or strength to give up everything in order to become a writer, and that makes me feel unhappy every other day. I think that every person holds on to something while living in order to feel safe, I feel safe having an ordinary life.
I was born in Mexico City, and I currently live here in a yellow house with my two cats, Sam and Galadriel, both names taken from the famous text “The Lord of the Rings” written by J.R.R. Tolkien, my favorite author. I also live with my siblings and parents, you may think that I am very old to be living with my parents, but in Mexico children live with their parents until they get married.
Furthermore, I suppose I have to talk about my country, because we all become our own culture when we grow up. What I really like about my country is the food, the sense of community that we have and the love that we share for each other. Have you ever tasted a “taco” with spicy “salsa verde”? Have you ever been taken care of by a Mexican “nana” or nanny (a word that in “náhuatl”, a Mexican tongue, means mom)? Have you ever had a really good Mexican friend or “compadre”?
I know what you are thinking, I think that too. We do have a lot of issues in this country, poverty, insecurity, corruption, hate, racism, and so on. These negative traits make me really sad, and I try coping with them every day, but every time I hug or laugh with my fellow countrymen, I feel at home.
If I am being completely honest, I would say that I belong to the small number of Mexicans who have had opportunities in this country and if I have achieved anything in my life is because of that, not solely because of my efforts. This situation makes me feel a lot of impotence because the difference between me and the kid that sells candy in the streets is pure luck. I hate when people say, “they are poor because they want to, not because they have to be”, this phrase really upsets me.
Moreover, I am sorry if I made you feel any uncomfortable emotion, I truly am, and I want to tell you that I understand what you are going through, if you live in a country like mine. I have been thinking my whole life about the current situation in my country, and I have had many thoughts, frustrations, and activities related to this. But I realize that the best way to overcome this was by being empathetic and loving with every person I encounter in Mexico, I am trying to transmit this emotion to every Mexican that feels bad, different or insecure, I know it sounds a little irrational to say that this insignificant action is the solution, but I see it as my own rebellion against this unfortunate situation.
I would love to say that I have a bigger plan or a solution to all of this, but after putting a lot of thought into it I realized that my way of giving back to the world has to do with my own perspective of life. In the only situation I feel completely safe is while reading a book. Every author I have read has given me something to hold on to such as hope, love, a hug, a smile, an emotion or just words, simple but authentic words. This is what I want to do. In gratitude to my favorite authors, I want to make one person feel safe and secure, regardless of their external situation, by reading one of my poems and texts. I am putting a lot of effort into being as authentic as possible in my writing, in order to connect with someone, even if it is just one person.
Finally, I really want to thank you for reading me. I hope you enjoyed this small conversation with a Mexican stranger I truly wish you find your own path in your life and recommend you visit my country because it is beautiful, and we have the best food in the word.
Bruno Azzalin Gobbo de Oliveira (Bruno Gobbo)
From: Curitiba, PR – Brazil
Age: 22 years
Activity: Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering
Chapter about the work and travel opportunity (2017)
I had this dream of working at Disney and one day I happened to hear that Disney was actually hiring Brazilian to work there for the winter vacation (November to February). I spent a lot of my time trying to learn as much as I could about this program and what I had to do to be chosen.
I applied for the job and then attended the job interview and there it all became real. This was when I began to panic and my anxiety took control: I couldn’t even try to think in English. The interview was in little groups (3 candidates top) and as soon as the interviewer asked my name, I broke. I couldn’t even remember my name. When I got out of the interview I already knew that I didn’t get the job.
I picked myself up (it wasn’t easy) and understood that something had to change if I wanted to get it. The first step was try to understand why my English broke in the interview and what could I do so it wouldn’t happen again. The answer was: exchange program – Work and Travel.
I applied and attended to two job interviews and then I got accepted to work in a beach resort in Florida (which was close to my Disney goal and not so cold). This was a big win – get accepted in your first option after all that.
Some months after that I got a call from my exchange agency telling me that the Irma hurricane devastated the city where I was going to work. They obviously had to cancel the program and I had to attend to another job interview to try to be reallocated in the program. This other opportunity was in North Carolina in a ski resort as a lift attendant. I got accepted again!
This experience helped me improving my English. Besides that, the work place was great and I truly believe it was where I had to be. I’m not saying that a tragedy like that happened because I had to choose another place to work. All I’m saying is that sometimes life makes a mess and we don’t really understand why, but soon enough it shows us that we had to learn something with it.
Chapter about the second try (2018)
Back to Brazil, I got an Internship opportunity that helped me to apply everything that I was learning at the university, which was great! Then I applied for the Disney program once again. This time I was more confident that it was my shot. In the interview my anxiety took control, but this time my English didn’t break. I just couldn’t stop talking – in not a formal way.
After a couple of months I got the result: standby list. This was much worse than get eliminated because I still had a chance – so never lose hope – but it was almost impossible to happen. This took about three months until they told me that it wasn’t the year yet. Would I give up on the second try? No! This is my dream and I had to try it again. I just had to understand what I got wrong in the process that I could to do better.
Ok, I had the English part right, but there was something missing. When I realized that, I went to therapy to understand more about me and what could I do to avoid losing control in anxiety situations.
Chapter about the dream (2019)
After three years I wouldn’t lose hope. You know what they say: third time is a charm, right? Once again, same process: applied to the job, attend to the job interview.
In my interview day I felt the anxiety trying to take control many times, but now I was confident that I did everything that I could, if it was meant to be, I would get in. I could see the difference between 3 years. I got in!
Believe me when I say that I am thankful to every “no” I got in all this mess. The opportunity was perfect: I got the job that I wanted in the place that I wanted. The people that I’ve met there are like a family to me and I’m so thankful for meeting them – which wouldn’t have happened if I got accepted in my first try.
What I understood in the process
I understood that in every “no” you get from life you either have two choices: stop and accept it (which might be necessary depending on the case) or understand the reason why you’ve got your “no”, change, improve, get better and try it again. There’s no other way. Einstein used to say that it is dumb to do the same thing twice expecting two different results.
There’s one thing that may be tricky: you have to dream little dreams before achieving a big dream. If you dream a big dream, you’ll eventually get tired of trying to achieve it because you are not even looking to the minor achievements you’ve got in your way up. No, I’m not saying that it’s easy because it’s really not. On every “no” that I’ve got I thought of giving up.
What about the after dream?
But what no one tells you is that when you accomplish your main dream, you have to live after that. And this can be REALLY hard. Does that mean that the best part of your life is now in the past?
People must have some kind of hope for better days to keep trying to improve. People have to dream so they don’t just survive, but live! Sometimes you have to understand that what is in your past leaded you to where you are and the past won’t come back. Don’t forget: the beauty of life is that you can start over many times to get where you want to be.
Who am I?
I am a person who will never stop dreaming of changing the world into a better place and won’t give up trying to help people seeing things through the better side. This may be through politics (big dream guy) or through my stories. The truth is that I still don’t know how I’m going to do it, but one thing you can be sure about: eventually I’ll get there. If I gave someone hope to keep perusing his/her dream, I think that I’ve already started doing something here.
The world a better place
It will be a better place when everyone gets the same chances of being successful. When everyone gets hope of better days and are allowed to dream and accomplish that. It will be a better place when everyone is treated equal. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Until then, baby steps.
David Jahel Bonilla Sánchez
From: Quito – Ecuador
Age: 26 years
Activity: Currently studying a master in Natural Hazards and Risks in Structural Engineering.
My name is David. I like to se myself as a person that treats others kindly. I really enjoy seeing people happy and being able to make them happy fills me greatly. That is something that motivates me, the people. I would like to be able to help others in my country in any way, that includes giving employment, teaching and sharing the little knowledge and experience I have. I have been blessed with many things in my life, family and opportunities and it is only fair that I retribute and give some good things back to the world. I share this vision as well with my wife.
Some things about me, I am a civil engineer and I come from Ecuador, a small but beautiful country located in the center of the world. It is a place with much to offer. I am really fond of it, it may not be perfect of course, it is a still developing country, but development has to start somewehre, and every little help counts. I love Ecuador because there I was able to meet my wonderful wife Grecia. I also love it because of its nature, food, and people. I have to say that I am also grateful to my country professionaly speaking. Because of public (free) education I was able to study and get my Bachelor in civil engineering. And it is one of my dreams to help in the development of my country, especially in the structural engineering field.
For some context, Ecuador is located near the boundaries of the South America and Nazca tectonic plates, hence, it has a high earthquake danger. The 7.8 earthquake that struck in April, 2016 showed that most structures are not earthquake-resistant. There were almost 700 fatalities, 17.000 people were injured, and more than 80.000 people were left homeless. I feel really sad about it, because engineers are the ones responsible for preserving life by designing and building safe structures. That is the reason why I am very motivated to learning and acquiring higher technical knowledge and practical skills to further contribute as a professional structural engineer, in public and private projects, and as a university professor of the new generations of civil engineers. Finally that is why I came to Germany in 2019 pursuing a master degree and I will be graduating this year 2021.
When I was 8 years old, I was very fortunate to see how my house was being built. That was the house where I spent most of my life before coming to Germany. I clearly remember the experience of watching the excavation process, rebar bending, and concrete casting all the way through the finishing of construction such as wall paint, floor tiles and windows. All that early exposure really inspired me and made me want to study Civil Engineering and become a professional in that field. I became truly passionate about construction and everything related to structures.
In my early years, I did several things related to the structural field. For instance, when I was a kid, I wanted a tree house so I built one myself using tree trunks as the structure, wood planks for the floor, ropes for the connections, and palm leaves for the roof. Another thing I built was a zip line between trees using a thick rope, a pulley, and a swing seat. I also built a wood platform so one could get down from the tree. In high school, my graduating project consisted of bridge history and basic technical aspects about them. I had to present my project to a jury, and I also made a scale model of a cable-stayed bridge for complementary explanation.
During my university years, I was part of a training program for construction workers, in which I taught them about earthquakes and structural concepts. I also took part in some important structural projects as a structural plan drawer. These projects included buildings, households, and a water treatment plant. I did my Bachelor’s thesis in the use of alternative materials such as bamboo and adobe bricks to build earthquake-resistant structures. The project got published in the International Review of Civil Engineering – Praise Worthy Prize Journal, the title of the article is “Study of bamboo physical properties and its application as reinforcement in adobe structures”. Furthermore, I gave a local conference about it at Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas – ESPE.
Before coming to Germany I worked in construction as a steel structures controller. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work on the field because I was able to share my knowledge with construction workers I came across so they can have better structural practices regarding earthquake-resistant aspects. I worked in many building projects and I had a lot of responsibility. In this job I was able to learn so much, it helped me understand structural engineering practices better, and I was able to make some important professional connections.
Finally, my expectations for the coming future are to obtain more enriching experiences in my time outside Ecuador together with my wife and then, after we return, to apply the things we have learned. Also I will keep studying an improving professionaly as well as personally. I feel optimistic that me and my wife will be able to have an impact in our country for the better, it may be hard, but we are up for the challenges ahead.
From: Mexico City, Mexico
Age: 27 years
Activity: Working as a Social Media Editor for Cosmopolitan Mexico, Studying Digital Marketing Master’s Degree at Universidad Latinoamericana
I’m Emma, a 27 year old mexican lady with a passion for literature and writing. I love learning different languages and different cultures, specially because I grew up in an international environment. I learned how to read when I was 3 years old and I wrote my first story at 4. During my school life I studied English as a first language, French, German and even Russian. After graduating from highschool I decided to pursue studies in languages and cultural management, even though they have a bad reputation in Mexico because they “don’t pay well”. I studied and finished my degree with a Diploma on Diffusion and Teaching of Spanish Language. After finishing, I struggled to find a job that would let me write, so I ended up writing for free for some publications in Mexico and also working as an English-Spanish and viceversa interpreter. Almost a year after graduating I got a job as a Community Manager and Content Writer at Cosmopolitan magazine (owned by Televisa) here in Mexico, where they would pay me so little I basically had to pay them to go to work. I grew rapidly, worked 14 hour shifts and wrote articles for Cosmo and all of the other magazines in the same company. Eventually, I moved to another publishing house but always ended up coming back to Televisa. At the moment, I’ve written and/or collaborated for the print and/or digital version of Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, National Geographic and other publications. I opened my own site this year and now I’m also writing in English for an international media company called Secret Media Network, creating tourism content for New Orleans and Charleston.
My ambition has basically come from pressure from my father, who has always supported me and my own pride, trying to prove that I can make a living from writing. My biggest motivation has been my mom and her female-lead family.
Up until this point, the biggest challenges I’ve had to face are:
- Low wages in the editorial industry
- No freedom of speech
- Long work hours
I think that Mexico is a very sexist country. Working women are always fighting to close the gender pay gap, but sometimes it feels like things will never change. Most of the leaders of my company are men, and these men usually bring other men to be leaders instead of letting any of the women grow. My father is also an example. Caught in a chauvinistic home growing up, he’s continously fighting with the fact that he has a daughter and he wants her to be independent and his own sexist thoughts. On one hand he has encouraged me to study and work, and on the other hand he’s never really trusted that I could be succesful just because I’m a woman.
Another big problem is that anything to do with culture and the arts in Mexico is unjustly underpaid. Writers in other countries can afford to live a good life. Here, most of my work collegues need 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. There is no work-life balance.
On the other hand, I’ve met fantastic people along the way, working women who have trusted me, men that have empowered me. Work collegues that would make me learn everyday and that would make me want to grow as a professional.
I’m proud to have so much professional experience, all based on my talent, considering that the editorial industry is full of influence peddling. I’m also proud to have made Cosmopolitan Mexico one of the most inclusive publications in the country, with women of all shapes and sizes, LGBT+ friendly, creative and fun to read. Finally, I am most proud about being 100% independent by doing what I love the most: writing and telling stories.
I plan to grow my own website in the future. A website directed specifically for young, modern women that also believe they can change the world. However, I want my articles to be friendly and interesting for everyone: LGBTQ friendly and a platform for talented writers, artists, etc. My dream is that creative jobs in my country will be valued and sexism will be left behind.
I think story-telling always makes the world better. As a reader, you put yourself in the shoes of the writer, becoming empathetic. As a writer, you use the magic of words to engage your reader. I hope that at least some of my articles touch people’s hearts, make them feel identified and understood, and maybe, they can make them open their minds to things they’re not used to.
Enrique Ugalde Campo
From: Mexico City, Mexico
Activity: Master’s in Global Business and Society at Yale University
Hello I am Enrique, currently studying a Master’s in Global Business at Yale University. However, my journey has been far from traditional; for the last 10 years I had been playing volleyball at a High Performance level. When I was 13 years old I was recruited into a sports program in Tijuana, a city that has been classified as the most dangerous in the world for several occassions. From a very young age I started to live away from my home and my family, a signal that I was willing to do whatever it takes to achieve my goals.
While I was in this sports program I had to live, eat and train in a sports center; needless to say, life was tough. However, later in my life I discovered that I was getting the tools necessary to pursue my later goals in life. During my 5 years in this sports program I became independent, determined, disciplined, ambitious and competitive. Fortunately, we won every National Championship that took place during those 5 years and I became a member and team captain of the Mexican National Team. During my years in the National Team, we competed in 2 World Championships and got a two-time second place in Continental Championships. Furthermore, I ended up in the Top 15 players in the 2013 Boys World Championship. Growing up as an introvert was tough for me, I always thought that this was going to be a major obstacle in life. Yet, this did not stop me to get what I wanted and being the leader of a National Team. At this moment I realized that I needed to throw my insecurities in the garbage can.
During my stay in Tijuana, I negotiated the creation of a scholarship program for a men’s volleyball team at the city’s most prestigious high school (CETYS); getting a team of national champions in exchange for top education seemed like a fair deal for me and it was. Although I was extremely invested in my athletic career I did not forget about my academic preparation. After my 5 years in the sports program, I decided that I wanted to focus more in my academic and professional career. However, coming from a middle class family made it clear that studying in Mexico’s top institutions was out of my possibilities without a scholarship; so, I continued to play volleyball in order to afford my tuition. Although my priorities had changed, I extended my sports career for another 5 years in which I was fortunate enough to win 2 University National Championships, be recognized as the Most Valuable Player in one edition and receive the Best Student-Athlete award at my University.
While I was studying my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at UDLAP, I enrolled in the University’s Honors Program. I conducted research about the effects of global warming in the northwestern part of Mexico and, after 2 and a half years of research, I published my findings. Even though it was hard to balance my academic and athletic career I was able to graduate on time with Honors. Even though I joke a lot about being a genius this is not the reason why I was able to achieve this. The real reason why I was good at both activities had to do with the dedication and effort that I allocate to each activity. I did sacrifice hours of sleep and I did push myself to the limit for a couple of years; however, I think that the result was worth it. After I finished my undergraduate studies I started to pursue another high goal, studying a Master’s degree in business at one of the best universities in the world.
Ambitions & motivations
I decided to pursue a master’s in business at Yale because of the scope of the subject. During my stay in Tijuana and other cities that I got to know, I realized that governmental programs were not
having the desired effect in empoverished communities. My country, just like many developing countries in the world, has a serious problem with corruption. I think that the private sector should play a more prominent role in Mexico; I hope to apply my business knowledge and experience in favor of Mexico’s most disadvantaged people.
The men’s high school volleyball scholarship program that I helped to create has now been expanded covering both male and female players up until postgraduate studies. This is an example of how the private sector can help with social movility; although graduating from a prestigious school does not guarantee being rich, it can give individuals much more opportunities in the early, and late stages of their careers. Being proactive, having strong credentials and assembling a team of capable people were key in the creation of this program. In the future, I would like to replicate the effects of this program on a much larger national scale.
Obstacles and aids
Undoubtedly the most evident obstacle that I had to face in my career so far has been corruption. In Mexico institutions that receive public funding do not have any kind of accountability. During my career as an athlete, corruption in sports institutions was rampant and wide ranging. From direct appointment of players by the upper levels of the Volleyball National Federation to covering sexual
harrassment scandals between coaches and players. One major reason why I decided to retire from a very young age from the sport was this kind of incidents. All of the players that are members of the Mexican National Team know that the institutions behind it are extremely corrupt but there is no counterbalance for such institutions. Furthermore, some players are indifferent to the scandals; as long as there is an immediate benefit to them then everybody is happy. I believe that toxic environments like this are an obstacle for everyone that encounters them.
On the other hand, I am extremely grateful for the existence of athletic scholarship programs in Mexico’s top universities. I believe that without these programs I would not have the opportunity to be writing this now. Education is the very foundation of societies and, for all the structural problems we have in Mexico, it is nice to know that if you excel at sports you have the opportunity to pursue a better life.
Of course, the sports program that I was a part of was also extremely helpful to get the opportunities that came later in my life. I wish there were more programs like this and that more people knew of their existence.
Hopes for the future
Having visited most of my country and known people from multiple social standings changed my perspective about Mexico. Disparities between social classes are enormous and they range from education level to race; in my country it is stil a tabu to talk about our structural problems regarding inequality. Racism and sexism are deeply embedded in our culture and, from my experience, most people are not aware of how widespread the problem is. Even though there is a strong correlation between skin tone, sex, average income and labor opportunities, there is no public debate about this. Furthermore, it is difficult to create programs that address the disparities in our society if the average person is not aware of this. I hope that social media provides the opportunity to make
these subjects known among the population which, in consequence, could spearhead the creation of aid programs.
I hope that this global wave of nationalism that threatens to divide and put out societies against each other wears off. I am determined to cooperate on these two issues.
Francis Eduardo Domínguez
Age: 24 years
Activity: Management Master at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
My story begins in a little country placed in the middle of the world, Ecuador. In the heart of South America, right next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, I was born in 1997. I grew up without a father but with enough family to cover his absence. He had to leave to Spain when I was 3 years old due to the sequels of the 1999 Ecuadorian crisis in which due to inflation the value of our extinct local currency “Sucres” decreased to a frenetic rhythm until an untenable point, the president decided to adopt the USD as our new official currency with an exchange rate that vanished most of the savings of the people.
My family as many others was affected but I never saw it break. With a heritage of increasing professional development, the goal of everyone who was taking care of me was to see me achieve a successful future. This professional development is a collective set of efforts, the one my great-grandparents (farmers) did to give education to my grandfather, he became an engineer when the default in the countryside was working in the farms as the only possible future. The effort my grandparents did leaving the countryside to study at the capital, being financed by sporadic jobs they took and parallelly raising and providing education to my mother. The effort my mother did raising me without a father, renouncing a neurosurgeon career to see me grow and ultimately supporting me in every path of my university life.
Everything I am and I have is thanks to them, and I see humanity just like that. The development of our society has succeeded thanks to past efforts and discoveries that have allowed us to enjoy a new technological experience and construct a fairer society.
As for my academic life, I graduated as a “Commercial engineer” in the International University of Ecuador (UIDE) where I occupied the “Secretary of investigation and development” position in the Student Council 2017-2019. It allowed me to organize events with national and transnational companies, create useful clubs for the community, represent our students in multiple national assemblies as well as harassment cases, etc.
This experience showed me two important facts:
- Corruption is rooted and normalized in every political position, with private entities becoming an ally in these actions.
- I want to change that.
I realized that since systematic corruption is powerful and in order to grow in politics in Ecuador you have to compromise morals and values, I should ideate another path to be part of politics. So, I chose to make a career in the private sector, gaining enough money to pay for my political campaign and private security (corruption has taken a lot of lives in Ecuador) and changing the whole system, adopting politics of transparency, penalizing corruption harder, and setting a new cultural standard of what’s not acceptable in a society of progress.
This is a future plan that I feel like no other person could carry because I have witnessed how easy it is to corrupt humans. Hopefully, I will not need to apply it and focus mainly on marketing, entrepreneurship, and innovation which are the topics I feel passionate about concerning my practical life. However, when I have long term economic stability and if the country has not changed, I will focus on studying majors in public administration, social and economic development, so I can make Ecuador a better place.
University life also gave me the opportunity to practice my French skills, I traveled to France for my Erasmus. Studying a semester at IESEG school of management allowed me to get involved in extracurricular classes about Healthcare administration and philosophy and meet people that I fervently think will be the leaders of tomorrow.
When I came back to my country, I knew I needed another international experience, the cultural exchange is priceless, nothing compared to what I had seen before as a founder member of the International Students Club (CEI) at UIDE. Hence, my two last years I made everything to build my future, worked on one of the most important banks in Ecuador and then in an Immigration service agency from Canada, as well as publishing an article on an important indexed magazine and writing a 170 pages business plan about a digital event organization company. My goal was to have the skills to enter the best universities in Europe.
I graduated at the pandemic and in front of my computer, but I could not care less about it. I am alive, studying at Ca’ Foscari a program that I love, and living in my favorite city in the world, Venice. My future depends on me, but it will forever be a merit of my family. I am ready to construct a better society for humans in the future and will forever be thankful to the ones that made the effort to carry us all to progress.
Iñigo Fernández Guerra Abdala
From: Mexico City, Mexico
Age: 22 years
Activity: ’m Sustainable Development Engineering undergraduate student at Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores Monterrey. I’m also a part time entrepreneur, developing a tele-psychology platform.
My name is Iñigo. Early in life I came in contact with triathlons, a sport that changed the way I see life. In triathlons, one has to develop goals, establish plans for achieving those goals, be disciplined to follow these plans and most importantly, keep enjoying the climb up. Moreover, being born in a family that has given me opportunities to travel, educate myself and have the necessary support to achieve my goals, I came into the realization that I have the responsibility to help those who are not as fortunate as I am. Having said this, I can characterize myself as a person with a strong sense of discipline and social responsibility.
In my life I have ambitious goals. The main driver behind these goals is the desire to give back to a society that has granted me the opportunities to be where I am. Being born in a country enlivened by great social inequality and having had the chance to receive an education; it is my obligation to create opportunities for those who did not had the chance to receive scholarization. Beyond this sense of social responsibility, building a better version of myself and striving to grow and develop as an individual, motivates me on my day to day.
So far, I have had a great journey, coupled with challenges and adventures that have contributed to build the person who I am. A remarkable challenge that I surpassed came after an earthquake in 2017 that stroke my country. People were killed and families were left without homes. Driven by a great sense of responsibility, I set the goal of helping 20 families to rebuild their homes. As a first semester undergraduate student, I had no resources nor any specific skills to do so. What I did have, however, was the support of my loved ones and a great drive to help the families that were affected. Together with my brother I was able surpass all the necessary challenges, that led me up to date, to establish a non-profit organization that has built more than 40 houses for those in need.
Being completely honest, I can say that there is no specific factor that has hindered me. I can talk, however, about a factor that has contributed in in my development. This factor is the help and guidance that more experienced people have given me. From developing an entrepreneurial project, to preparing myself for interviews at a consultancy firm, my path has crossed with people who have been nice enough to give me advice in areas I do not have much experience.
A specific achievement I’m proud of was to get accepted for an internship at an MBB consultancy firm, after several months of hard work and preparation. Looking forward to my goals for next year, I want to learn to balance the different areas of my life, once I start working at the consultancy firm; and I want to score 720+ in the GMAT exam for preparing a great application for an MBA program at Stanford University.
I hope I can contribute to build a better Mexico and have a family to share with the different pleasures of life. Though I do not have everything figured out on how to build a greater country, I do have some direction. In Mexico, as in many other developing countries, life outside the main cities is dull and with low opportunities. It seems that the development and prosperity that characterizes the big cities, can’t spread around the country. Lack of access to financial services, education, entertainment and even something as essential as health services, are aspects one cannot find outside the big metropolis. It is with this dream to establish a company that can do something to improve the life of those living in rural areas, that I will contribute on creating a better world. Now, it is important to recognize that I do not need to create a company to start changing the world. I’m certain that simple gestures of amiability, generosity and even solidarity with others, can impact the people whom I have the fortune to cross paths with.
José Luis Madrigal Sánchez
Age: 19 years
Activity: Computer Technologies Engineering Student
First of all, I want to start with a phrase that’s in my daily life, which is “Passion and Perseverance is the perfect combination for success”. So, my name is José Luis, I was born in Mexico, Tabasco, on December 3, 2001 and nowadays I live in Mexico City. Throughout my entire life I’ve known the importance of hard work and taking care of my responsibilities and this is because of the education that my parents gave me. Although I don’t know what it’s like to be desperate for financial problems like many people in my country, I understand that things aren’t usually given on a silver platter, you must get them by yourself. I consider myself a person who likes to help others, who gives his best in every activity, who feels motivated for his achievements and who tries to make a positive impact on his community. Taking up the initial phrase, passion and perseverance are the concepts that are kind of a base for my life, because I do the things that I really like, but at the same time I push myself to be constant, because wanting isn’t enough, as I said before, each one must achieve their own goals, but of course, it’s not bad to have support from others. Since being a child, I’ve been academically outstanding, this gave me many important values and my sister has been a great example for me to keep going. I want to clarify as well that I know that good grades aren’t enough to be successful in life, so now that I’m studying my career, I’m trying to complement myself with other things to make a good reputation, but I think that each one makes its own path, because someone can tell you that if you’re some kind of a nerd, it isn’t good, but it’s just about taking advantage of your capacities correctly and trying to get skills in different areas. Therefore, there have things that impulsed me to achieve my purposes, one of them is my family, because they’re the ones that gave me the example of being a good person and my friends motivate me too, because I had similar dreams with some of them and we share great experiences, but I want to say that the perspective of myself in the future drives me too, because I define what I really want.
Right now my great ambition is to finish my career related to computer science in Tec de Monterrey and to get a job in some important technological company. Most of my challenges had been in the academic aspect, honestly my country didn’t influence in that, but I had to study a lot and organization was very important too, but being in an expensive or highly recognized school has nothing to do with it, in fact, my dad mentions that he was only in a private school when he was very young, because my family lost their businesses, but that didn’t stop him, he improved each day and gave me the life I have, I always remember that he usually tells me that he wanted a better situation, but he knew he couldn’t get it in just one day. But some goals that I reached were in sports, in secondary I played Basketball and I was able to win with my team the school tournament with a lot of training. Recently I was able to get my certificate in Goethe for the level A1 in german and I’m very happy because I get to know other languages.
I have to say that living in Mexico doesn’t have an effect on my achievements but I know that opportunities here aren’t really available for everyone, so my dad has been improving a lot in the workplace throughout the years so he can give me good education, of course I try to help him with scholarships, now I have the one for academic talent, another goal that I think was pretty hard to get, but the point is that he usually gives me the best, so I know I have had a lot of opportunities, I’m not saying my life is totally easy, but I think my path isn’t as harder as the one of many people in my country. In some years, I’ll be searching a job and compared to other Latin American countries, it seems there are more companies here focused on my career, of course in specific states, that’s why living in the city helps me, but the fact that Mexico doesn’t influence in technology can affect my goals, so honestly I have considered to move to USA for example, because even if it doesn’t have the perfect politics, it has better services, security and salaries, but maybe I’ll stay in my country, it will totally depend of the job that I’ll get, because as I mentioned, I have the opportunities and I just need to use them, but I don’t forget that others are competitive like me. Accordingly, I want to go to an exchange in Germany and be able to work for a summer in Silicon Valley, these experiences can help me to have a better resume, and I practice boxing as well, so it would be great to win some competition.
I have to say that the situation of Mexico is complicated, because corruption has affected us a lot but right now politics is just getting worse and we have more social problems, but I really have that dream where we all have justice and peace, it won’t be easy but I think that the mexicans are very united, we really help each other and we don’t give up easily. I think Mexico has a lot of potential to be one of the greatest countries in the world, maybe not because of its technology, but in terms of science and ecology we can do many things, I think in the future we will be among the best countries on the usage of renewable energies, we really have many resources. But I can help to make the world a better place, of course I’m very interested to do it with my area, I think computers can help us a lot but the thing is that for companies, ethics isn’t as important as making money, for example, social networks have a lot of problems with data and privacy, so I want to influence in that. I would like to create great apps and develop processes that can help the people but at the same time I want to give more moral bases to technology, it’s just about teaching values and changing business models, of course my current knowledge isn’t enough but I constantly learn new things. I just want to impulse tech-advances but without hurting people or taking advantage of their data without their consent, so we can be in an environment of trust, even virtually.
Joaquín García Ackermann
From: Lima, Perú
Age: 22 years
Activity: Economics Student.
My name is Joaquín García, I was born in Lima, Perú in 1999. I studied at the S.S.C.C. Belén school, with a catholic foundation, where I had the opportunity to learn 2 languages (besides my native language, spanish), french and english.
I’m currently studying economics at Universidad de Piura, an Opus Dei university, I chose this career because it allows me to understand all the doubts I once had about the behavior of society.
I love to play the piano, 1/3 of the day I’m on it and that’s because I was born with an ability that allows me to enjoy music at a higher level; absolute pitch.
Returning to the academic subject, I have worked in the finance area of Luz del Sur, a leading company in energy distribution nationwide, work of which I am proud and I hope my knowledge and skills have contributed to the company. I have also worked in JRZ Valuaciones, a company that values real estate of all kinds and there I was able to learn a lot about real estate.
My current ambitions are simple; finish my degree, get a job that I like, contribute to my country for its improvement and have a happy family.
I hope, from my position in a Latin country, to be able to make this world better in terms of promoting the values that are being lost; love for family, love for oneself, and love for your country, collective well-being must be the engine of all our ambitions, that is what will make us happy at the end of our lives.
José Ricardo Cantú Aguilar
From:Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico.
Age: 20 years
I currently study two careers:
The first career is a Bachelor of International Business at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León.
The second career is a Bachelor of Administration with an emphasis in Tourism Management at the Citizen University of Nuevo León.
Hello everyone. My name is Ricardo Cantú and I am currently a university student, I have 20 years old and I speak 5 languages (spanish, english, portuguese, italian and french). I’ll be honest with you, I have always considered that qualifications do not always measure the intelligence and creativity of a person since each one of us performs our goals in different ways and using different skills that at some point in our lives we come to discover, my qualifications they have always been eighties and seventies and sometimes also nineties; Despite this, I had the opportunity to be a student at CIDEB, which is considered the most prestigious public high school in Mexico.
I was born and currently live in a city called Monterrey. Contrary to what people outside of my country think, Mexico is not really a country as poor as many can see in series and movies, in fact there are large and medium-sized cities with a good quality of life although with a Mexican touch; However, it is clear that problems such as insecurity, poverty and corruption are really important things that unfortunately have not improved in my country.
In the case of my city, Monterrey is considered one of the richest and most developed cities in Latin America since it is also considered the most “Americanized” city in Mexico, of the more than 5 million inhabitants that my city has, so only 0.5% of the population is homeless and 13% is considered “poor” while on the other hand there is a large percentage of millionaires who live in areas like San Pedro Garza García. Like other countries, in my city there are skyscrapers that exceed 200m and 300m in height and we have great works such as the 4th largest square in the world and the longest artificial river in Latin America. Even in my city there is the “Tecnológico de Monterrey” which is considered one of the 5 most prestigious universities in Latin America and one of the 30 most competitive private universities in the world.
Why am I telling you this? Because I had the privilege of being born in the richest city close to what many would call “first world city”, that title was achieved thanks to the values that all the inhabitants of my city and my state instill in them from a young age, in my city the values of saving, education and especially work are always present. Our city was born as a small village located in a semi-arid desert, disconnected from the rest of the country by large mountains and with a climate that prevented us from producing food and water, we could not trade with other states or countries because we did not have the sea or minerals. And because there was a fiscal pact that is active to this day where most of the money collected by our state is sent to the capital of Mexico to supply the financial needs of the capital and the rest of the money is sent to less developed states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca or Guerrero.
Only with hard work were we able to get ahead and those values passed from generation to generation to this day. In my case, I was born into a middle-class family that, since I was little, always motivated me to start a business and be someone in the future; However, there has always been the problem that in a country like Mexico there is the saying “He who does not cheat, does not advance”, that has been my greatest challenge since I am not a person who is willing to achieve my goals thus, and for that very reason, I have lost great opportunities in my life that other people did take advantage of using that phrase.
Despite this, I have always looked for a way to stand out in some way. Since he was a child, he always sought to do different activities such as studying, playing music, practicing swimming and acting in different plays; At the age of 13 I managed to be an exhibitor at a national science event simulating tornadoes in the air using water, boxes, fans and a lot of dry ice, at the age of 15 I began to go to various economic events and entrepreneurship conferences in order to know exhibitors and businessmen from my city and my country and to give me advice not only on how to start a business and keep it afloat, but also on life in general. At the age of 17, entering university, I became director of the Mexican Institute of Executives and Finance, which has a category of university students; finishing my one-year term, I had the opportunity, together with a team, to organize the “LIDERA National Congress 2019” which was an annual event held by the institute in order to motivate university students to start their businesses and help our country, I was really proud of both myself and my team and the entrepreneurs who were willing to support us since together we managed to obtain an audience of 2,100 people who came to Monterrey from all the cities of Mexico and who, at the same time, was considered the congress with the highest audience in the history of the institute.
Nowadays, I work as an intern in a multinational company, but at the same time I write a book to help people learn portuguese in a simple way and I work in an app and a small news center where I will seek not only to attract more tourism to my city and therefore greater economic income to the businesses of my city if I do not also seek to help citizens to learn a little more about all the positive things in my city; I feel that among so much bad news that our newspapers give, there must always be another side of the coin that gives people hope for a better future.
My goals, like most of the world, is to create successful companies and become a millionaire; However, since I was little, it has always been instilled in me that money is not everything and that it is nothing if it is not used for good, so my main objective is really to use my money to improve my state by helping to build houses for the homeless, supporting local businesses to grow and financially supporting people to obtain a college degree as well as learn more languages other than English and Spanish.
If I’m honest, I would never give money to people who need it, since in Monterrey there has always been a famous phrase given by one of the most emblematic businessmen of my city (Eugenio Garza Sada) that says “Don’t give money to poor, give work and financial education and only then will you increase the quality of life of a people “.
I know that the road will be really difficult but I have the support not only of my family but also of my friends to one day not only be a successful businessman but also be an example for future generations and thus make my country a reference. world of how a country can completely change its situation as countries such as Germany, China or Singapore did at the time.
Juan Carlos Martínez Castillo
From: Quito – Ecuador
Age: 21 years
Major: Chemical Engineering
Minors: Industrial Engineering and Environmental Engineering
Organizations: AIChE President and founder of the Student Chapter of Chemical Engineers at USFQ
Right now, I´m a 21-year-old senior of chemical engineering doing a double minor. To my fortune I can study that career with a 100% scholarship because I got the second place in a National Contest of Chemical Engineering. Moreover, I am a black belt of karate and I have won several National and State Championships in the area of Kata. Also, I have won some National and State Championships in athletics on 60m and doing long jump. Above that, I have been playing the piano since I was 6 and as the years went by, I auto educated myself in the harmonica so I can play a song with the harmonica and the piano at the same time. About my final years of school, I came up as the second-best student of my class and the best score of my class at the International Baccalaureate (IB). Right now, I´m the President and one of the founders of the AIChE Student Chapter at my University (USFQ) and the alternate treasurer of the Student Government in my university as well.
The first thing that people think of me when I told them all that I have done is that I´m really smart and that I´m probably a genius. However, I have to say that is not true! During my life I have encounter with really genius people, the ones that sleep during classes and do not study at all and at the test they get a 100 score. I´m not that type of people! I´m the one who has to take notes, the one that has to do some extra research to understand a topic, the one that does a lot of exercises before the test and with all of that I finally can get a good score. I´m not different from anybody. Actually, the fact that I don´t understand things at first, second and third time is one of the things that has helped me to become a really good tutor. A lot of people has told me that, that I explain things really good, but the thing is that they don´t know that I have done a lot of research to simplify things and because of that I can make everyone understand the hardest topics in a couple of minutes.
A lot of people usually ask me how I do all these activities and the answer is that I have an amazing family. I know that my country does not has the best education in the world, but with the sacrifice of my parents, Juan Carlos and María Isabel, and my sister, María Isabel, and all the people that surround me I have become the person who I am know. I still remember that my mother after taking me out of school, she used to take me to karate, athletics, and piano classes. Even though, she was really tired she used to take me there and she sleep at the car waiting for me to finish my activities. Also, right now I don´t have time to do some household activities but my parents usually help me with that. So, it´s not the job of one people, it´s the work of a loving family that helps you and that prays to God for you.
About the people that surround me, I have been really blessed. My coaches and teachers were really patient with me. I still remember the nights that we used to spend practicing karate with my coach before my first National Championship of Karate. He was giving me the family time that He has so my Kata looks excellent. Also, I still remember of my piano teacher who spend his last 15 years of life making me fall in love with music. We used to spend hours and hours at night at the piano, so the song that I must play at the contests is marvelous.
But even if you had an amazing family, friends, and teachers wouldn´t be enough. As I said early, I´m not a genius but I´m a passionate person that is addicted to perfection and that mix is what has made me stay in my activities for years until I succeed. I still remember when I was 7 years that used to cry a lot when I lost in a Championship of Karate but after a lot of years, I finally got a spot on the podium. It was not the first place! It was the second, but it was enough for me to keep trying to do karate until six months later I became the National Champion of Karate and all the glory finally came.
With all these experiences I have come to some conclusions of my Country. The first one is that there is corruption everywhere and with that is difficult for people without contacts or resources to succeed. Sometimes at athletics the people selected to participate at the National Championship were the ones that had some connections with some authorities. Also, at my High School, some students that their parents were friends of the teachers had the opportunity to participate at contests and other students that did not had that type of relationship couldn´t get to participate at contests. That is really a big problem that we have because the doors get closed for you before you participate. The solution that came to me is that you must do the things by yourself. For example, the National Chemical Engineering Contest is done every year but my teachers didn´t participate, so I had to go to the University and fill out the papers so I can participate (Actually, If I hadn´t done that I wouldn´t be studying at the University that I´m studying). But sometimes you cannot do anything to overcome the corruption and that is one thing that ended up my career in athletics.
Also, by doing tutoring sessions and getting into contact with people from all around the world I have realized that the education in my country is really bad, sometimes even at University level! I have realized that when I was at my last years of High School, so to overcome that I had to quit athletics, karate and piano; all my passions since I was a child went away! Every single day I was with a Chemistry book reading, at my recess and when I got home, I was reading Chemistry. With that, people started to bully me, but I had to be strong. I overcame that silently without complaining because I knew that at the end of the day, I would get a scholarship and I will be in the best University of my country.
In addition, during all my activities I have meet people from low income and some people that already have their life fixed. And it really disappoints me that most the people that are born with a wealthy status are the ones that do not care about studies or doing something else to improve the life of people who don´t have that privilege. I come from a middle upper-class status and that has made me appreciate things in life and see how blessed I am. As I said I have been giving tutoring sessions to poor people who are smart, but due to corruption and lack of attention from their families they would never overcome their situation. By learning that since there I had never turn down an opportunity of development because I think if I turn that opportunity down, that would be a lack of respect to the people that do not have those opportunities. And that is one of the main reasons of why I have done some many things.
Finally, the most important reason of why I´m trying to be the best of what I am is that I feel that my country needs me. With all the abilities that I have gained in my life, I think is my responsibility to give the poor people of my country the opportunity to succeed and the only way that I came up for doing so is to become the president of my Country. I know it sounds impossible, but I think all of what I have done sounds impossible as well, but I did it. I know is going to be hard since corruption levels will be higher there, but I have a plan which consists of getting a Ph.D., developing a new industry with my knowledge, and then launching for president.
From: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Age: 24 years
Activity: Cybersecurity consultant.
The curiosity to know how things work motivates me since I was very young, as a child, I loved to disassemble old electronics to see how the “magic” happened, as well as to spend hours and hours in front of an old computer trying to learn all the possible functionalities. Over the years, interest in the digital world has increased, and with the advent of the internet, there were no limits to seeking knowledge.
Passionate about the technological world, I decided to deepen my knowledge by entering in the computer engineering university, however, to be able to experience and learn even more about the news of the technology world, I had to leave the city where I lived in search of better opportunities in the big city. Aiming at a better quality for my studies and more opportunities in the job market after university.
It didn’t take long for the university to give me my first job as an intern, which immensely expanded my knowledge in a practical way. Still with the soul of that curious boy, I took advantage of the internship to learn with my co-workers with years of experience in the most varied topics of information technology.
Immediately after the internship ended, I got the long-awaited first job, now more focused on cybersecurity, an area I always wanted to learn. Being truly fascinated by the breadth and applicability of cybersecurity in our lives, in ways I couldn’t imagine before.
I take my life as a process of continuous improvement, where after reaching a stage, I then set goals to explore a new one. Today, in view of where I came from and what I have already achieved, I can say that I managed to make good progress, but many things are yet to come.
From now on, I am envious of future generations, generations who will be able to enjoy the vast knowledge accumulated in the most diverse themes, after years and years of development and progress of science and society.
My greatest aspirations and desires, is to be able to contribute positively to the development of our society, in order to elevate people’s feeling of happiness, satisfaction and well-being and inspire future generations in their professional and personal development.
From: Bogotá, Colombia
Age: 21 years
Activity: Currently coursing my last semester of a Computer Science degree
Currently working as an IT intern
One of the first things I’ve learned throughout my life is that the only way to achieve your dreams is to be completely self aware of the person that you are and the one that the rest of people perceives.
I truly believe that discipline and self knowledge has ruled my life since my early childhood, once you get to know the things you’re good at and the things where there’s room for improvement, you begin to perceive an image of the person you can become and that’s when your own ambitions start to grow.
Growing in Bogotá was and continues to be a very enrichful and raw experience, it teaches you that this path isn´t easy. You have to be a real mature human being and start to acquire a lot of responsibilities that even for a child seem overwhelming. It feels that almost anybody is trying to harm you or your family in any way and adding up to those things we need to take into account the social and economic conditions that many of the latin american countries are facing up.
I consider myself as a technologically competent, resilient and creative human being, i’ve always have troubles with this type of traits definition because I think that they only matter as they get to be proved and exploited in real world troubles, you can call yourself resilient but if you ever face a trouble and give up on your first try, i’m sorry but the only person your fooling is yourself.
You got to get up every morning with a bunch of goals in mind and also start to formulate solutions to the problems that are making your life difficult. I know that it sounds redundant, but hey i got kicked from my first elementary school because my parents didn’t have the economic resources to pay the tuition. At the time that I was coursing my penultimate year of high school I got into a serious academic situation due to my poor performance added up to a drug trouble and my whole mental health was very unstable.
It all turned out well when I decided to look up for my future and start to improve on my own. I started by making big changes in my routine, the people who I spent time with and I put myself into a disciplined environment. The results started to show quickly when at my senior high school year I got chosen into the top 10 students to start my bachelors degree in parallel with my high school.
By the time I got into university I had the opportunity to be an academic monitor, a tutor and an active project seminar member but most of all I’ve got the opportunity to get a global perspective of my full capabilities and the things that I could do by merging it with my Computer Science knowledge.
IT and connectivity have been a complete game-changer to human history, so being able to incide in some way is by itself a wonderful thing so there’s no way that I don’t get excited about the things that can be done.
I dream a lot about my family too, owing to the fact that I got to get out of Colombia to start to impact my own country, it sounds dumb I know, but Its impossbile to get the economic resources and kwowledge and also get the chance to stay here. This is one of those decisions where you have to put your whole background in perspective versus what could your future be.
Nowadays I got a full time position in a very prestigious IT company, hoping for the best that I can get my abilities up to the point where I can start to impact the world by myself.
I know that soon I’ll start my own company, not because I’m eager for money or respect, just to establish a real structure that allows me to gather people who want to take part and engage their solutions to improve people’s lives.
I can see a future bringing connectivity for growth to a lot of places and communities in Colombia and latin America that due to the poor and ignored social and economic situations are not able to get in touch with the new world.
I can see them making it easier for everyone to become part of the legal workforce by bringing new opportunities to their acquired talents. Their cultural shows, sports capabilities and mental faculties among a huge list of traits are things that just CAN’T be ignored, there’s a huge space where with proper help and guidance they can start to improve their contributions to their own communities and making it easier to jump and hit the world with their own entrepreneurships.
We need to get visibility worldwide and get a chance to change the global image that Colombia and latin american countries have nowadays. Getting next level education to this generation is a top priority, through the many tools that are available at the moment like internet access and well built courses that can be arranged with the education ministers of every country.
There’s a lot of things that can be done, it doesn’t matter how big or small they may seem, every little impact makes progress more accessible, ideas do not run out so then it’s only a matter of time to start to get them going, so what are you waiting for?
Mariana Vaitiare Ramírez Silva
From: Mexico City
Age: 25 years
Activity: Degree in International Business, Honors program coordinator and founder of HOMI.mx
My name is Mariana Ramirez, I am a 25 year old young woman with a degree in International Business, currently working at the Vice Rectory of Integral Development of the Universidad Anáhuac México as part of the coordinating team. Passionate about entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence, and sports. I may not be very tall, 5.21 feet, do not be fooled by my stature my dreams are big, I could spend my time helping others and a true believer that young people can be the present of the world instead of the future.
Why wait if we can start acting now? I am open-minded and tend to look for new experiences all the time. I am an extrovert and love hanging out with my friends and family, I consider myself a social butterfly , but at the same time I value my down time and the quietness of being alone with my thoughts. That is why Exercise is like a therapy for me because it allows me to take care of my body and my mind at the same time.
I tend to be proactive, and struggle with sitting still for long periods of time. If you invite me to be part of a project that interests me, I wont hesitate to accept. I have ambitions and I am aware that sacrifices have to be made, you must work hard in order to achieve your dreams. Every time life presents me with new challenges, I must be resilant and keep fighting.
“Don’t say why me?, say, try me!”
Results are not immediate, you have to remain strong, patient and persevere. Work hard not when everyone is watching, but when no one is. That is why as a Mexican, it is time to act, seek to solve the problem and not just complain, waiting for others to do something.
Mexico is a country that the world sees as lost, as well as many Mexicans, but I love my country, the culture, the people, the beaches, the forests and many other things. I believe that we have to bet on Mexico, giving it chance by generating jobs, being good citizens. But sadly there is still much to do, in my opinion it is a country that still needs to improve in many aspects. Starting by the fact that our government needs to invest more in education, a human mind that day by day acquires knowledge is the biggest weakness of any corrupt government. Other example is the urgence to provide a decent health care system, given the fact that government hospitals have never had enough medicine or equipment, this scenario becoming even more evident thanks to the COVID19 crisis, where the most important lesson, in my opinion, has been that regardless if you are the richest, the poorest or the most powerful person in the world, diseases attack equally.
Now, of course Mexico has good things, and the one that has helped me the most is knowing that we are good workers and that we have all the resources as a country to become a first world country. We must learn to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us, and that is why I am convinced that I want to give back to my country, I hope I will be able to generate jobs alongside the business that I started as well as from my current job, this with the purpose of forming better Mexicans that positively transform their environment.
One of my achievements of which I am proud to this day is that I have learned to put myself first before others, but without falling into selfishness, given the fact that I was a person who had always put the needs of others before my very own. Another one of my great achievements has been graduating from college while having two jobs, which have made me happy and given me the opportunity to learn new lessons each and every day, of course not loosing sight that everything in life has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day I can happily admit that I am very grateful with the opportunity of having a job.
That said, my next goal is to grow my business. I want to achieve a balance between my passion for helping people and my love for business. Another goal is to do a master’s degree in economics or neuromarketing. I also want to travel and learn about different cultures and places in the world.
My expectations for the future are simply great, I have a lot of confidence in myself and know that I can achieve things, but also, I have learned that sometimes its best to let things settle but without giving up the fight. COVID taught me that I have to enjoy the present, yet also work for my future but without letting the opportunity of living day by day pass by, given the fact that we tend to think about tomorrow, when we don´t even have that for granted.
My hope is that humanity starts worrying about emotional intelligence, I await with all my heart that every day we can be better people and more empathetic, get excited by the achievements of our peers and borrow that reason to achieve our own dreams. Maybe while you´re reading this you migh be thinking that I have too much faith in humanity, and well.. why lie to you if I do.
I want to make this world a better place starting by me, learning, studying, getting to know myself, being a better sister, friend, future mother, future wife, future boss, while keeping in mind and looking forward that the manner of each action that I perform ends up transforming my surroundings by way of humility and service.
Age: 29 years
Activity: Doctoral student, Neurosurgery Department
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany
Short description of me
My name is Roberto, and I am a hardworking and disciplined person who sticks to the plans until I reach my goals. I always follow the four cardinal virtues: justice, prudence, strength, and temperance. I am a physician who graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a master in science in the integrative neuroscience field from the Otto-von Guericke University of Magdeburg, Germany.
My long-short story
Since elementary school, I was convinced that I would become a physician. It was strange because no one in my family worked in healthcare sciences, so I have no direct influences at that time. But along my adolescence, I had contact with healthcare providers, assisting them in vaccination campaigns and other minor duties. During high school, I conducted a technical career as a histotechnician; in other words, I prepared slices from human tissue to observe their features under a microscope. All the structures, shapes, forms, and colors one can find in a tiny piece of tissue are spectacular. I was mesmerized by the microscopical world so much that I fell in love with medical sciences.
Happily, I was accepted to study at one of the most relevant universities of Latin America: The National Autonomous University of Mexico. During my bachelor’s, I experienced incredible moments. Due to my high grades, I belonged to a high academic demand group, encouraging the students to develop clinical and research abilities parallelly. Luckily, I was an instructor of the cell biology and histology department for three years, discovering my passion for teaching students. Within my compulsory classes, neuroscience became my favorite subject because of its complexity and beauty. Therefore, I started to make my first moves in clinical research. I worked for two years in the movement disorders department, assisting the outpatient clinic and doing fundamental statistical analysis. In the final stage of my medical background, I did my social service at the epilepsy surgery department. My participation was relevant because I was involved in recording electrical activity during brain surgery, follow-up on patients, and perform clinical research. All the research I conducted was performed at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery of Mexico, a renowned institution in Latin American regarding neuroscience.
My life changed when I was accepted in the Principles and Practices of Clinical Research course (PPCR) for a year at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. I was immersed in the marvelous world of statistics, gathering valuable knowledge in one of the most outstanding universities in the world. I was amazed at how the teachers convey their expertise and their passion for research. After this course, I was encouraged to put everything into practice. Therefore, I did an internship at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in the clinical research department, performing neurophysiological recordings in brain surgeries and investigating the brain waves in Epilepsy. I felt plenty because I could apply everything I learned in real life.
On the other hand, teaching was so relevant in my life that I became the president of the Student Interest Group in Neurology of the American Academy of Neurology (SIGN AAN) in Mexico. My team and I performed several activities to spread knowledge about neuroscience in many scenarios for two years: classrooms, museums, science fairs, and many other places. During this period, I met people with the same passion as me for neuroscience. Among them, I solidified great relationships with brilliant colleagues who head a revolutionary project called HDM world. The aim of this project is to innovate the way to teach medical students by using electronic platforms and resources. Currently, I am working on this initiative as the chief of international relations.
At that time point, I thought of having a more active role in science, creating new knowledge. I was looking for universities in Germany because of their cutting-edge research in neuroscience. The University of Magdeburg accepted me to perform a master’s degree in integrative neuroscience. My understanding of neuroscience increased enormously, and my love for this topic too. I also met good friends, colleagues, and teachers who inspire me deeply. I successfully finished my master’s studies by writing my master’s thesis in one of the most relevant labs in Magdeburg. I worked with gene editing systems and cancer cells. I demonstrated that the growth and development of cancer cells could be hampered when regulating the intake of some components of the food called amino acids.
What now? What is next?
Currently, I am doing my doctoral thesis in one of the most important universities in Germany, the University of Heidelberg. My doctoral studies revolve around stroke and one phenomenon called “Spreading depolarization,” an abnormal brain activity capable of damaging and killing neurons. The aim is to study this phenomenon and prove the efficacy of some drugs to counteract it. At the same time, I am learning German because my goal is to be a neurosurgeon in Germany.
I am grateful for all the things I could capitalize: four book chapters, seven scientific papers, collaborations with some associations, and priceless relationships. What I appreciate the most is to work shoulder to shoulder with many people who share the same passion for neurosciences as me, their support, and their enthusiasm.
Along my journey, the people that surround me drives me to achieve my goals. Some friends brought from scratch some dreams that they reached successfully, encouraging me to move forward. My mentors inspired me, and at the same time, taught me academic lessons, which I currently apply in research and clinical scenarios. Finally, my parents and sisters are role models to me because they successfully surpassed several setbacks and difficulties along with their lives. All of them define my second nature; who I am and all I have.
My small contribution to the world
My contribution to medical science is to spread neuroscientific knowledge across the medical and non-medical undergraduate and graduate students, families, children, and anyone interested in this topic. It is essential to show that neurological and psychiatric diseases generate high morbidity around the world. A delayed diagnosis and treatment of these disorders cause a precarious quality of life, isolating patients from their sociocultural environment.
I want to intervene in society at two levels. Specifically, I want to fight against a phenomenon called neurophobia or phobia to learn or apply neuroscientific knowledge. Medical students are prone to dislike or hate neuroscience due to its complexity and how students learn this subject. The idea is not to turn all the students into neurologists but build them with basic knowledge to identify and efficiently refer patients with neurological and psychiatric diseases. Moreover, I want to establish seminars for the general population to teach them how to detect the red flags of headaches, stroke symptoms, high blood pressure, and seizures. For this effort, I will implement new learning methods in which stakeholders feel comfortable and amuse when learning, such as electronic platforms and didactic resources. It will not be an easy task, but it will be possible with the contribution of more people.