Hello all and welcome to another episode of Thoughts from a Random Citizen. Today I’m joined by Angel Ribo, a true global citizen who has worked with a variety of different businesses in many countries. However, he’s recently shifted his efforts to aid underprivileged kids in Latin America become entrepreneurs utilizing their own resources with his foundation, Wisdom for Kids.
Angel has an amazing mindset and is very entertaining in this episode. His emphasis on long-term growth and helping develop communities for the future is inspiring, especially regarding his expertise of the global business environment. My favorite part of this discussion probably comes at the end so I hope you stick around for that. We discuss how and why kids are better at meditating than you. By you I mean, anyone most likely listening to this who is not a kid, me included.
Lastly, you know how when you’re having a conversation and you respond with mm-hmm or yes, or, huh, well, typically, I block that out for you guys and mute it you don’t have to hear the annoyance of me responding. However, because of stupidity and experimentation, I threw that all in one track for you guys. Completely my fault. The audio squad was quite happy with me. I figured I’d let you know that he got a bit more than me and sorry, but the good news is when you experiment, you typically get answers. That’s not going to be a problem anymore because got it figured out. Anyways, it’s a really good episode, and enjoy.
All right, I’m speaking with Angel Ribo today. A huge thank you and welcome to the podcast Angel. You have among many things empowered over 1500 CEOs in 33 different countries while speaking five different languages. If you know this podcast at all, you fit in pretty perfectly with what I’m trying to do and communicate. All in all amazing accomplishments.
I know you’ve moved from corporate life, and we’ll discuss that thoroughly but before that, one of the things that you’ve said recently is CEOs need to be conscious now more than ever. What were you implying when you said this?
Yes, because there’s a lot– well, first of all, thank you very much for having me here. It’s a pleasure to be with you. It’s a pleasure to be with your audience. Thank you everybody who’s listening to us today. I believe that this being a change, and I don’t know, probably you are at work, there is a big– what happens in the online world, as you know for many years, it eventually becomes a hashtag.
I’m going to tell you about the hashtag that is right now, in a very high-trend pitch, let’s say in at least in the US, and the hashtag is #GreatResignation, #GreatResignation. Right now in the US, there is a lot of people, and I’m sure that’s happening in the world as well in the digital world as well. There’s a large amount of people from the corporate world that are leaving corporate America.
That’s why this hashtag is so much trending. Why I’m saying this is because I have realized that in my conversations with C-level executives and CEOs starting in 2020, where all this worldwide chaos started, I immediately realized that everybody obviously had to stay at home, and had to work from home and work remotely, et cetera. They started to actually value much more things that they had taken for granted.
Everybody knew they wanted to make a living, they had to go to the office, and they had to spend long hours and maybe people like me, for instance, we would be traveling four weeks a month and we would be staying at those hotels and taking so many flights to so many countries, blah, blah, blah. What I figured– what I found out, excuse me, was that after what had started to happen in 2020, the executives started to become more conscious about what they really value, what their values and principles are.
That’s why I believe strongly that in the future, the leaders of the main corporations in the world and the leaders in the business world are going to be conscious and conscious, meaning that they’re going to be really leading their teams in a completely different way. They got to put these values and principles of dealing with these people and taking really care of their teams much more than before.
I totally– that’s why I said, if you have a great resignation it’s because people are valuing other things. Not only a good salary and a good compensation package, they value other things. They value their families, they value their friends, they value being there for them, they value maybe improving their house, they value working on a hobby, they value working on something else, maybe working on their passion, something that that didn’t have the value. That’s why I said what I said, and thank you for bringing it up, Hugh.
Referring again to you working with so many businesses and CEOs in such a vast array and distance across the world, can you describe some of the things that many startup entrepreneurs or veteran entrepreneurs should focus on that you found success with implementing?
Yes. I think that the most important thing, I just– it’s funny how I just had got before speaking with you today, I spoke with a fund manager, fund, F-U-N-D, fund manager and the president of an incubator accelerator. Both ladies and we were talking exactly about very similar things. What makes entrepreneurs successful? What’s that piece of advice that you could give them, given your experience, Angel?
It’s funny because these two ladies I was talking to, they were in Africa. I am a member here in Texas, in Dallas, of the African Chamber of Commerce, the African Chamber of Commerce. I have to tell you that the secret for success or of success for an entrepreneur really do not change from continent to continent, from culture to culture. It’s really– that’s my favorite statement, I always say the same thing. The main reason why businesses maybe they never ramp up is because they don’t take imperfect action immediately. They don’t take imperfect action immediately.
As you said in the beginning, I’ve worked internationally in so many countries with so many companies, and so many CEOs, I see that all the time, all the time, all the time, is that the first thing that you should do, and that’s obviously my maybe five cents of advice is that I always advise every single entrepreneur or startup CEO to make sure that they talk to their prospective clientele before they even have a product or a service. Before they even have it just to make sure that they know what the market is going to say.
There’s many, many years ago in the Northeast of the US where the top business schools, Ivy schools, business schools in the world are, they came up with a term called “lean startup.” Lean startup. They started to talk about this concept of before anything else, make sure that you start talking to your potential future clientele, future customers and you tell them, “Hey, I would like to do this, I’d like to do this business, I would like to sell those products and services, would you buy them from me?” The reality is, Hugh, that nobody does it. Only a handful of people do it.
Hey, we can be here for 30 minutes talking about this concept, and people are still not going to do it. Why? Because they feel fearful. They feel fearful. You sit in Spain, I sit in Texas, you happen to know Texas, I happen to know where you are in Spain. If I wanted to start selling a particular product to, let’s say the restaurants in Spain were open at this point in time really, which is not the case but let’s say that that’s the case.
The first thing I would do is I would go restaurant by restaurant, or maybe even to maybe to hotels to offer them catering services. Whatever that product was that they wanted to sell to them, I would start talking with them. I would say, “Hey, now with this scale that’s happening in the world, how would you find my products or my services, my catering services or my food products or beverage products more valuable than before? What should those products and services be different in order for me to serve you now?” That makes sense, right?
Yes. Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Makes sense but in reality, people don’t do it. People don’t do it.
They make their product and then try to pick up the slack afterward.
Take your car, take your bicycle, right. I mean, in Texas, we don’t have many bikes, but we love driving, as you know and big trucks as you know too.
That’s what I was going to say.
Exactly. Take your truck. And make it the goal. Before starting my company, the next week I’m going to have five conversations every day with specific– that are members of my target audience and I’m going to ask them, what do they believe, what do they think about my future product or service. It’s so simple. It’s so simple. It’s so simple. That’s why I say that the world is owned by the brave. The world is owned by the brave, the ones that really take imperfect action now, which is my favorite sentence, take imperfect action now. Do it now. It’s so simple.
Excellent advice. One of the things I did notice you said is that entrepreneurship does carry over across borders. Then, I was actually going to ask this question later, but I’m just going to ask it now because of that. Another quote I found that you said is whether you’re in business or philanthropy, learning about and understanding the community you want to serve is absolutely essential. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Can you elaborate or explain the scenario in which this has happened in your life before?
Yes, exactly. I am a great example. I was born in a poorly lower-class family in the Northeast of Spain, a region called Catalonia. I was very shy. Believe it or not, extremely shy. I was the kind of boy that when I would go with my mum and dad somewhere, I would be sitting on that chair, and I wouldn’t move from that chair until we left the place. You know what I mean?
I was the kind of guy. I was born in the ’60s. That means that there was a dictatorship in Spain at that time. I was really lucky that the school where I was studying, they would offer French, which wasn’t heard of at that time. I learned French. My mum and dad signed me up for an external school to learn English. Lucky again. At the end of high school, I was able to speak fluently English and French. I had already spent the summer in the UK, and I had already spent three weeks traveling in France because we organized a field trip to France, and I was in charge of organizing it. I’m just trying to picture where I was born and what I was doing.
Right now, I live in Texas. The society is completely different. The values are completely different. Before coming to Texas– I’ve lived in Texas for 11 years, I was living in Latin America. Again, socially, economically, demographically, everything is totally different.
Every single time, in all those different environments I just mentioned, I have had to help companies grow their businesses. Every single time, although you think, “No, no, no, no, no, everybody needs the same thing. Everybody uses this product the same way,” not a chance, Hugh. Not a chance. Even the same product, the same service can be useful in one territory, in one geography for a specific target audience, or can be totally useless. That’s why you always have to ask the questions.
That’s why you always have to do your homework, and you always have to adapt to the local people. I always say it’s the same thing with a nonprofit or with a for-profit organization because the only difference is that with a nonprofit, and as you know, I am the president and co-founder of a nonprofit in Latin America, we still have to know who the kids are because what we do is we help underprivileged kids in Latin America become entrepreneurs using their local resources.
Before we go to a specific community, we first connect with the community leaders so that we really understand how this community is being run, what are the important values, what’s the economy based on that community. Then, we eventually offer our services, which obviously for free, which is helping those kids in that community to become entrepreneurs using those local resources. You see? Using their local resources, that’s the most important thing that makes us different at Wisdom for Kids Foundation.
Using their local resources, it’s very important. Regardless of the profit factor of an organization, there’s always something, which is you have to really talk to the people locally to know how to work with them, how to sell to them, or how to partner up with them to develop that particular organization.
We’re going to dive into what you do for your nonprofit in a moment. One of the things that I thought was funny though when you were saying that is just on some of my very early travels, I noticed that scenario playing itself out meaning selling to the specific demographic in which you’re in when I couldn’t even find my favorite bag of chips, Doritos or whatever, I couldn’t even find the flavors in the new places that I’d go, whether it be Bali or now here in Spain. I was like, “Where are my chips at?”
It’s because those chips, although extremely popular back home, don’t even sell over here. It just really illustrates your point that global businesses sell to local communities because they are aware that just because a flavor is really popular in the US doesn’t mean it’ll even sell one bag in the UK or Australia or Indonesia or Europe. Just a funny example I thought I’d mention there. Really quick to ask, why Texas? Because now I know you’re based in Texas, and you’ve been all around the world, can you elaborate on why Texas?
Before living in Texas, I was living in Mexico. The worldwide vice president for sales of that organization that I was working with came to Mexico in one of his trips. He said, “Hey, we would love to be able to offer you better opportunities, but you have to move to the US.” As a European, and you now live in Europe, and you have very close people to you, which are European, going to the US for a European, it’s not always a good fit necessarily for many reasons. Again, I am a citizen of the world. I consider myself a global citizen.
I was living in Mexico, and they told me, “Hey, we would like to bring you and your family to the US if you were open to it and to offer you better opportunities.” I said, “Okay, so where can I go?” The company have literally 30 different or maybe more offices in the US. They told me, “You can choose wherever you want to go. You really can choose wherever you want to go.” Then, at that time, I had– and I have today, three kids and for me, the school district was really important.
We had had a lot of challenges in Mexico with the schools and with the school system. We had gone both to private schools. We had taken our kids to private schools and to public schools, and we had had lots of challenges. I said, “I really want to make the school district a priority wherever we go.” Obviously, interestingly or coincidentally enough, one of the people that I had been working with extensively since I was in Mexico, with that corporation that she was a subcontractor, and she told me, “Hey, why don’t you go to this specific place in Texas.” It’s north of Dallas because my sister lives there and her husband is part of the leadership team of the school district.”
Exactly. In one of my scouting trips, I came to Texas, and I came to Dallas, and I met with this wonderful couple, my friend’s sister and her husband. I was totally sold into the school district. I was 100% sure that that was going to help us a lot. It was going to help the education for my kids. My mum is a teacher. One of my sisters is a teacher. I have two or three nieces who are teachers as well. I’ve lived in the education, let’s say surrounded by educators for my entire life, and I really value the education.
We live in a suburb north of Dallas. It’s called Plano, P-L-A-N-O. It’s one of the top five school districts in Texas, very wealthy area with a very nice international community with literally students from all over the world, families from all over the world. Texas is attracting more and more talent from all over the country. As you know, there’s a lot of people from the Northeast and from California fleeing those places and coming to Texas, as you know, Hugh. This community is only getting better and better and better. I love this cosmopolitan atmosphere that’s being created. I really like it. That’s why we ended up in Texas.
Very nice stuff. Being from Kansas City, you guys aren’t too far away. I like the culture down there too. That’s great stuff. I did want to highlight your early career in tech. Can you elaborate for all of us, how you went from that early career in tech, maybe a bit about what you did, but then how that transitioned into working with CEOs around the world?
Exactly. Number one, I chose to go and have or take a master’s degree in computer engineering because I loved computers when I was in high school. I loved computers. Actually, it was even earlier. It was in middle school. Guess what? Just picture this. It was my second semester, a computer engineering degree in Spain. It was 10 semesters. I was in my second semester, and I said, “I hate computers.”
I can’t say I’m surprised.
I can’t stand this anymore. I just can’t. Why do I have to study calculus and numerical analysis and algebra and all those things? The only thing I want to do is I want to be able to help people using technology and make a difference in their lives and in their businesses. That’s what I would like to do.
Anyway, and don’t ask me how, I eventually got the degree. I guess that there was a lot of effort and help from a lot of many different people. Obviously, I had to give some return of investment to my mum and dad that had paid so much for me. Then, it was the ’90s, I was working because I didn’t like computers at all so my first jobs in Spain were not computer-related at all, nothing related to computers, but in the nineties I said, “Well, I’m working for this very nice audiovisual company in Barcelona on the outskirts of Barcelona. I was living in the outskirts of Barcelona as well. I speak French, speak English. I would like to have an international experience,” and there’s a very famous newspaper in Madrid called El Pais. There was this announcement, this advert about a position classified as an inside sales position in London.
I applied to the job and they flew me from Barcelona to Madrid for the interview and I got the job. In only two months, I was already in London, in the UK working for my first ever multinational multi-billion dollar software company headquarters in the UK, American company, but headquarters and my first role was to be an inside sales guy. That means, for the people that maybe don’t know what their inside sales guys, it’s a telemarketer upgraded in the name. It means that they will be on the phone all the time, eight hours a day on the phone making phone calls, trying to basically prospect, find leads, find potential clients for my company in that specific territory.
I started calling to Spain in Spanish, but then I suddenly was calling to Germany in English. I was calling to the Nordic countries in English– that’s a true story, and to Portugal in my poor Portuguese. So I got used to rejection. I was an inside sales guy. I could have business conversations because I had a degree in business administration and I was able to have very basic conversations about how technology would impact businesses. I realized that I was good in creating and developing relationships with the people at the other side of the phone line. I started to generate a lot of leads for my sales field force.
That’s how I became so used to rejection that then for me, calling a CEO and go over or pass through the bottlenecks, the gatekeepers I became so natural and comfortable that that was definitely the origin and the reason why I would eventually become so familiar and so comfortable doing that that I developed a way to systematically reach out to CEOs, have conversations with them and show them how with the technologies I was selling I could improve their lives and their businesses.
Okay. Well, amazing. As I understand it, what bridged the gap for you and your corporate life to what you do now in your nonprofit which we’re just moments away from talking about is, you had a spiritual experience that led you to leave corporate America. Can you elaborate on what this experience was for us?
Yes. Obviously, I was already living in the US.
You were or you weren’t?
I was already living in the US, but I was still going to Latin America. While I was working in corporate America, so I left corporate America in 2016, I all the time was traveling to Latin America. I always had some role that involved Latin America. In regard, even if I moved here, I was always going back to Latin America at some point during a month or during a quarter.
When you work for a multinational company and you are actually living in a third-world country or region like Latin America, you are a very privileged person. You are able to rent cars. You are able to go to nice hotels. You’re able to have nice meals with your CEO clients. You really live like in that 1% of life. 1%, maybe the 0.01% even. You know what I mean? Every time I was going to see a customer, let’s say, I would go maybe to the headquarters in the city.
If I went to see – and that happened very often, if I was going to see their manufacturing plants, very often those manufacturing plants were in the outskirts of the cities or in even rural areas. When I was going to those areas to see the manufacturing plants, all the time, every time, there were always kids around those plants that they were there just waiting to see if someone could give them some money or some food literally.
That means that for so many years, I was going to Latin America and I was not only making a lot of money for the companies I was working with, but also I was seeing a lot of poverty. What were those kids asking? Hey, Senor, Senor, Sir, Sir would you buy some gums for me? Would you allow me to keep your car safe while you are inside the plant doing whatever you’re going to do? Can we wash your car while you are inside? All these things.
I was super privileged, but at the same time, I was seeing all those kids living in poverty every single day. The contrast is crazy. That gap is really difficult to break. It was the last day of, I think it was, March in 2015 and it was in Mexico City. It was Saturday morning and I had lost my flight back to Dallas from Mexico City. I can say, I understand. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
I remember I was so tired. I was just waking up in the morning, the flight they had lost it. I had missed the flight, excuse me on Friday. I was waking up on Saturday morning and I was so remorseful because again I was late home, I was late to be with my kids and my wife, et cetera. I remember as soon as I woke up and I went to the shower and turned on the water, immediately as the water started to fall, something happened inside of me.
It’s like a lot of many different images, like flashing, literally in my mind. That’s a true story.
I got into the bathtub and that increased and I started crying like a baby. Don’t ask me why. I had no reason to cry, but seeing all those flashes of images of all these poor kids I had seen for so many years while I was in Latin America. I was literally under the shower, I don’t know for how many minutes but for a long time crying, like a baby, like on my knee, crying and crying and crying for no reason. Just having those flashes all, everything I had done in Latin America for so many years.
Eventually, I calmed down a little bit, but all those flashes I was trying to make like, okay, so what does that mean? Why am I crying for no reason? Why this is strong Catalan man crying for no reason and having these flashes? I had never had that. I remember the hotel. I remember the floor. I remember that bathroom as it was today, Hugh, I tell you.
Then I started to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and I said, okay, I think I’m very well prepared in my experience. My experience shows me that I am really in a very good position to help. Using my influence and my experience with all those C-level executives and CEOs in Latin America, I think I’m able to understand what’s going on with these kids that live in poverty. I think that I might be able to help them.
I remembered all that. All that day, I had two or three meetings that day with friends because I told them, Hey, I lost my flight, would you like to meet for coffee whatever. I was so sensitive that I would start crying with anybody that would talk to me that day. Again, I cannot give you any other explanation. I was telling them this just happened to me and I think I have to do something about it. Obviously, I was thinking and thinking. Eventually, in the evening, I flew that Saturday back to Dallas.
When I got to Dallas, I was in the plane and I was thinking, this is what I’m going to do. I think that I have to create some sort of foundation. I have to be able to systematically help kids in need with all my influence, with all my knowledge, with all my experience with entrepreneurs, with CEOs and I have to bridge that gap between the super influential people in Latin and the ones that don’t have anything. I reached out to a friend of mine, my friend, his name is Salvador, Savior would be the translation in English. Salvador, he lives in Mexico. He’s a friend of mine and also a business partner still today. He still remembers that he was in bed when I called him because it was very late at night when I got to Dallas and he remembers it. He remembers that, when you called me, it seems like you were– you know the Twilight Zone. Do you remember that series? The TV series?
Do-do-do-do! He told me, are you okay? Angel, are you okay? Yes, I’m okay. I would like to do this. Would you like to help me? He said, yes. That was the beginning and then we involved someone else. That spiritual experience– Actually, I have a video I can share with you and with the audience if you want to.
I call it the Epiphany Video. Actually, I explain just exactly what happened that night, that day, excuse me.
Excellent. We’ll post that in the show notes along with some other things that we’ll post here later for you and your contact information. That obviously launched in 2017 and it focuses– again what you were harping on is using their own resources. That’s something that obviously, knowing how the world operates and going to all these places a lot of the times people go in and teach people how to be entrepreneurs while plugging into another system, but you focus on their own resources. Can you elaborate on that for everyone and the difficulties?
We tend to think– we live in a first world country, I live in a first world country, we tend to think that the rest of the world is the same, the rest of the world is the same and it’s not.
Not even kind of.
Exactly. If we really want to make a group of kids successful with their entrepreneurial activities and ideas and concepts, we necessarily have to take into consideration what they have around them. Otherwise we will fail miserably.
Let me give you an example. You would think anybody in Latin American has a cell phone. Any kid has a parent or a relative or a guardian that has a cell phone? Not true. In Latin America alone, there are 81 million kids that live in poverty. Unless we systematically help them figure out what local resources to use, unless we do that systematically we will never be able to help them really get out of where they are today. We said obviously if they don’t have internet, how are they going to launch their business?
There’s a lot of things that can’t be done and that’s the thing. When you go to those communities then you realize how value can be generated. Those communities, for instance, we go to suburban communities, we go to rural communities, we go to indigenous communities. Every community has a different thing. They have different infrastructures, different demographics and social structures and levels. They have different ways or different kinds of jobs that they have to sustain the community.
There’s communities that have the strong presence of maybe a large plant, a large company and then most of them live out of that manufacturing plant or whatever that is. When you are able to understand how the dynamics work in a particular community, then you are able to think how to create value.
For instance let me just give you a few examples. There’s an indigenous community that we have been in and you would say they’re the poorest? Absolutely. 95% of people living in indigenous communities in Latin America live in poverty. 95%, 95%. You would say there’s nothing can be done? Why would you even bother, Angel, to go there? Guess what. When you go there you realize that there’s value. There’s things that the kids can do because those communities for instance and that particular community I have in my mind right now, you are on a particular road, a small road and the locals start telling you hey that tree is a mango tree. That tree is a cinnamon tree. That tree is a peppercorn tree. That tree is – you name it.
You realize that the problem is not the local resources, that they lack of resources. The problem is that they don’t know, how to make those resources valuable for the people that need them. Going back to the beginning of our conversation, Hugh, how can we find our customers? How can we take those mangoes and sell those mangoes to our customers? Obviously, the indigenous community saw most of the mangoes, unfortunately, they fall off the trees and nobody eats them but what if they did something? What if maybe we taught them to preserve them in a particular way or to dry them out in a particular way blah blah blah?
We tend to think and to have these ideas that where there’s poverty, there’s poverty and there’s nothing that can be done. Not at all. The more we go to that particular community, the more we uncover more potential resources of value for other communities. I remember one time we went to another indigenous community and suddenly one of the mums of the kids that we were helping, the first session, the first time ever, she came and said hey, this is what my kid did at home. She showed us a few bracelets, beautiful bracelets. There’s a lot of people in first-world countries that would love to have those bracelets and just to help those communities.
As you know if we could avoid some intermediaries – intermediaries are good, I’m not saying they’re bad because obviously they help us close those gaps that we were talking about, but what if we could do some sort of direct communication? To build communication as a channel. A sales channel directly from that community and take those bracelets directly to a place where they’re being sold and they’re being sold to the right audience at the right pricing.
Immediately you have created a business. You have created a prosperous business and you’re supporting a community and the people that are buying those really perceive the value of those communities. There’s more and with everything that’s happening in the world, with all the chaos that started in 2020, I tell you that people are becoming more conscious of what they have and what they don’t have.
Are you finding – I know you said that you have a lot of contacts and people in Latin America, where are you finding the help from? Is it Latin American entrepreneurs, governmental programs, people in the US? Where are you seeing the best way to expand forward with your program?
Thank you. That’s a great question. It’s really personal connections of these three co-founders that we find people that really want to contribute to our mission. As you can imagine, a few years ago there was a lot of controversy in the non-profits organizations’ world here in the US and about what they do with the money.
That’s why we are very very very scrupulous and very strict about the information that we share of everything that we do with the kids because we know that there’s a lot of bad things being done in the world with kids.
Since the very beginning we have created this super strong solid shield that protects our kids, but at the same time we help them become entrepreneurs using their local resources.
We have created this trust around us that make the donors to trust in what we do. We fund our activities through donations, we launch campaigns and through people that know us and they know that what we do is genuine trustworthy and there’s nothing. There’s no hidden plans behind them.
Absolutely. I know as well you primarily use a lot of volunteers. Do you see this as a viable long-term strategy or how do you plan or are you getting those volunteers to help on a grander scale?
That’s obviously a great question, that was a question that we asked ourselves since the very beginning. The issue that we have found in the last couple of years is obviously that we cannot go to those communities because they are in lockdown or because they’re super protected from the exterior world. That’s the main issue we are finding. Again, as I said before, many many places that we go, there’s no internet. There’s no cell coverage and we want to go to those communities because they have 95% of the people in those communities are living in poverty.
We really want to make a difference in those communities as a priority for our organization, for Wisdom for Kids. We are still trying to figure out how to take technology to those places. Finding volunteers is not difficult. The difficulty is how do we keep on running all of our programs, knowing that technology is not present. Typically, our volunteers would keep on having this relationship with their kids and mentoring them and coaching them and go to government institutions in order to create the companies blah blah blah you name it, all those things that need to be done before creating your own business or while you create your own business.
When there’s a lot of restrictions and even our volunteers cannot get to the kids, how do you do it? That’s the main issue. Obviously I’m knocking on wood, obviously we are respecting that eventually all these areas will open up and we will be able to go back to those communities and resume all the activities that we were doing. Unfortunately it’s affected us a lot. As you know, I was just talking to someone in an indigenous community today. She was telling me, the only thing that we can do now is to protest against the authorities so that they open our schools back. There’s still places in the world right now that the kids have not been in a classroom set up since March 2020.
Oh man, I have friends in Indonesia who’ve been struggling. I was just talking to a gentleman a few weeks ago who was on the podcast as well who has, not charity, orphanage in Africa, same problems. While we deal with mental issues from lockdowns, although you in Texas haven’t had too much and I’ve been pretty lucky myself, these people are struggling with just basic food and necessities.
Beyond that, and not to drag that into the conversation, which is obviously an important conversation that should probably be had, one of the things that I know you do with your foundation is you help the kids, you teach them and help them practice meditation, why the focus on meditation?
Thank you. Yes, because we, [chuckles] let me let me ask you, in the same way, I told you that they have several teachers in my family, do we think that as humanity, do we think– it’s just a question to the audience, your audience, okay? You don’t have to answer the question.
Exactly, your might. Do we think that as a society, as humankind, as humanity, do we think that we’re doing a good job? Do we? If we look at the level of technology we are adopting, or the level of health that the countries have, the level of wealth, and how the wealth is being shared among different continents and citizens in different countries, are we doing a good job? From 1 to 10, how would you respond? I would say–
I really want to answer right there.
I would say a five because in Europe, a five is that, just passed, in the US a five is that you fail miserably. I’m going to leave you at the five. That’s why when we were elaborating, when we were conceptualizing our webinars for the kids in Latin America, we thought we cannot do the same thing, we cannot do the same thing. We literally, we analyzed what to do. I spoke to you about the second co-founder, the third co-founder, he was a professor at the university when we started Wisdom for Kids, he had two PhD students, two PhD students developing our workshops.
The main idea was, you guys are going to do the most innovative program that you’ve ever thought about. You can put anything you want in that program, but it has to really be the catalyst, it has to be like the trigger of that person was going to be in that workshop, and it will change his or her mind forever. Under those assumptions, these people are starting to think about this workshop, we called it the start, let’s say the starting worship, it’s a two-hour worship. They started to develop or to think of strategies that would basically bring the kids to a level of energy in which everything that we would share with them would resonate and they would get it, that was the goal.
After the workshop was developed, obviously, we proof-tested it, we went to communities, and we tested it with different group ages and with different kids and then we realized how powerful it was. If you ever join us, Hugh, and I’d love you to do it. I’m sure that you’d love to do it.
Absolutely. We start the workshop dancing, dancing and jumping up and down. Whoever is the instructor of that workshop, I love to do it myself obviously, when I go. I have one of those wireless, one of those wireless speakers at the maximum volume so that all the kids start jumping up and down with me or with the rest of the volunteers that are there.
That’s the beginning. Just picture this, we go to a community, nobody knows us, we go into a specific room and those kids don’t know us and suddenly, they see a crazy guy. A crazy guy speaking in the same language with a different accent, as you know, Latin American Spanish is different from Spain Spanish, right?
I start jumping, let’s say it’s me, I start jumping up and down. What do you think the kids do?
I‘m assuming, I would assume that they started jumping with you.
Absolutely. I don’t have to give them instructions. I don’t have to give them any instructions. They start jumping up and down because that’s the essence of the human being. The kids are not going to ask you for permission to jump up and down, they’re just kids.
Exactly. That’s the beginning. The first five minutes of that workshop, we already got them. You know what I mean?
We dance, we exercise with them, we sing with them, we play games, we interact with them. We do lots of things, they draw stuff. They do lots of many different things. We said, we exchange this knowledge, and we tell them what becoming an entrepreneur means and everything and but we also ask them what would they like to be when they grow up and why, we have all those conversations, but we always, throughout those two hours, we have got a very high level of energy. They never get bored and they’re super excited, and they say, “Wow, this is fun.”
We said, “Okay, so what else can we put into this cake so that’s going to make a big difference?” We said we’re going to be building a meditation for 20 minutes inside those two hours, 20 minutes, and that meditation is going to be a guided meditation using Neuro-Linguistic Programming, designed affirmations.
It’s a 20-minute guided meditation with very powerful affirmations and very powerful music which make all those things that we have been teaching them for a couple of hours really resonate with them and get into their subconscious. That’s what we do.
Do you find that the kids grasp that concept pretty easily? I mean, because I know, they say that kids have that connection a bit better than adults.
Totally. Oh my God, absolutely. The first time that we were going to ask the kids to meditate, we said, “Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re just going to do it.” The kids, so that you and the audience knows, the kids are natural at meditating, they’re natural. They go to wherever– you know when sometimes you try to meditate, you’re really screwed up because you’re an adult and it’s been your parents, your friends, your church, with all due respect, schools, you name it. There’s so many layers of limiting beliefs that Hugh has today and Angel has today. You have so many– these kids have not had these many layers yet.
When you ask them to reconnect with themselves, you don’t even have to tell them what does reconnecting mean, they already know. We just give them very precise, like put your hands on top of your legs, make sure nothing is bothering you, sit straight, that’s it, nothing else. Then we start with this, we have, by the way, we really handpick the music. It’s a very powerful music as well, a very spiritual music. Then it’s this music and these very powerful affirmations that whoever is the leader in that session is saying aloud, is speaking aloud.
That’s so powerful and so magic, when we finish, I mean, the kids would, it’s 30 minutes, but all the kids would stay in the meditation if our meditation was 30 minutes or 45 minutes, they don’t want to stop, they stay in that place. We have to tell them, “Open your eyes,” our instructors, we have to tell them, “Open your eyes,” and then we ask them, “How was it? What did you see?” Then the most extraordinary experiences start to be explained. They tell you, “Hey, I saw that relative that died. I saw I was struggling in a space. I was–” Our affirmations are like, I am infinitely powerful, I can be whoever I want in my life. I have all this wealth, I live in abundance, blah, blah, blah.
That was only the way for them to reconnect to who they really are. That’s why if we started in all the schools in the world meditating 20 minutes a day, oh, my God, would that make a big massive change? We wouldn’t have to pay for so many counselors throughout our lives and psychologists, and– It is what it is, but we always had this sense that we have to do things differently if we want different children in a different world in the future.
Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It’s one of those things that it forces you to just sit with yourself and contemplate yourself and think for yourself. Really, I just loved– when I saw that. I had to ask you that.
Then to answer your question really quickly that you let off with that. Today, I am an avid investor and I’m very involved in all of that. Today, I just saw that Microsoft made an acquisition of Activision, I believe, of $69 billion. If they spent $69 billion somewhere to give Wi-Fi to Latin America, that’s one way to allocate money, but that’s why we’re at a five not a ten so, but Angel, man, I’ve had an amazing conversation. I know you’re a busy guy so I do want to wrap up with two questions really quickly. One, if you could narrow, throughout your entire life, narrow your entire life experiences and give one piece of advice from it, what would it be?
Take more risks.
Take more risks?
Yes, absolutely. Totally. That would be the advisable gift to my younger self if I could. Take more risks. Be open to take more risks.
Excellent. Then lastly, where can people find you especially if they’re interested in donating Wisdom to Kids. Any of that? Where can find you?
Thank you. The easiest way– I’m very active online. You will see me in all the social media platforms you can think of, including TikTok. Don’t expect dances, though.
You will see some of my content on TikTok as well. You can reach me on my email. It’s very easy. It’s Angel, A-N-G-E-L@angelribo.com. Ribo is my last name, R-I-B as in boy, O. Again, if you send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org is the easiest way to reach out to me and I can show you or we can talk. Whatever you want to know I can point you in the right direction, both for my business and for Wisdom For Kids Foundation.
Obviously, Hugh, thank you very much for having me today.
Oh, absolutely. I’m really hoping– I had– We only got through half of my questions. A lot of them were about Spain so maybe someday we’ll get you back on here, but excellent stuff. Thank you so much, man.
Absolutely. Thank you and thank you, everybody, who was listening to us today.