Elena Rodriguez Blanco #PiMaker - An entrepreneurial activist & optimist at heart
Elena Rodriguez Blanco is a #PiMaker. We invite you to read through her interview and explore all she has done up until now in her life. She is a resilient fighter and relates her ideas and mission to "entrepreneurial activism". She is there to change educational models and the way we do business. Ultimately, she will.
We met Elena some years ago in an European social impact program. There she was, with her Positive Impact mindset sharing her experiences acquired through her projects and international experience. Elena is also an affiliated #PiMaker: through her Authenticity's Academy she reinforces our point of view about what leadership should be..
How did you come to do what you do? What’s your personal background story?
"There are 2 ingredients to producing change that are necessary: education and the way we do business."
The last 7 years since I left my last job at GE, I have put all my energy, money and time into bringing forth social innovation to place a little grain of salt on issues around climate change, immigration, women entrepreneurs, poverty and education. My first project, which some of you might remember, Bloom Microventures in Vietnam which we set up as a UK charity in 2009 is operating and ran by two local women, and has given stable jobs to a young team in Hanoi, microfinance loans to +700 women in rural areas to develop their microbusinesses, as well as educated thousands of travellers into the consequences of war zones. I am very proud of this project to which we founded and planted the seed, yet in the myriad of things happening, it feels like a small victory towards the work we have ahead.
And yes, they say the sum of small victories is what will make a change. But seeing the turn of things a sense of urgency has come about me. I truly believe that there are two main ingredients to producing change that are absolutely necessary: our education and the way we do business.
How do you feel you are positively impacting your society and environment?
"We are now ready to grow. Authenticitys needs to be available in every city in the world"
Authenticitys is B Corp certified Spanish company that is looking to bring educational experiences through travel that make cities better. How? We connect with NGOs and B Corps around the world and help them design an experience that we can then sell to travellers, and millennials. What type of experiences do we have? For example, in Barcelona we run an experience with an organisation called Diandé Africa, where Mamadou, a 23 year old immigrant from Senegal takes us through a bike tour of El Raval (an immigrant neighbourhood) and he tells us his story of how he became a social entrepreneur. Mamadou has his own bike rental shop and employs vulnerable youth in the city, he also set up an NGO in Senegal to change education. The difference here is that together, we have a product, that we can sell.
And I have good news. We are now ready to grow. Authenticitys needs to be available in every city in the world, and offered as an educational experience to as many youngsters (and travellers) as possible.
What's your dream, your vision?
"Now it’s the time to bring collaboration, cocreation and coentrepreneuring to a new level."
We cannot continue to do this alone, because we are not going far nor fast enough. And more importantly, because we are not alone. Now it’s the time to bring collaboration, cocreation and coentrepreneuring to a new level. I know many of you have supported and followed my work through the years, words of wisdom, hours of brainstorming, and nights in your homes. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Every year brings forth its valleys and its mountains. The important thing is to keep walking in good company. That is what 2018 will be for Authenticitys, we will keep dreaming, building, doing, sharing, and putting our two cents of change towards business and education, all the while being mindful and conscientious in how we do it.
Do you feel you have found your meaning and purpose in life? Why?
"I know my ideas lie more in the arena of an entrepreneurial activist. But I know this is my life mission."
I know my ideas lie more in the arena of an entrepreneurial activist. But I know this is my life mission. An optimist at heart, I keep to myself the long days, the unpaid hours, the nights I lay in bed thinking how I will make it to the end of the month, and the amount of energy and patience and dedication that in days like the ones mentioned above seem to be going to a bottomless pit. But the drive within me to experiment new educational and business models the call to speak for those that have less voices in our society and, my deep desire to engage with companies, governments and ultimately people is stronger.
Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this great journey so far. I wish you love, peace, happiness, health and joy every single moment of this year to come.