At last! In the second of my interviews with colleagues on the Yale World Fellows Program, I chat with Patrick Struebi, an entrepreneur from Zurich, Switzerland.
Patrick and I have a lot in common. We both had “proper” jobs, only to decide that our careers did not reflect our personal values. As Patrick puts it, he was working to make rich people richer and poor people poorer. He quit his job and went to Mexico, where he spent 7 years. During this time of soul-searching he came up with the concept for Fairtrasa, a company that links small-scale farmers in Latin America to local and international markets. Fairtrasa supports the formation of farmer cooperatives, provides farmers with technical skills, and fosters community development through health and education projects.
He has also established his own marketing companies in Europe and North America to sell these sustainable and fairly traded food products directly to all major supermarkets. Today, Fairtrasa represents over 3,000 small-scale farmers and operates offices in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Patrick’s goal is to replicate Fairtrasa’s business model in other Latin American countries and beyond. He was recognized as “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in Mexico in 2009, and as an Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2011.
After the interview had ended, Patrick and I went on chatting for a while, and found a few more similarities. Both our fathers were 10 years older than our mothers, and both our fathers died at the age of 75. We have both been (or still are) on a spiritual quest, reading lots of books and asking lots of questions. And both of us are at a point where, having already made a major career change, we want to carry on basically doing the same thing, but taking it to the next level.
I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation. And maybe you’d like to think about what you would like to do next? The same thing, but at a higher level? Or something different altogether? Post a comment and let me know!
I also need a better title for this series than “Yale Video Blog No.X”. I mean, really! If only I was doing these every day (not possible) I would call them Yalie Dailies. But they’re not. Please let me know if you have any better ideas!
Filmed in my apartment in New Haven on 16th September, 2012.
Featured image: Patrick at Yale World Fellows Night last week talking to Jason Young, one of my two undergraduate liaisons.