Based on trust in human beings and in their competencies, planned delegation is one of the concepts found in the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO). Norberto Odebrecht chose you to be his successor at the foundation. How are you prepared to meet this challenge?
My professional career has always been oriented by a strong business and entrepreneurial spirit, with values and beliefs transmitted by my father, Paulo Queiroz, who worked at the Group for 21 years. The contact with social entrepreneurship at the foundation was strengthened by my grandfather, Norberto Odebrecht, in opportunities full of reflection about the challenge of promoting sustainability. One of the most vivid memories from my childhood and adolescence takes me back to when I was 16. On Sundays, my grandfather used to visit the Sister Dulce Hospital in Salvador, and the Sister Dulce Orphanage in Simões Filho, Bahia. He always invited me to go with him, showing me how important it was to see the needs and shortcomings of people to learn how to act and help. While still very young, I learned that social responsibility is the non-delegable task of an entrepreneur. I didn't know it at the time, but it was then that I was beginning to prepare myself for a challenge that would be proposed to me decades later. In 2015, we are completing 50 years of continuous achievements. With his physical absence – and due to his delegation during life –, I have the responsibility and challenge of leading the foundation.
Since its creation in 1965, the foundation has been focused on education and work, recognizing the capacities of human beings, such as the willingness to serve and desire to progress. How does the institution view itself after 50 years of achievements?
The foundation is reaffirming its commitment to its beliefs and the mission of "Educating for Life, Through Work and with Orientations on Values and How to Overcome Limits." We are an institution of public utility that works focused on social transformation considering a base that never changes: integrated and sustainable development of human beings. In practice, we breathe life into this mission based on three initiatives: the Editorial Program, Tribute to the Future Program and Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS). Through them, we helped build a population of leaders, responsible for their own development and sustainable growth.
Tell us more about the three programs coordinated by the Foundation and its main results.
With the Editorial Program we focus on the responsibility of editing and marketing the literary works of the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO), basis of the entrepreneurial culture that underlies the ethical, moral and conceptual values as well as the spirit of service the most intangible heritage of the Odebrecht Organization: our Members. This program was first developed in 1983, when my grandfather granted to Odebrecht Foundation the rights to all works that bring together the formulation of thought, the systematization and the processes that characterize the TEO. Today, through our website, you can purchase books, some of them in three languages and also in digital version. The revenues are reverted to the activities that we promote.With the Tribute to the Future Program, we enable allocation of resources made available for projects linked in their essence to the Rights of Children and Adolescents and reinforce the commitment of all in SERVING more and better in the formation of a generation responsible for a sustainable society. Created in 2004, this program comprises the contribution made available through donation Income Tax allocation, from social partners who are Members of the Odebrecht Organization, other citizens and businesses. We grant access to a contextualized education with conditions for beneficiaries to fully develop themselves as human beings. We are in full fundraising campaign for the fiscal year 2015/2016 and committed to mobilize people in support of a noble cause that is caring for the future. Finally, since 2003, also we coordinate the Development and Integrated Growth Programme with Sustainability – PDCIS. This is an innovative experience that has contributed to promoting the productive and sustainable development of the family in the rural areas. This can happen through synergistic actions that include four fronts: education, work and income, citizenship and environment. Among the results that are worth mentioning there are the more than 300 youths in 2015 who gained access to a contextual education, through the Rural Family Houses, and about 840 Farming families organized in Cooperatives, which has grossed more than R$ 20 million in the first half 2015.
What is the Odebrecht Foundation's vision of the future?
Our goal is to attract and mobilize increasingly more partners to create scale for the social technology developed and improved in our Social Programs. With the awareness that it is not possible to resolve social needs alone, the foundation seeks to strengthen relationships with social investors and attract new ones. We assumed our crucial role as the Group's social business, working to promote the reapplication of our actions in other places – both within and outside Brazil. With the motivation of the Spirit of Service, we want to increasingly help legitimize a dignified and sustainable future for new generations.
How does the foundation plan to continue with its legacy and commitment of promoting social transformation?
Based on the TEO, we are assuming the commitment of working to grow and perpetuate our main legacy for far longer than the next 50 years. That is why we continue to work with discipline, generating respect and consolidating trust. We are staying focused on the four crucial factors of our actions: transparency, equality, accountability and social responsibility. It is like my grandfather used to say: “Groups don't get old: either they renew themselves or die." Therefore, I reaffirm that the Odebrecht Foundation will continue renewing itself and innovating. Together with my uncle, Emílio Odebrecht, we move forward with the certainty that we are contributing significantly toward building this inclusive, dignified and sustainable future. We are ready for our infinite commitment.
Message from Emílio Odebrecht, Chair of the Odebrecht Foundation Board of Trustees and Odebrecht Group Board of Directors.
“By thinking of social commitment as the promotion of sustainable development, our work earns an even more robust and impactful dimension. And within this context, it is impossible not to recall the valuable contribution by the Odebrecht Foundation – which in the beginning was called the Emilio Odebrecht Foundation and was created by my father, Norberto Odebrecht in honor of my grandfather, who was also named Emílio Odebrecht.
Created to offer social, hospital, educational and recreational assistance, the institution has understood the importance of valuing people from the very beginning. Even back then, family was considered the link between the members' personal and professional lives.
The foundation reaches its 50th anniversary with a rich and dynamic history behind it. Its conviction that entrepreneurs need more than just an economic and financial vision of the market drives us to think about development tied to environmental, social, educational and health issues. The foundation portrays all of this as part of a long term, generation-based vision. Youth – the leaders of their families – are naturally part of this educational process on many different levels."
*Testimonial recorded in article and video from the Special Publication and Exhibit for the Odebrecht Foundation's 50 Years