Influencer Dupal Persaud
Interview August 2020
Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I was born in Curaçao and my significant other, Tiffany Cristina and I, have a priceless 3 years old princess. Parenting has really changed me as a person. I have 3 sisters and thank goodness my parents are still alive, and I am extremely grateful for that. They have always been very supportive in my journey, although they didn’t always understand it completely. It might sound a little like a cliché, but they gave me the room and space to let me do what I considered the best course of my life. If they had been strict in my upbringing, I would never be where I am right now in my life, as I am very satisfied with the person I am at this specific moment in time.
I come from a mixed background if you look at my appearance. Like my grandmother comes from Bonaire, on the other side of the family tree, my granddad was from Guyana, so I am truly a melting pot creation, this allows me to relate with the Caribbean history and understand how we in Curaçao have a community that is super diversified from so many backgrounds as I can relate easily as I come from diversified roots. And I am proud of this background as I know where I come from living in Pais Kòrsòu and where we stand here in Curaçao, I cherish diversity. This also is one of the strengths of Curaçao by the way, this diversity in our ethnicity compared with any country that doesn’t have this multi diversity, makes us stand out as we can deal with people from North and South America, and Europe with ease. This gives us a competitive advantage.
What kind of business are you exactly and what services do the company offer?
I work at Inova Solutions and what we offer to the Caribbean and Latin American market is “Business Transformation”. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner and as a tier 1 solution provider we offer all Microsoft products. We operate as a global business because our competitors, operating in the same markets, are global enterprises and the fact that we can sit at the table and offer better solutions. It is all about the great value and quality of service that we offer. Being a local company, executing professional work, working efficient and staying flexible makes customers choose Inova Solutions as their trusted supplier. I work in a team where online meetings and working remotely is part of our daily life, we have built a resilient modern workplace and were working like that before the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the start of the lock-down, we were busier than normal as the market was forced to adapt to a new normal and digitalize, as business must go on. Continuing business in the traditional way was no longer possible. For us, we took our devices home and continued to work from home, as we do not depend on the office infrastructure. Shifting to working remotely in 2020 was neither a CEO nor CIO decision, it was the effects of dealing with the pandemic that forced the transition upon companies that needed to continue doing their business at that moment. We were able to respond almost immediately by offering business continuity solutions to the public sector, private sector, and other organizations. This entailed modernizing and implementing a secure remote work environment. In two to three months a transformation took place that would normally take 2 years. It was something incredible and in sense a curse, the pandemic, and a blessing because of the transformation that took place in such a short period of time.
Could you share with us some of your educational background and past professional experiences?
I went to study Information Technology in The Netherlands, I started studying this in Curaçao as I thought it was possible to study IT in Curaçao, but it didn’t match very well with what I wanted to do, so I shifted and went to Amsterdam. But I stopped in my 3rd year, as I came to realize that this was not the only thing that I wanted out of life. I want to achieve a lot more. Way back in 1997 my father bought 2 computers, 1 for him to work on and the other one was for his children to use. We also had internet connection. So, I was fortunate, at a very young age, to have a computer I could use as a tool to access more. This triggered a tremendous curiosity in me for the IT-world. I am quite handy and love playing outdoors. I had a fantastic youth growing up, but I always stayed curious about IT and stayed in that field. But I realized that this was not the only thing that I was interested in.
It was a life changing moment to stop my studies. I started a course in investment in Curaçao when I was on vacation on the island. This opened to me a new world of possibilities to grow and become financially independent. Choosing for this, taught me so much more than a school education would ever be able to offer me, as I decided to invest time in knowing more of what I considered necessary to grow and become a person that is significant and of ever growing value. I learned about dealing with real life cases and talking to amazing people that are successful on areas that were interesting, significant, and valuable to me. This path I choose also involved talking to people that made a change to others and had a significant and fulfilling life by serving, and this was for me a much more fulfilling path. My parents supported me in this. Somebody once asked me if I have no regrets to not having a degree. I told him none whatsoever. The universe is abundant enough to have put us together and let our paths cross and it is giving us the same opportunities to grow further. In my opinion there is one obstacle though to my growth and that is “Time”, time is a currency that cannot be bought. I am very aware of this constraint.
After I stopped my studies in The Netherlands, I went to work for several big Telecom companies and worked in different departments gaining lots of experience and in 2011 I decided to come back to Curaçao and join a recently started family owned company. We were delivering supplies to the hospitality sector. From an employee in the IT world, I joined the business world and there I had the freedom to decide whatever I considered the best for the business and learned through trial and lots of error, learning from life lessons and all else you need to know to grow the business. I was forced to develop my entrepreneurial skill and personal skills to excel in our society always aiming for the best. As soon as the airplane landed, this was the next thing I was involved in. I knew what I had to do but was insufficiently aware of how hard it would be to make it through it. The lesson I learned almost immediately was, if you have tried 10 times to make a sale with no results, I had to adapt and became much more result oriented. After this period, everything I did, that did not end up with a greater result, for me was a waste of time. I became absolutely result oriented and this gave me a shift.
We were referred to you by Adric Walter. We have understood that you are a JCI board member and you have been involved in different activities as JCI member. Where does this interest come from?
I am grateful for what JCI has meant and still means to me. Participating in the Creative Young Entrepreneurs Award connected me with the JCI organization. A great deal of my personal skills development is due to the JCI-organization, whose aim is to provide development opportunities by empowering young people to create a positive change in the world. It is a global organization that aims to serve humanity by developing leaders. My biggest takeaway in being part of the JCI organization is, I learned to serve humanity by leading in every sense and in every way possible. By being in the JCI –board, by participating in projects, courses, attending international conferences that open up a worldwide network that you can tap in, gave me a supplementary education opportunity.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
My Big Why is to have a purpose driven life. Whatever I do, must have a meaning to me and for me to have fulfillment, I need to be exemplary, a good role model for my own and future generations. What do I mean by that? Becoming a parent, which I already mentioned, was a life-changing moment, gave me a soft spot that one can only understand the responsibility involved if you are a parent, I believe. My beautiful intelligent child is keeping me sane and helps me define whom I want to become for her, for my partner and family, and my surroundings. The question is; “What am I going to do about it?” This is what I use, to share with others. People need to have perspective in their life to reflect on their mindsets that might limit them because of fear, materialism or living in a limiting environment. That is a mindset of limitation. For me, it is important, as my drive is, to chase my 10-years older version. It keeps me sharp to be the person I want to become, ten years from now. This is my inner goal. It might seem to others that I am very self-centered by doing this. However, it creates the space to fill my cup of tea first and be able to serve more and more people so that they can reach their purpose and find their meaning in life. It is an evergreen process, because ten years from now I would again be chasing a ten years older version of myself. So, this never stops for me, just like the world keeps on spinning, I will always try to stay one step ahead. I can serve more people by improving myself first and the more people I serve, the more it motivates me to improve. It is an infinite look.
When do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
First, allow me to give a definition of what being successful means to me. The amounts of time that I fall must be lower than the number of times that I get back up on my feet.
That is one of the success formulae that I use. Another way of looking at success is: “…As I grow older, I want to make more mistakes but less of the same mistakes. I do not settle for the ordinary, and I sincerely believe that I am crazy enough to make a difference in this world. I am a shaker and mover and I literally question the status quo and I am determined to shift the status quo for the better.
Within 5 years we would then be discussing the value I offered through serving. If I had increased this significantly compared to what I am offering at this moment, then I would be successful personally and business wise.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
Most of my time goes to my work and I work in a global minded professional environment, we have more affiliates in the Caribbean and we have a diverse group of people we work with in our line of business. We move fast and how we operate happens in a problem-solving mindset. We benchmark our output on the international level.
The moment I leave the office, go home and continue the day, I end up on an island called Curaçao and I bump into an isolated limited mindset environment and feeling. I live in a bi-polar environment with two realities, where there are big differences and it requires a big mindset shift because of how big the differences are between these two realities I live in. The upside on the other hand of this challenge is that it gives me the same comfortable feeling in a uncomfortable position as it gives me the space to grab, pick and choose what functions and implement it to create a better future. I can pick out of both these realities and let me develop the best of what I think of, or do of what I believe in. I feel comfortably uncomfortable in this position that allows me to create what I believe that needs to change and be implemented.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up? How does that work for you?
Honestly, I have more conversations with my inner voice then I have with other people. My inner self talk is not only about dilemmas, it also happens with achievements, doubts, anger, happiness, fulfillment and everything that happens. There is a lot happening in my mind. How do I deal with it? I have a power circle, that is a group of people where I can echo this inner voice with. To cross-check if that what I am thinking is ok or not. This is how I stay connected.
On top of that, if I need a perspective that is totally different, I can reach out to a person that can offer me this different perspective. I value people who have independent minds because they have the tendency and courage to tell you their perspective on the topic at hand from a different angle and I appreciate that a lot.
Once I feel that I am the smartest person in the room, I look to add smarter people or I humbly leave the room. I have the gentle courage to do this, I know this for myself to be true as I am working to improve my average constantly.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
In this world we live in right now, it is mainly webinars, seminars and I read books that have a sense of knowledge that I can apply. I do not read about fairy tales, I do it with my daughter and it is nice to have. I am fully engaged in books as it is experience in a nutshell. You gain lots of time learning where and how not to screw up, so I read all types of books that have a great sense of meaning that are helpful to me and to others.
What are your strengths?
I am by nature very optimistic, so talk options and possibilities with me. By, at the same beat, I am also very realistic. Options and possibilities also need to be somewhat achievable. We trust optimism and being realistic, I try to see the good in anything and look of ask for the solution.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I have a lifestyle; I have become a morning person. I align my habit to the 5 AM club. My day starts at 5am in the morning and I take time for myself to prepare for the day, read a book and stick with my workout routine to stay mentally and physically fit. After that, my day starts for the rest of the world. It is a lifestyle that contributes to all we just have discussed, and I love doing this. There is no excuse not to do something very early in the morning. This gives me in terms of time, an additional extra month on a yearly basis and I tend to do this as much possible.
I love music. I listen to music during the day as long as the rhythm and melody inspires me and fuels my emotional senses to stay in balance. Especially when I am very focused to include the human aspect in the tasks I am involved in. Music gives me this fulfillment.
I also love cooking. I love creating a variety of flavors that triggers your taste buds. I do not always do it, but when I am in the kitchen, I enjoy all of it.
If you as Dupal would meet a stranger in the bus (let say in Holland or the US) and they would ask you to introduce yourself what would you answer?
Driven by challenging the status quo, I am extremely curious and I want to know how I can be of service to you.
How would you describe Dupal in one word or one sentence?
Determined, strategic thinker and result driven.
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
I have to think of this for a moment……A small fact that had a big impact on me… it was a teacher that taught us computer programming and he told me: “Dupal, simple is good..”. Afterwards it became clearer to me what he exactly meant to say and this gave me a lot of peace of mind. Because in programming, the opportunities are endless. What I was trying to do is, making it the most comprehensive application possible. He explained to me “no, don’t do that. As long as you keep the things simple, you are good”. That triggered within this epiphany: The process to making things simple, is complicated, but always try to keep things simple.
In my family, there were also some people that I had long conversations with that had impacted me. One of them was with Billy Hoogenbergen, my uncle in law. Billy once told to never ever change to be the person that you really are. Maintain this in whatever you do. I was still a teenager when he told me that. This was before I went to The Netherlands for my studies. Meaning, always stay authentic while you progress in life, and never ever lose it.
Another person that definitely inspired me was my grandfather from my father’s side. I never met him since he passed away before I was born, but from the stories that reached me about him, he took care of his family members so that they could progress. He left Guyana and came to Curaçao and started a business here and he helped lots of families to have a better future. He inspired me to understand that “…your current situation is not your end destination…”. And this I could recognize in my father and I took this trait over.
What is a trait that is still work in progress?
The ability to understand that not everyone can see things that I see. This is teaching me to become more patient, more understanding, broadens my ability to see deeper perspectives, and sharpens my vision.
What was a defining moment in your life?
The most recent defining moment was the day I became a father. Everything that I thought was important or relevant in this life, all became insignificant because there is a human being that for will always carry forward whatever you present to her. This was a next phase that moved me to refocus, re-shift, re-align and understand the valuable key aspects of a purpose driven life.
Where do you want to be 15 to 20 years from now with your career?
Managing assets, because I want to have more time to spend with my Loved Ones since time is the only commodity that I cannot control. It is another shift compared to what I am doing now, but it is the path that I want to follow.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
That it was not always easy for them to understand what I was thinking or doing, and at the end they noticed that I always do it with the best intentions, with all my abilities to be a better person in their surroundings. I made a title of a document, let us call it a book named “Let me tell you how I did it”. I cannot predict if it will be a book, but they will be able to read or see anything I failed and accomplished, from the simplest to the most adventured, complicated journey Dupal ever touched.
We are climbing out of the lock-down now and just starting to open our borders back since the first of July, because of the presence of the Coronavirus in the world. What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
First, my optimism is in my own hands. If I want a better country, I am the first one that must work to make this place a better country. This optimistic look is the same mirror we can look in and see ourselves in. I constantly reflect on this check and balance view.
Secondly, I have a 3-years old princess where I want her future to be brilliant and it is my responsibility to make this happen. On top of being an optimist by nature I have a deeper reason to comply with the vision about the future and do it for her, for the next generations.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Curaçao is not the center of the world. If we want to portray Curaçao as the center of the world, we must make sure that we deal with the matters at hand with the importance and seriousness that is aligned to make this country, the center of the world. By innovating our economic pillars, by having the courage to do things that we have never done before. See, this is the only way that we can state that we have given it our best to create a better future for Curaçao. And then let the world determine if indeed we truly are the center of the world.
We should not let ourselves be the self-fulfilling prophets in this. Keep on going, let us keep challenging the status quo by executing things we have never done before that will give us the results we all desire.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to share this moment and I am open to any person that wants to exchange ideas or give any feedback, they can contact me and I always appreciate an honest feedback.
Connect with Dupal Persaud
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Dupal Persaud is a driven, curious, strong-willed, focused, authentic and purposeful father of a 3 years old daughter. Her birth was one of his many defining moments in his life, as with parenthood came new responsibilities to his family. As an early riser (5 am) Dupal is involved in a never-ending chase to emulate his 10 years old version and becoming his best possible version. Living with the clear objective to max, the development of his abilities has at times made him choose for the path least travelled. Going through the leadership possibilities offered by JCI has honed and still hones his leaderships skills. From his grandfather, father and JCI, Dupal learned and accepts that his purpose is “to serve”. Working in an ICT company that is competing in the Latin American and Caribbean markets and living in Curaçao with its diverse cultural mix, has made him aware of his bipolar environment with two realities, which challenges him to be uncomfortable comfortable living in both worlds and pick and choose what can be implemented as a solution to create a better future and to serve, measuring his success in the increased number of value added to the people being served. In this sense, Dupal stands out at his young age (36 years). For all this, we deeply love and respect Dupal as one the 250 Influencers on the island, representing the private (ICT-sector) business sector.