Influencer Haidel Haile
Interview December 2019
Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I am married and I have 2 teenager boys. I have one sister and my mother is still alive, and both my parents were very supportive in whom I have become. They gave me unconditional love and a push to be the person that I am and that is a person without any limitations, irrespective of the circumstances. They taught me that I am the one determining my destiny, no one else. My father, my “warrior of light”, taught me to believe in myself and always encouraged me to stay on a growth path, giving meaning to my life. He always guided me in that endeavor.
Could you share with us some of your educational background and when did you start as a business owner?
I graduated from at Questrom School of Business, Boston University with a Masters degree. I worked in different jobs, but I always wanted to start my own business, which I did in 2005 on the 15th of December and that is 14 years ago we bought El Tributo.
We first met way back in the beginning of the nineties, as you were a member of Rotaract. Rotaract organized a big conference on privatization at WTC. There is were we met, do you remember?
Yes, I remember in the beginning of the 90-ties. British Guyana was one of the first countries in our region that started with the privatization wave and we as Rotaract organized this big successful privatization conference. We have invited a minister of Guyana to be one the guest speakers to enlighten us about their experience. It is remarkable that our minister of economic development recently visited British Guyana to discuss economic opportunities in the petroleum industry.
We also used to go to the same dancing after work hours on Friday. Back then you had the ambition to become active as a member of the supervisory board of government owned companies and you were of the opinion that your generation was not respected enough. Now almost 25 years further you are an innovative and successful businessman. Did your generation succeeded in getting influence and are doing a better job than the generations before?
The answer is yes and no. Here and there a youngster broke through the ranks, but mostly the supervisors are the same kind of persons. So that is why some of my generation decided to use their talents differently. I decided to buy El Tributo. My grandfather from my father side also had a business. Unfortunately, when he died during the Second World War, the business ceased to exist. So maybe I got my entrepreneurial spirit from him. Also, my father used to bring home a carton of cigarettes for my grandfather on my mother’s side. He always gave it to me, to give it to my grandfather. However, instead of giving them to my grandfather, I would sell it to him because he would buy it anyway. So I don’t know if I should be proud of doing this, but I did it and it showed some entrepreneurship at a young age.
We consider you an Influencer, because in the business you are in now, funeral services, you have brought this to a totally new level of excellence, not only in the service that you provide with a lot of compassion, but also in the positive way that you are marketing your services. This innovative mindset where did this come from?
Wow, ….I am not sure I am an influencer…but I would to say is that I am very open for new things and open to change. The world constantly changes and people constantly change. I read a lot and I am open for other people’s opinions and this influences my own approach to life and my businesses.
You as El Tributo are also sharing with the society with your Thanksgiving event, in that sense fulfilling your corporate responsibility role, which is not usual for all local businesses where did that come from?
This sharing comes from my upbringing. My parents were from humble beginnings, but I grew up with all the brothers and sisters from my mother’s side and they were a big family, at my grandmother’s home at Charo, Otrobanda. As I was the first grandchild, I grew up in a home where most of my uncles and aunts were still living at my grandmother’s house. It was perfectly normal to share, as my grandmother was a very sharing and socially connected person. My mother is also a person that whoever knocked on her door for help, she is willing to help. So I automatically I developed this character trait, it became part of whom I am, that is to share. The most fun thing to do for me is sharing a great meal and good wine with friends and family. So, against this background, it all started.
We wanted to have a remembrance concert around the end of the year, holiday season. The holiday season is when you remember a loved one whom has passed away, at least for most families this is like that, whether you want it or not. So we came up with the idea in bringing people together to share this moment so they know that they are not alone in thinking about their loved ones who passed away. And music is the best way to express emotions and feelings. Music is a universal language where you can express any kind of emotion or feeling. That is how the idea for a remembrance concert started and though we change the name in Thanksgiving Concert it is still has the remembrance part in it, but now we also incorporated the expression of gratefulness. Gratefulness from our company to the public in general, but also to offer people that attend the concert the opportunity to express their gratitude in whatever form they consider appropriate to whomever they want.
What does success mean to you personally?
Business-wise, this means to have satisfied customers. The customer should be satisfied with the service that we promised to offer. On a personal level, I am a very humble person. I am not so much into the words “being successful”. I just set up goals and I achieve them. My driving force is to achieve them, I know when I achieve them I feel happy. I am not a person that is attached to material things and / or seeking recognition from other people.
How do you celebrate your successes?
I celebrate by sharing time with friends and family.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now?
I want to be a person of value for the community at large. And this is related also to innovation and change for the better of the company and myself. I am open for what crosses my path and whatever I can discern and make use of, I will adapt to it and take it up. But at times I can also by a micro-manager, just to let things just flow better. I don’t mind doing whatever it takes to deliver the products or services that are required. If I have to do it, I will do it for the good of all.
Like the other day I saw a supervisor at a hotel that was “supervising” while there was a need in serving people. I gave this person a feedback about the need. She let me know that she is a supervisor, and she will send a server. It was obvious that there were not enough servers for the event. So sending a server would not solve the problem. To me, it doesn’t matter if your formal function is being a supervisor, if the circumstances require you to get involved on a operational level you just do it. Just do whatever it takes to deliver excellent services, and it doesn’t matter if you are the CEO-owner of the company.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
I am passionate about offering the best services we can and be the best I can be. At times, I have a difficulty in letting go and delegating. At the same time, I see so much potential in people that they are not using fully. I asked myself how come, humanity at large is so bad in learning from past mistakes. Why do human beings keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again? That is what puzzles me and it is a challenge to deal with this phenomena.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up?
I rely a lot on my intuition and inner voice and I sometimes get mad on myself when I don’t follow it, because it feels like the famous phrase: I told you so”.
How does it work for you?
Mostly by reading books, magazines or any form of reading materials. I read books on all subject matters. It could be arts, science fiction, history, spirituality, self help books and while I am doing this I get my sense of direction. Reading helps me a lot in coping with my feelings and emotions. Most of the time that what came up first was the right thing to do in hindsight.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
I read a lot and when necessary and I have the time I attend conferences and / or training sessions. Also I use the Internet to acquire more knowledge and skills.
What are your strengths?
I am a very responsible person; I persevere and don’t give up easy but I am also a very patient person.
What is a trait that is “work in progress” for you and that you really want to improve?
At times, I would love to have some more self-control. When I am passionate about something and it doesn’t quite go in the direction I want it to go, I can get irritated and I might say something that I would later regret while it was not my intention.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Reading. When I was in Rotaract about 25 years ago, we once attended a conference in Venezuela that was focusing on personal development. One of the assignments was to answer what you would do if you only had one week, one month or three months to live. I answered on all three questions that I would read. So reading is very important to me, but also spending some great quality time with my family and friends enjoying some nice food and some good wine. I also like watching great movies, good concert or plays.
If you as Haidel 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?
I would introduce my self by stating that I am Haidel Haile and I would most probably tell them where I come from.
How would you describe Haidel in one word or one sentence?
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
Of course my parents but also some colleagues and bosses that I have worked for as they would just mention in one word or one sentence something that would encourage me like:”.. You have so much potential in you that you are not even aware of..”I was always walking around with this idea to start my own business. Once a friend of mine mother asked me what I wanted to achieve in life. As I shared with her that I wanted to start a business, she told me that she would love to be an investor in that company. I never asked her why, but it gave me an extra boost and impetus to start my own company, which was something I dreamed of doing.
What was a defining moment in your life?
The birth of our first child was a defining moment in my life.
Where do you want to be 15 years from now with your career?
I would be in a position by then where I can leave the day-to-day management of the business over to some one else, who will be able to further expand the company, compared to where I have left it. I will be involved in something that is to the benefit of the society like “practicing law” and be involved in the education and development of other people.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
Thank you for being part of our life.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
Curaçao is an island with people that have lots of talents / potential. With proper leadership and guidance, we can excel. This is already happening with Kurasoleños excelling abroad. The mix of different cultures enhances our ability to develop our humanity, and I believe that we can make much better use of this ability that we have as a potential. That is why I am optimistic about our future.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Be grateful for all that you have right now.
One of the 250 Influencers
Haidel Haile is a humble, grateful, low profile, hardworking
businessmen, who loves spending time with his family and friends. His focus on continuous personal growth and his focus on excellent customer service makes his companies a stand-out in his branch. Haidel is a firm believer in the future of Curaçao as he believes that with the right leadership environments, we can enable those with talent to excel. As a representative of the business sector his companies are a model in terms of social responsibility, as for example every year El Tributo offers to the public in general a free “Thanksgiving concert” around the end of the year, holiday season. On a personal level, in the not so distant future his aim is to further use his talents knowledge and skills to the benefit of the society like “practicing law” and be involved in the education and development of other people. We love and deeply respect Haidel and definitely consider him one of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao.