Influencer Saneleo Petronella

Interview November 2018

We have been experiencing you as a very dynamic person since we met you in 2015. You were born in Curaçao and you are fond of your family. You went to the Salesian University in Venezuela planning to become a religious teacher (studied Theology, the science of religion). But, because of the difficult and worsening socio-economic situation in Venezuela, you returned to Curaçao in 2011. Your company is working for a middle-sized company and you are involved in the sales department of this company. You speak Spanish very well and you are a very social person that can connect easily with other people, that is why you started in the sales department.

But, you are also very humble and a down to earth person. You have grown up to love animals and your vision is, that all children in Curaçao also learn to love animals. In your vision, this is a way to learn children emotional intelligence. Give them responsibility to care for an animal and they will develop compassion.

You are now chairperson of KOABA (Kooperativa Agrario Banda Ariba) and they offer vegetables and fruits every single week up for sale. You are a religious person and this gives you lots of strength.
“Yes, I am a very religious person and this combined with some routines like going to church and prayer gives me so much strength.”

You have always been interested also in personal development and you have followed leadership courses at LDI – LMI Curaçao offered by Roxana Croes-Berg and was inspired to do this because of how people can change when they go to courses on leadership and personal development.
“I saw how my uncle Luello Girigorie, now Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs his attitude towards life has changed drastically and this has inspired me and still inspires me, to change myself in a very positive way.”

If you would meet a stranger in the bus and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
 “How are you, a good and productive day to you. I am Saneleo Petronella and I am a servant of our society.”

Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
“My role models were, apart from Luello Girigorie that I mentioned before, also my grandfather.”

What are some of the challenges, lessons learned, that you have encountered in your life when you ultimately discovered your talents and strengths?
“First of all, I had this feeling that I have wasted lots of time in my life, but then again I began understanding, that without these experiences I wouldn’t have had the results that I am experiencing now. Now, I know what my talents are. For me it has always been important to look at my personal journey from the positive side and this allows me to learn from mistakes I have made in the past and use them as stepping stones to continue with my journey. My biggest challenge is being sufficiently disciplined. Discipline is such an important pre-requisite for success.”

What was a defining moment in your life, a setback that later turned out to be a great blessing?
“In 2005 my mother passed away and I felt a big emptiness in me, that I wasn’t able to deal with until 2011, six years later. I found a book my mother gave me in the past, describing in great detail whom I am and what my talents and strengths are. This was a defining moment that changed my life totally.”

We have always experienced you as a very dynamic and opinionated person? You influence a lot of people. Where does that come from?
“When I reflect on my life, this has been the common thread through all my life. It was like this in Curaçao, in Venezuela where I finalized my advanced studies, and in all organizations or activities where I participated in. I always wanted to know and go back to find out what are the origins of things, I always looked to explore issues from different angles and this investigative mindset I have always used, before coming to any kind of conclusion. This resulted into me listening to different people and reading a lot. By doing this I always get a deeper understanding of issues, enabling me to explain situations from different angles and suggest specific solutions, and this is usually very appreciated by others.”

What are your other strengths?
“My humbleness, passion and willingness to always share.”|

How would you describe Saneleo in one word or one sentence?
“Humble, passionate and dedicated to serve his community.”

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
“My drive is my desire to help others and to see the good in other human beings.”

Where do you want to be 10 to 15 years from now?
“Ten or 15 years from now, I want my company to be stable and strong. My company entails the nursery and construction of greenhouses, but also advisory services to home (non-industrial) farmers. I want part of the profit of these activities to go to my foundation that I founded, that aims at giving back to children and our youth, via the love for animals, teaching them compassion and understanding of the importance of agriculture but also the understanding for a sustainable and healthy environment.”

Can you share with us what are your personal and/or business goals for the short term and long term?
“Short term: To make my company profitable.
Long term: Have enough funds to give back to our society to children and our youth.”

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 25 years from now?
“That they would consider me to be a very humble, caring and successful person.”

Saneleo, since we have met you way back in 2015, you have shared with us your vision on the potential of the agricultural sector in Curaçao. Can you expand on this a little more?
“I believe in lots of opportunities, that exist in the agricultural sector on all levels in Curaçao. Most of our farmers are not using modern techniques and technology in their farming, neither do they use the best way to plan and organize their farming.

I believe that there are lots of opportunities and “ways and means” to improve in these areas. I will mention a few possibilities.
I am convinced that the moment we start to teach and educate a willing traditional farmer to learn the new possibilities, the farmer in due time will see important positive changes, like in:

1. A more efficient production, meaning higher output per crop;
2. More efficient use of water;
3. Better control of the costs of production;
4. Better use of inputs used to guarantee the output;
5. Improved planning of the production;
6. A more diversified production;
7. More financial resources to offer more workers job opportunities.

This is just to mention a few opportunities. This will translate itself into spin-offs, to mention some, like:
1. A higher quality of their products;
2. Improved regulation of the production to prevent waste of locally produced products, because of overproduction of one or more products;
3. More job opportunities in this sector;
4. An agricultural sector that is better controlled;
5. and an opportunity to classify products in 3 categories.

If we transformed and migrate into using these modern methods, like the use of Greenhouses (a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, agriculture UV plastic or shade cloth in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown), Container Farming (manufactures farming units from recycled shipping containers), Hydroponics (a method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent), Aquaponics (a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish and other aquatic animals), Aereoponics (is an indoor gardening practice in which plants are grown and nourished by suspending their root structures in air and regularly spraying them with a nutrient and water solution) to mention a few, with the right knowledge we can produce even more, we will have better control over the costs, the quality of the products being produced, better calculation of the prices of the end products (fruits or vegetables) and more uniformity in the products being produced,…. etc etc….
I am just mentioning these points and I am not being complete, because there are more opportunities.”

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?

“I have taken a decision to become part of the solution of the country and I have decided to dedicate my focus on positive things happening in Curaçao. By changing my lens, this gives me the opportunity to see lots of opportunities and positive developments in Curaçao and it is this that keeps me optimistic about the future of Curaçao. I just wanted to illustrate the vast opportunities that exist in the agricultural sector. For me, instead at looking at our situation from a point of view of problems to be solved, I choose to look at the solutions for the challenges we face. When a country is confronted with challenges, that is the golden opportunity to look for solutions. The moment that – and this could be any citizen on Curaçao – we start looking at solutions, we will start finding opportunities for ourselves, others and for the whole of the society. I firmly believe that agriculture, be it industrial or at home on a very small domestic scale, is an alternative for the challenges our country faces. Let start looking at solutions. I firmly believe that on different occasions we have identified these types of solutions. Let us make use of these so that each one of us can be part of the solution that all of us so desperately long for.

To end this interview, do you want to share anything else that might be relevant for those reading this blog?
“I would like to share a quote that works for me:

“If you are not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined”. Paul J. Meyer”

One of the 250 Influencers
As the core group of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Saneleo Petronella, because of whom he is, dedicated and passionate in serving our society by offering value to our agricultural sector and also starting to take baby steps in teaching children and our youth, the love for animals, teaching them compassion and understanding of the importance of agriculture and teaching them the understanding of a sustainable and healthy environment. We definitely consider him one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at connecting dots and creating value for the whole of the society.

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