Alvaro believes in creating a bridge for investors seeking integrated solutions on how to optimize geographical resources and capital with the goal of maximizing financial and social returns. He has focused on industries that are essential to the economic development of Latin America.
“Clean and low-cost energy can do a huge amount to reduce poverty. When the cost of energy is more accessible, the quality of life radically improves.”
Alvaro Baltodano, Integra Group
As a young child, Alvaro grew up between Mexico and Nicaragua. This helped him experience different cultures & emerge as an adult with strong interpersonal skills adept at solving problems, making him flexible and adaptable in ambiguous situations, able to relate to a variety of people, and culturally aware.
Alvaro knew that he wanted to become a business man and worked diligently to turn this dream into a reality. He is a self-made entrepreneur, who owns Integra Group, a company involved in the acquisition and development of businesses in Central America and México. He has acquired companies in a wide variety of industries to include a large sugar mill, sugar cane plantations, clean energy companies, and real estate. He has proven an ability to identify great business opportunities as well as his keen sense for obtaining the right partners with the capital and expertise necessary to make the business succeed.
Alvaro’s business acumen is widely variant which helps him in a constantly evolving business environment. Most importantly, he is a person with a strategic vision and a keen eye for identifying business opportunities in which his knowledge can be used to take the business opportunity into a successful model. Additionally, his keen ability in identifying opportunities to be socially responsible as well as his strong awareness of business ethics ensures his sustainability in a competitive market by standing out above other organizations.
What defines a successful leader?
A successful leader is someone who can inspire others towards a common goal regardless of Job hierarchy or context. A great leader finds opportunities amidst difficulties and knows the importance of putting others before them. For me, a leader has to have a strong work ethic, enough confidence in himself to take risk, enough strength to fail, learn from mistakes and get back up. A good leader has the humility to accept errors and recognize that he does not have all the answers. A leader cares to understand people’s aspirations and knows that focusing on the needs of others is key to fulfilling their own goals.
Culture and talent are important to any company’s success. How do you engage and inspire your workforce?
My philosophy on how to build a great company has never changed. Nor has my belief that building a culture of respect, meritocracy and equality for all are key pillars to employee engagement. To fully engage an employee, one must have a clear & well-defined vision of where the company is heading. Avoid transmitting uncertainty and fear, nobody follows a leader riddled with doubt and insecurity. Creating a culture that sets the standards of conduct is an essential form of engagement. A good culture is reinforcing and transmits to employee engagement. Everyone likes to be informed, to feel connected, to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves, having great communication mechanisms is fundamental to engagement. To create a good business culture and engagement, employees have to understand the importance of their role to the overall end goals of the organization, internal innovation has to be fostered. Lastly, meritocracy, transparency, feedback and accountability must prevail.
Innovation and disruption are reshaping industries every day. What do you see as the number one game-changer facing businesses today?
As technology becomes cheaper and cheaper, digitalization, artificial intelligence & IoT will be ubiquitous. Corporations who have started to adapt to tech and use it to make data driven decisions will hold a key competitive advantage for businesses of tomorrow.
Challenges abound in today’s fast-changing business environment. What keeps you up at night?
I see three main changes disrupting businesses, that is technology, resource depletion & globalization. According to UNICEF, there is one billion children living in poverty. Almost 3 billion lack access to toilets and one billion lack access to clean drinking water. If we analyze one industry, agriculture. The need for innovation will only increase as populations rise while water and other natural resources diminish. Today ag-tech is doing things we have never seen before, although the ag-tech market is highly fragmented, albeit even with its challenges, ag-tech can significantly cut costs. With that said, the majority of these technologies are targeting large scale players, although a large part of the market is made up of smaller farmers with low income levels. What keeps me up at night, is how can we fast pace our advances in technology and use them towards the individuals that need these advancements the most.
Why did you join Bloomberg Breakaway?
I was drawn to Bloomberg Breakaway because of the opportunity to interact with industry leaders & participants from all parts of the world. The cross-pollination of ideas from disruptors to industry leaders can lead to create mutually beneficial relationships, acquire new strategies and different perspectives and learn new skills on how to become a more efficient and better leader.
Even CEOs need downtime. How do you recharge?
First and foremost, just by looking at my kids and spending time with them, this fuels me to continue despite occasionally feeling fatigued. Second, keeping a healthy balance of work and exercise, I start everyday by going to the gym and I try to make time to play golf at least once a week if I am not traveling. I love spending time on the internet and learning new things, through interesting articles, discovering useful websites and reading opinions and habits of successful people in history. Just the idea of having unlimited access to content that took someone perhaps years of research and dedication is mind blowing. It makes me value and respect the potential of the internet and the impact it can have connecting people and solving problems from all parts of the world.