Tai Barroso. Co-founder and CEO of Beyonder.Me, a platform creating a market for local talented artists, dancers, chefs… and travellers wanting to get an out-of-the-ordinary, authentic sustainable-tourism cultural experience. Tai is both social entrepreneur and political activist. And first of all: a massively big heart. Here’s her story. – Interview by ASTRID SCHRADER
The Arc: Tai! Wonderwoman. We love the business you are building. So many will admire your drive, your courage and your ability to just pull things off. Who is the woman behind this?
Tai: I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, around 30 years ago. Beloved oldest daughter of survival entrepreneurs, I grew up learning to be resilient, grateful and joyful. I could even say that is on my blood. I dropped out of college, founded a collaborative house, learned how to paraglide, travelled a lot, lived in a indigenous community, been an athlete, a photographer, a graphic designer, a tour guide, a projects manager, a video maker, a facilitator of women’s meetings… I have learned how to learn, I´ve been a representative, I´ve compromised myself into a spiritual path. I´ve been allowing myself to be so much and yet I feel there is space and time to be even more. This is what entrepreneurship is about, for me: giving yourself and others the possibility of being “more”.
This is what entrepreneurship is about, for me: giving yourself and others the possibility of being “more”.
The Arc: At The Arc Lisbon 2018 we met you as someone with big vision. And your mission wasn’t limited to “find work that you can be passionate about”, but you wanted real life impact. What personal experiences have shaped that enormous drive?
Tai: I´ve spent almost 10 years of my life performing with territorial development and social empowerment projects in urbanism, social entrepreneurship, collaborative methodologies and unschooling in different contexts in South America. My professional experience with territory on-site-work and my curiosity and will to learn and observe people and territory together with my observations of nature (yes, nature!) it all has brought me here!
The Arc: You are a social entrepreneur in countries where raising big money is typically hard. You work in the favelas. With vulnerable groups. You literally surround yourself with challenging environments. It must have been clear that this would be super hard. How can you be so fearless?
Tai: I know the world is hard, and by only being that clear about that I feel that there is a personal responsibility into doing something about it. Wasn’t it someone that said that “with great knowledge comes great responsibility”? Well, that’s what I live for. I chose my flag and not only that, I chose a path and sticked to it, adding humbleness learning and allies on the way and in my toolbox, and I also chose context. I work territorially because that’s what creates the sense of belonging, which creates sustainability and resilience. We have to believe in something right? I am fierce with guaranteeing talented and awesome people to keep doing what they do the best weather its art, dance, music and food. Beyonder.ME is one of the tools I have to do that.
We have to believe in something right? I am fierce with guaranteeing talented and awesome people to keep doing what they do the best weather its art, dance, music and food. Beyonder.ME is one of the tools I have to do that.
The Arc: So you were a participant at The Arc Lisbon 2018. We ourselves always struggle to explain what happens at The Arc. Out of curiosity, what did YOU take away from it?
Tai: It has been clear in my whole body the importance of being present and how powerful it is to be 100% there, for the others and for your ownself. I feel even more powerful, more connected, more my own self. And I am very grateful for our group and our facilitators that held that safe space for me to just relax and allow that inside of me.
The Arc: Last but not least: In 30 seconds – who do YOU dare to be and which IMPACT do you wanna stand for?
Tai: I dare myself to have fun and pleasure every single day of my life supporting awesome and talented people to keep doing what they love for them and for their territories. That’s the impact I stand for: guaranteeing the maintenance of cultural territorial knowledge thru the people who guard it, or Cultural Guardians.
The Arc: Thanks so much for the interview.