This week’s story is about Edu Seidenthal, Joana’s husband and the father of Gabi and Vitória, who, after having become a successful businessman and being sure he’d never become an entrepreneur, founded the Ubuntu Network, a collaborative network of people and organizations focused on the development of SELFtrepreneurship.
Born in São José dos Campos to an engineer from ITA and a psychologist, Edu spent his whole childhood watching his father and wishing to have a career very different from his: “When I was a kid, I used to look at my dad and say I would never do what he did. He worked for 35 years as an executive at Kodak and I could see that he got up very early, went into São José dos Campos for work and had a very intense work routine”
Ironically enough, a few years later, Edu found himself going down the same career path as his father. With a degree in business administration he became a marketing executive in multinational companies: “I started my career at Unilever, then moved to Philip Morris and lastly to Multibras, where I met my wife, Joana”.
After almost a year together, Edu and Joana decided to live abroad and Edu went on to do an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Babson College. The biggest lesson he took away from doing the MBA program was that he would never be an entrepreneur himself: “I left there convinced I would never ever become an entrepreneur for two reasons: the fact that the thought process of an entrepreneur is vastly different from that of an executive and because I was afraid of not having a fixed salary at the end of every month.”
Afterwards he resumed his career in multinational companies and at 31 he was already the Marketing Director for Latin America at Johnson&Johnson. But in spite of being so successful in his career at such a young age and being very successful by society’s standards, he found himself deeply unsatisfied, and no longer saw any meaning in what he was doing: “I had already had my first daughter and I was traveling too much; I had to be away from her and my wife to go all the way across the world to discuss if a particular brand of sanitary pads should have an extra channel… None of that made sense to me anymore and I was not sure what would”.
He decided to embark on a personal search to figure out what did make sense to him: “I embarked upon this search process; I went from coaching to astrology. I used a lot of techniques that started helping me come into contact with myself in different dimensions and the coaching was essential, since through it I was able to reach a specific life purpose based on three different pillars: business, human development and education. The biggest challenge was how to combine these three things and that’s why I decided to seek out and talk to people who were somehow involved with these three areas.”
In one of these talks, Edu met Oscar Motomura, founder of Amana-Key, who invited Edu to come work for him: “It was a very hard decision. I abandoned Johnson and at that point I had to have a juridical person. I remember that, at the time, Oscar asked me if I would be interested in becoming a business provider to him and other companies, with no fixed salary at the end of the month. That terrified me and I said I needed at least a fixed salary.”
This juridical person created by Edu would in approximately one year become what today is the Ubuntu Network (link). After one year working for Amana-Key with a fixed salary, Edu decided to follow Oscar’s suggestion and have the Ubuntu Network become a service provider to the whole market: “Six years after finishing my MBA and thinking I would never be an entrepreneur, I was launching the Ubuntu Network into the market. It is a collaborative network of people and organizations focused on developing SELFtrepreneurship”.
What gave Edu strength to become an entrepreneur was the fact that he suddenly had a clearer view of his purpose in life: “When you have a higher power pushing you, you have the courage to move forward. Our purpose is this higher power”.
Today the Ubuntu Network enables people to find their purpose in life through the development of SELFtrepreneurship: “SELFtrepreneurship is a learning process which helps people, teams and organizations to reflect on their purposes and develop their projects”.
That’s Edu’s life story and the story of how he discovered and manifested his purpose to the world. What about you? Do you know what your purpose is?
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