“We need to learn to be human, to really understand that all is interconnected and to work through all our divides that have created the present situation of unprecedented destruction and suffering. My mission is to create concrete initiatives with tangible results which enhance resilience & community. These projects are manifested as platforms, environments, and cultures of collaboration for positive change, mutual understanding and joy. I seek to co-create a sort of new language that helps to heal divides and allows us to then enjoy and benefit from our diversity.”
Founder of Sinal do Vale, Brazil
Councillor World Future Council
Thais Corral takes global citizenship seriously. A proponent of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and sustainable development, she has initiated and implemented several important projects in Brazil and internationally. The common theme throughout Thais’ leadership journey is her ability to draw people together, help them recognize their interdependence upon the earth and one another, and then co-learn and co-act for the common good. Her most satisfying moments in business are when she sees other people thriving, and finding their way to move creatively and in symphony with their passion.
“I think partnerships, connections and networks are a great resource of our times.”
The major changes that occurred in the late 20th century launched Thais into the world as a leader. Since 1992, Thais has been implementing global and local initiatives geared at mobilizing and strengthening sustainable development platforms. In addition to her own main initiative, Sinal do Vale, Thais holds key positions within various global leadership organisations and directs several regional efforts. Her untiring and passionate devotion to sustainable development, as well as her ability to bring diverse peoples together to co-create, co-act, and collaborate, have garnered her numerous global awards.
Innovative, Visionary and Enthusiastic
Innovative, because she relishes new ideas and their possibilities, and shepherds them to their full fruition. Visionary because she sees connections before others do and begins the work. And enthusiastic because she does not fear change and likes to move things.
Thais’ favorite quote is by George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man (woman) adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” In this light, Thais Corral is unequivocally and gloriously unreasonable!
Like water, Thais is opportunity sensitive. While she plans daily, her plans usually change as she flows in the direction of opportunity. In Thais’ world, entrepreneurship is synonymous with freedom to move ahead—and success means feeling content … feeling that you do not need anything else … that all is there.
“I have been entrepreneurial all my life. I am not attracted just by profit, but by creating possibilities that benefit people and the environment and by mobilizing resources to create new realities.”
Her One Life
Thais does not separate her life into two lives—professional and personal. She has one life and she lives it fully. When she is not asleep, she is working, interrelating, inspiring, nourishing herself and, possibly, hiking. Sinal do Vale reflects Thais’ one life, for what she loves most is to be out in nature, have intimate conversations and feel connected to others with synchronicity. In fact, entrepreneurship makes her life more exciting because every day holds the possibility of becoming an entrepreneurial adventure. She finds inspiration from her connection to places such as the Esalen Institute and Omega in the U.S. It’s no wonder that Thais’ business is a place of great beauty.
Thais’ global heart is a rich valley, enfolded by mountains and forests and ribboned with rivers, waterfalls and streams. The importance that place plays in sustainable development innovation led her to co-create Vista Alegre with Sandra Guimarães. Thais and Sandra designed this Center for Human Development to nourish, inspire and support leaders and social entrepreneurs as they tackle the dynamic challenges of an integrated and balanced human society. Embedded in a lush tropical ecosystem, rich in water resources and biodiversity, Sinal do Vale is the perfect laboratory where creative ideas, human connections, and dynamic conversations—all fed by the natural environment—alchemise.
“People need to meet and normal places are not adequate. Places are very powerful and they influence the quality of encounters and the decisions that people make.”
The flora and fauna of Sinal do Vale —in the Valley of the Green Angels and 50 km from Rio de Janeiro— reflect Thais’ richly hued inner ecosystem. Sinal do Vale hosts meetings, conferences and ecotourism activities, as well as designing the events and facilitating strategic meetings. According to Thais, the greatest gift she brings to Sinal do Vale is her knowledge that by building well-being, people can tap into their creativity. Thais gives great care to the culture of Sinal do Vale —a culture that exemplifies deep affection for people and how they do what they do, and the manner in which they interrelate with their environment and other people. This culture puts people at cause, rather than effect, to enable them to be the change they want to see in the world.
People are the lifeblood of Sinal do Vale. Thais seeks people who share the same core values—she finds staff from the local community who love the place. Also, foreigners come as volunteers and get excited about the way in which the business operates. Thais’ collaborative spirit shines; when asked where she sees Sinal do Vale in five years, she replied, “With more people working on the business and shaping it their way.”
Success and Sacrifice
Thais attributes five key elements to starting and operating a successful business: Clarity; Vision; Trust; Focus; and cultivating Good Health. As for the sacrifices of being a successful entrepreneur, there are many, she explains, but the biggest sacrifice is being responsible for outcomes, even when other people do not fulfill their roles.
Giving Women Voice
In the eighties, Thais envisioned and founded Communication, Education and Information on Gender (CEMINA). It was time for women to use their voices and assets to occupy a place in society, question traditional values, shake up old structures and forge new ways forward. CEMINA provided the forum for the women from Rio de Janeiro and from Brazil as a whole, to speak candidly about women’s issues. Thais is committed to ensuring that women will not, once again, be left behind and lack access and opportunities to this important tool for social development. Thais’ also orchestrated the design of a project to empower women in water management in Northeastern Brazil, among her many other sustainable development initiatives.
Is it no wonder that Isadora Duncan is the one person from history with whom Thais would like to speak? Like Thais, she was a visionary and very daring for her time.
This is what Thais has to say about cooperating with Trans4m: “Trans4m and Sinal complement each other. It has been a dynamic process of integration, alignment and entrepreneurship. First, the integral development framework has helped Sinal to explain its reason of existence and of articulating what we do in a broader field of knowledge, second it has helped to connect Sinal to students that are eager to practice what they have learned in theory. I also highly admire the values which orient the partnership: respect, curiosity, learning and joy …“