Santiago's Open Road

SANTIAGO JARAMILLO

CEO & Co-Founder
Emplify

“The myth of overnight success is one of the most pervasive and harmful narratives out there—those stories are like winning the lottery, you can’t plan on that. Reality looks like applying 10 times to 10 different jobs, trying 10 different experiments, and watching all of these things fail, but getting back up and trying again and trying again and trying again.”

INTERESTS:

Entrepreneurship Business

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Struggle Perseverance Individualism Transitions Self-Reflection Failure Talent Values

FOUNDATION:

Being Creative

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Born in Cali, Colombia—his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 10 years old in order to flee the violence from militia groups and drug cartels.
  • Admits he often struggles with his identity: “I’m not Colombian enough to be Colombian and not American enough to be American. I’m a third culture kid, a mix of both, which gives me an advantage.”
  • When he was 18, he had a choice to either stay at home, go to community college, and be around other Colombians, or he could go explore and see the “real America” away from his community.
  • Left home and attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he started as a philosophy and music major, but quickly switched over to business when he realized his passion was not in academia.
  • On a scuba diving trip to Australia, his skipper told him a story about his love of the ocean—this inspired him to start a journey of “finding his ocean”, that one thing he can’t live without.
  • Has been business-minded from a very young age—he sold avocados and toy spinners as a child, started teaching after-school music classes in high school, and ran a storage company in college.
  • He realized the driving force of his life was being creative and that an extension of that was starting businesses—“I began to see business as art, creating something bigger than myself."
  • Inspired by the statistic that we spend half of our waking lives at work, he set out to create a company that would help employers and employees find more satisfaction and fulfillment at work.

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