I just couldn’t smile.

It was one of those photo-shoots where smiling just really didn’t feel right.

I was interviewed for my university magazine a couple of years ago, and they needed some professional photos. Chico, a friend of mine, and a known photographer from here was hired, and we headed to one of the poorest areas of the city. The magazine wanted a taste of the types of projects we work on.

I found myself in the most extraordinary place around here. The rickety wooden structure behind me had a family of pigs living in it. Huge pigs that were being raised for food. Staggering.

But as I was there, I also couldn’t stop thinking about how important it is to have these experiences.

To truly understand the reality of other people.

The word empathy kept flashing in my mind.

The ONLY way we can empathise is to experience something. And once you experience something. You understand. And the more people that do that, the better the world becomes.

And THAT is something to smile about.

We have just been shortlisted for the Learning Awards, specifically the Learning Give Back Award.

This is a big deal.

Because, now, more than ever, the world needs leaders from within the private sector who are empathetic and simply more human.

Leaders that are consciously aware of their leadership styles, able to step out of their silos and comfortable with uncomfortable situations. Leaders that can challenge the status quo, and up for driving the world in the direction it needs to go in.

By connecting professionals with real issues around the world, TIE creates a catalyst to help people unearth this potential and evolve to be the absolute best version of themselves. And while doing this, connecting them with each other, with nature, and with other people around the world in a meaningful way. Liberating possibilities.

We teach character, nuance and humanity. And how it can be best applied.

This is about lasting appeal and impact. And helping people realise they can be the DRIVERS of change.

This is evolution and expansion. Expanding brains, expanding connections, expanding possibilities.

This is limitless learning.

And having the Learning Awards see that too is exactly where we need to be. So fingers crossed for the next round. Wish us luck.

It’s time. Let’s change things!