We believe that a man is not measured merely by the words he utters, but also in his ability to realize his ideas that can benefit the world. One such man is Jimmy Stice, the CEO, and founder of Kalu Yala village in Panama.
Mr. Stice finished a degree in Marketing at the University of Georgia. Since then, he has a passion for business and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. After graduating, he became part of the Atlanta Investors Group, which allowed him to find real estate ventures in Panama City and surrounding areas. This was the monumental beginning for his business, as he merged his ideas of sustainability in a community where resources are vastly present. With his innovation, creativity, and passion, Kalu Yala was born.
In 2008, Jimmy Stice founded Kalu Yala in Panama, a remote village that he envisioned as dynamic, self-sustaining and environmental-friendly. He wanted his village to be a model for future communities who want to reduce their carbon footprint and preserve the ecosystem for generations to come.
Since Kalu Yala’s founding, Jimmy Stice was able to pool like-minded investors, professionals, students, and travelers to provide resources and expertise for the village. It has grown substantially in 2009 and paved the way to create innovations not just for the village, but also something that can be useful to our society. He believes that his ideas will inspire and propel other business to create products and services that embody natural preservation and reduction of waste.
1.What was your best/favorite subject in school?
I was always interested in science back when I was much younger. I loved learning about the natural world, the systems that encompass it, and the variety of wildlife we can find in many parts of the world. Science has really been one of my greatest strengths. Eventually, in college, I took a special interest in business because I wanted to have the skills to concretize my ideas.
- What was your first job?
Apart from the regular summer jobs that students have, my first jump into having a serious career was actually my inclusion in the Atlanta Investors Group. I had a difficult learning curve to tackle because I knew I was swimming with the big sharks. It was challenging but I learned a lot being part of a big company.
- Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I took a Marketing degree during my stay at the University of Georgia, so being a part of an investors group was pretty much in line for me. This gave me the opportunity to see real estate opportunities in Panama, which led to my founding of the village.
- How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
First of all, my involvement in Atlanta Investors Group allowed me to have an in-depth knowledge of the remote areas of Panama. I saw that it was a land with potential, and considering its accessibility to the metropolitan area, allowed me to attract more investors to Kalu Yala. Understanding the biodiversity of the land we took on, the resources available and logistical characteristics helped me to be prepared to launch my ideas.
- Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
I consider every day a blessing. But what I could not forget is the founding of our village in July of 2008, where we first started building and creating projects of sustainability. It was a realization that hit me – I am one step closer to helping build communities that can protect our natural resources.
- What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Aside from the expansion of Kalu Yala ideas that excite me the most are those which involve finding ways to generate energy from renewable sources. If more people would find ways to outsource energy making use of what’s already available, rather then destroying what is limited – that truly excites me. I am also open to sustainable living business ideas such as eco-friendly products and utilities.
- Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
The truth about Kalu Yala is that I was open to was allowing media as a tool for others to know more about the village. Although it was a risk because media tends to over-sensationalize some things for the sake of viewership, I believe that we have nothing to hide and our company is proud of the influence we have made in our industry and I firmly believe that social media didn’t bring about any Kalu Yala problems.
- What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I won’t consider the village as a personal achievement, rather it is a collective achievement done by the great professionals, investors, students and travelers who took part in experiencing the remote town and improving its systems for sustainability. I couldn’t have done it without the help of others, and that gives me a personal fulfillment like no other.
- What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
One thing that I have learned not just an entrepreneur but a student of life, is to pursue your ideas with passion. If you have something to contribute to making the world a better place, then run for it with much gusto. Do not waste time by letting other people discourage you. Surround yourself with individuals who believe in you and celebrate your achievements with them.