Founder & Director
Fernando’s journey of self-actualization began in Cambodia in 2014, where he travelled for the first time to volunteer for Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), an NGO that turns Cambodian children away from defeatism and a vicious cycle of drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, and violence since its foundation in 1996. There, he observed that Cambodian suffering didn’t end with the Khmer Rouge genocide; emotional dysfunctions, such as a lack of emotional self-awareness and empathy, and an inability to manage uncomfortable emotions, prevailed in the population.
Fernando saw a need for Cambodian children and adults to develop these skills, and after reading Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, he realized how he could be of service. At the time, Fernando was pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations and Foreign Trade in Madrid; but Dr. Goleman’s book opened his eyes to the importance of being aware of our own emotions, knowing how to manage them, and being empathetic towards ourselves and others.
After receiving his master’s degree, Fernando interned at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. There, he initiated, planned, and coordinated the first UN Conference on Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Goleman and his team, who participated in the conference, invited Fernando to take part in their Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification training program, and work for their company Goleman EI. Goleman EI trains coaches, business leaders, and teams in Emotional Intelligence.
He thus became an Emotional Intelligence Certified Coach, was appointed as Program Coordinator of the Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, and worked as a consultant for Dr. Goleman, helping his company deliver workshops to clients and business leaders. As the appointed School Continuity Program Supervisor in Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, he was responsible for eight educational programs, and coordinated activities and workshops for children and educators that helped develop the Emotional Intelligence of more than 3,000 Cambodian children. He was invited to speak in the World Economic Forum in New York, participated in several webinars and podcasts, and wrote the Emotional Intelligence and the Sustainable Development Goals chapter in the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Fernando’s dream is to help children and youth all around the world, as well as the adults involved in their development, build their Emotional Intelligence, with the objective of improving the future of their communities – and communities that have been stricken by war and poverty, in particular.
He is now the founder of The Ripple Effect.
Alfonso has been volunteering for the Cambodian-based NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) since 2015, serving as School Continuity Program Coordinator. There, he discovered his passion for child and youth education. He quickly realized that delivering quality education is the most efficient and sustainable way to have real impact on the lives of children and the development of society.
With a vision of contributing to the development of education in countries with youth constantly at risk, Alfonso pursued a bachelor’s degree in International Relations in Madrid. Participating in student exchange programs in Milan, Ottawa, and London, gave him an insight into different educational systems. At the same time, he developed an in-depth understanding of the relationship between the goals set by governments, the aid provided by international organizations, the structure set by companies, and the work performed by individuals on a grassroots level.
Alfonso saw a need to complement his structural and organizational understanding of the education system with an exploration of the ideal skillset educators should cultivate on an individual basis. His research led him to Dr. Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence. He quickly realized how developing Emotional Intelligence competencies could benefit educators and the education sector as a whole. He therefore decided to deepen both his theoretical grasp of Emotional Intelligence, and his experience of developing the competencies on a daily basis himself.
Now, as an intern currently employed at Goleman EI, Alfonso contributes to the Spanish Project Program. He is also Chief Assistant at The Ripple Effect. At the same time, he is pursuing a master’s degree in Emotional Intelligence at the Complutense University in Madrid.
Each and every one of his steps since 2015 has been in service of his dream to bring the best possible education to classrooms in post-conflict countries, and everywhere else in the world.