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Interview of Nigel G. Salina - An International Consultant, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur

Nigel G. Salina - An International Consultant, Philanthropist, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur in Trinidad and Tobago


Nige G. Salina is an Entrepreneur. Regionally, he is well known for his record shattering performance at the Caribbean’s largest insurer, visionary outlook and strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Nigel was appointed Chairman and CEO of the global arm of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerate in 2007. Over a five-year period, Nigel led a sales and distribution team whose performance was unparalleled. He now consults and works with a number of companies in the USA, Canada, Africa, Dubai, Singapore, Indonesia, Europe and Trinidad and Tobago. He also consults with a number of companies in the Energy Industry on African strategy.


Nigel is involved in a number of charities. Foremost among these is the Living Water Community where he lived and worked as a missionary for 7 years. In 2007, Nigel founded the Mercy Foundation, a division of the Living Water Community. Nigel also initiated a programme at the La Veronica Roman Catholic School for SEA students. He is a founding board member of CREDI, the Catholic Church’s tertiary education University. Nigel initially funded this organization. He also works with The St. Augustine Chamber Orchestra.

This episode we talked about:

  • Talking about the future trends of technology. Both private and public support for changes in Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Future with the new leadership coming in.

  • Bringing in Robotic Process Automation technology & new technologies to parts of the Caribbean.

  • How does the internal decision process differ from one area, country or one culture to another one.

  • Countries or the areas where we are seeing the explosive growth. Billion Dollars investment ideas in multiple areas for digitization by great leaders.

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Transcripts: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer to the Transcripts:

The transcript was generated using an Artificial Intelligence program and then scanned over; we would like to thank you in advance for understanding that there might be some inaccuracies. While reading, one might also notice that there are times were the sentences are not grammatically correct and due to changes in advertisements, the time stamps do not always align with the show. We are keeping the text as true to the interview as possible and hope that the transcript can be used for a reference in conjunction with the Podcast audio. Thank you and enjoy.


Intro 0:01

This is Silicon Valley Tech behind the scenes a podcast hosted by Shawn Flynn and Sunil S Ranka. Here's where we talk to the real heroes to find out how decisions are made, and how they're executed to create the thriving businesses of tomorrow.


I think it's time now for those countries to start working together, building relationships, having closer ties. So let's say for instance, the countries in South America, India, Africa, I think it's a great time now for those countries that will not the world powers in the past or another world power, at present, to start really working towards building having stronger ties, sorry, and also building from the relationship, because that's where the future is really, if you look at India, Africa, China, those could be the emergent market.


Shawn Flynn 0:55

And that was Nigel Salina, who we're proud to introduce to the Silicon Valley Tech Community. On today's show, we talk about the adoption of new technology. Is there both private and public support for changes in Nigel's home country of Trinidad and Tobago. Where are the future trends in technology, and his involvement with the United Nations operations all over the world and much more. So let's start the episode. Enjoy!


Nigel, welcome to the Silicon Valley Tech Podcast with your host, Sunil S Ranka and Shawn Flynn myself, now we're very excited to have you as a guest on our show, we’ve known you for years now. In fact, you know, we spent time in your home country, Trinidad and Tobago, you know, we're just joking about this sport called cricket with many of our audience probably has no idea what that is, you know, for our audience at home, could you give us a little background on who you are, what you've accomplished and things you're working on right now?


Nigel Salina 1:53

Yes, thank you, Shawn Thank you Sunil for having me on the program. I really appreciate, you know, bringing me on this program today. So just to give you a little background, I am an International Consultant, Philanthropist, Public Speaker, and many other titles. And my background rarely is in social work. I started off my career in social work with one of the leading charities in the Caribbean. And then I got recruited to work with one of the larger insurance companies and Caribbean and then the largest insurance company in the Caribbean, they recruited me, and I became their top producer. I then became a board member and I was then asked to become the Chairman and CEO of the global arm of that group, that Insurance Group belong to a group of 70+ companies and we were operating in 34 countries in every continent except Antarctica.


Shawn Flynn 2:44

Wow, Nigel, I mean, this journey is pretty exciting. But, you know, with your home country, Trinidad and Tobago, what do you see as some of the future trends in technology?


Nigel Salina 2:54

We just came out of an election and both political parties, we have two main political parties in Trinidad and they make up maybe about close to 50% of the population voting population support these two political parties. If you read their plans, which they refer to as their manifestos actually both talked a lot of planning in their manifestos and future plans, you saw a lot of technology, they were both saying that they were going to take Trinidad and Tobago along the path of technology along the part of a fully digitized country.


Shawn Flynn 3:30

Now, when they're saying fully digitized country, and the next step in technology, I mean, what does that mean, exactly? Where is it currently? And where does it want to go?


Nigel Salina 3:39

I would say we are behind the curve. In terms of if you look at countries like in Africa, for instance, like India, we're not countries Africa is a continent. In Africa, you're seeing where they are FinTech and a lot of different parts of technology they are they are way more developed they we are. You look at a country in Europe like Estonia, which is known as this, I would say the model or the benchmark for digitization. And we are behind the curve. However, I think we could leapfrog in many ways, because of the fact that we are small state, you know, it's small states, it's not as difficult once you have the will and having that will and then moving forward with plans and programs I think you could really leapfrog the rest of the world. So I think we have behind however, it will not take us long if we have the government, private sector, civil society, all working together to move towards, you know, technology and using technology for not only for the government, but across the board with regards to the country.


Sunil Ranka 4:45

This is perfect segue Nigel, where we are talking about the future trends of technology, you've been a leader in the space and the area, which is by the World Economic Forum is going to be the most upcoming part of the world, which is Africa Trinette, Bakwin, a lot of large companies have done a lot of investment into that part of the world. With the adoption of the new technology is both private and public sector support for the changes and what do you see the future with the new leadership coming in?


Nigel Salina 5:16

I would say both private and public and you know, like, for instance, one of our largest chambers, the Manufacturers Association, they are now adopting Industry 4.2, you know, they're moving towards that private sector there's been a drive towards technology. I mentioned Industry 4.2 Robotics, you know, RPA is a lot of different new technologies. Some of those technologies may not be new for the developed world. But for us as the developing world, certainly, that the RPA is etc. They are all new technology so we have adopting those technologies were there a lot of the country, the company sorry, adopting them. And in terms of the government's if you look, so I'll go beyond Trinidad for just a little bit in terms of countries in the Eastern Caribbean, they are now moving towards full digitalization. So they are working with the World Bank and other multilateral organizations to take them to that place of full digitalization.


Shawn Flynn 6:18

I just want to pipe in real quick, I'm not sure if our audience knows this. But right now, you are working with Nigel here and bringing in Robotic Process Automation technology to parts of the Caribbean. Can you share a little bit about the progress? And how's that going?


Nigel Salina 6:34

So I think there are two areas really, one would be in the private sector & the public sector, it's always efficient. So I'm not saying that the private public sector is not efficient, but the private sector, because private sector is driven by profits, it's much easier and more efficient to work with the private, very private sector. However, public sector is also moving towards the whole area of technology. So I think what we are planning to do is to really work first with the private sector, and then to move on to what's working with the public sector. So the plan is twofold, private and public. But first working with a private sector and then moving towards working with the public sector. There are a lot of opportunities at the end of the day, because I was indicating we are behind the curve.


Sunil Ranka 7:24

Yeah, so Nigel, I mean, whatever we have done gather, right from the the way you are holding up the technology summit and the way you are holding up the technology series with the different leaders of the party. I'm very excited about the work what you are bringing into that part of the world for the community. You mentioned your involvement in Africa. Do you see a lot of opportunity there for the tech companies? And if so, what are the different areas, what you envision?

Nigel Salina 7:52

Yeah, I would say, you know, in terms of the RPA there are so much that you bring to the table in terms of these services, in terms of the products and I think what would be useful at this time, in my opinion, is to expose more and more of these corporations, these countries to some of the technology that you know, you in Silicon Valley would take for granted. As you know, Silicon Valley, do you have so much going on in terms of technologies for so many years. Since the 70s after the 70s, it really exploded. So we are now behind the curve. And I think more and more we expose companies, we expose the various countries, and especially the small island developing states, I think they would adopt this quickly because we are now as I reflected technology is the great equalizer in my opinion across the world, because we see what happened in Africa with the mobile technology.


Sunil Ranka 8:51

So you talked about technology, you talked about the changing culture, you talked about the behind the curve, so many different things. Knowing Trinidad and Tobago and Shawn, you talked about cricket, that's an integral part of it. So at one point in time, for our listeners went West Indies, which is Trinidad and Tobago and few more islands are part of it. It was one of the lethal team in the world cricket. And they won many World Series together. And in 1983, there was a huge cultural shift where underdog India won the 1983 World Cup. Yeah, but if you look at the history of Trinidad and Tobago there are so many cultures and Shawn, you talked about roti when you went there. So that's an integral part of Indian culture. And as I'm talking to more and more people, there is a there are a lot of Hinduism. There's a lot of religion. There's a lot of Indian influence. You have grown up with so many different cultures and you have experience working with so many cultures, right from Africa, UK, you headed company, what billions of dollars in revenue. How does the internal decision process differ from one area or one culture to another one?


Nigel Salina 10:05

Very interesting question Sunil. We just had an election and what you see is some of the all ingrained parts of the culture that divides us, you would see it were airing its head around like an election period. However, by and large in Trinidad and Tobago, we live peacefully, you have many different cultures, people coming from different countries and different cultures, but certainly in terms of in terms of the US living together as a as one people that is one of the gifts that we have in Trinidad and Tobago, although we have many different cultures. So for instance, you would be familiar with Sunil because of where you're from India. In terms of Diwali, it's a bit it's a celebration that the Hindu community they would celebrate in Trinidad. However, all races, all religions take part in that festival. And it's similar to when takes place which is the Muslim holiday, then for Christmas, all religions, all cultures, we all celebrate, and we come together. So by and large, we have learned not only to coexist, but we have also learned to live in unity. And I'll watch what it turns out, actually, a watch would sorry, that discipline, production and tolerance, we have learned to live with each other in harmony and unity. And we continue to grow and develop as one people, although we all have our differences. And we come from different backgrounds, different cultures. And that is not only for Trinidad, if you look at throughout the Caribbean and the small island developing states. It's something that I think to the Caribbean, we we we are proud of.


Shawn Flynn 11:45

Speaking of harmony, and unity and everyone getting along. I mean, right now there's all these trade agreements, there's disruption in the supply chain, the world economy is being shaken up a little bit. With all this happening right now. Do you see any positive outcomes, potential positive outcomes in the future?


Nigel Salina 12:03

Well, you know, a lot of people have been talking about so I will kind of off track a bit, but I'll come back, we're talking about COVID-19. And how that took the world, how we are no, you know, Indian, in terms of the that entire pandemic, pandemic sorry, been experiencing such disruption. However, I think there's so many opportunities, and that is similar to what you're talking about with regards to trade. Now in trade, we would normally, our trade agreements would be with the North, and I've been an advocate, south trade. So in other words, all the countries that are in the south, I think it's time now for those countries to start working together, building relationships, having closer ties. So let's say for instance, that countries in South America, India, Africa, I think it's a great time now, for those countries that will not be world powers in the past so another world power, at present, to start really working towards building having stronger ties, sorry, and also building stronger relationships, because that's where the future is really, if you look at India, Africa, China, those are emerging markets. I think it's important for them, those emerging markets to build strong relationships and ties.


Shawn Flynn 13:20

Speaking of Africa, I mean, most of our audience, I'm guessing, not too familiar with what's happening there right now, what countries or areas of tech, are we really seeing explosive growth.


Nigel Salina 13:32

So I'm not sure if you saw this end, yes. But Jack Dorsey had made a decision to go to Nigeria for six months. And the reason he made a decision, while the board had other ideas, the reason he made a decision, and so many of the other tech companies are investing in Africa, it's simply because there are opportunities there. I could never forget, in 2000, The Economist the magazine did a cover story and they refer to Africa as the failed continent 10 years after the change out to Africa rising and the reason for that is more and more countries in Africa, the middle class, they're growing and because of that middle class growing, and you would find that much a lot more disposable income, not only do we have the middle class for him, but we also have population growth and because of that, you're seeing more and more the demographics, there's a shift. So those countries are coming into wealth. And because of that, there are opportunities there. Hence the reason why so many countries are investing in Africa. As a matter of fact, China made a decision years ago to invest over $500 billion in Africa and new investments.


Shawn Flynn 14:42

So that 500 billion, how's that being distributed? How much of that has already been allocated? If you have any numbers or information that would be.


Nigel Salina 14:50

I don't have to read the numbers off the top of my head, but I'll give you some example. You had a lot of investments in infrastructure. We also had investments in energy and mining etc. and Dangoty, who is the is the richest man in Africa. He has, he's just, he's right now, commission in a $15 billion Petrochemical Complex. Let me just repeat that a $15 billion Petrochemical Complex.


Shawn Flynn 15:22

So Nigel is right now we got to wrap up. Anyone wants to find out more information about you what you're working on. And in fact, do you want to talk a little bit about an event coming up that you're organizing and the people that are on the panel with you and yet more information on how they can find out about it.


Nigel Salina 15:39

So in terms of that event, it's James Laurie. James was the first black consultant that the the number one consulting firm in the world, which is McKinsey, he was recruited in 1968 and James became an Advocate for McKinsey to employ more blacks and minorities. And by the year 1999, there are over 100 black consultants in McKinsey. James then went on to become Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group. And he also has his own company consulting company, the author, he is philanthropist and entrepreneur. You know, I could give you the list of descriptions for James. So he just wrote a new book, Change Agent, and he's doing a Caribbean and African launch of that book. So James, who have been a to interactive panels, one with business leaders. So we have like the person who owns the large minority retail company in the world. We have Gervase Warner, who is the chairman, the President and CEO of the large group in Trinidad. We also have Camille Wardrop Alleyne, with a NASA Rocket Scientist. David Adjaye was named in time 100 most influential persons in 2017. Barrington Levy, who was the youngest and first draft was in the flight he was solo. I can't remember the figures because but we have quite a lineup that takes place on Thursday.


Shawn Flynn 17:02

So Nigel, with all this happening and everything that you're working on, for people to stay up to date, what is the best way for them to find out what you're working on getting contact with you.


Nigel Salina 17:13

But there are two ways they said make it go on with our website, Global Business Leadership website https://www.globizlf.com/, contact me via my email address, nigelsalina@gmail.com


Sunil Ranka 17:29

Thank you so much, Nigel, for your time today and it's been a great pleasure and we are looking forward for working with you more. Thank you.


Nigel 17:37

Thank you. Thanks very much.


Outro 17:40

Thank you for listening to Silicon Valley Tech behind the scenes. To find out more contact the team or to be a guest on the show, visit our website at svtechpodcast.com. We look forward to hearing from you and remember to support the show by leaving a review to encourage us to keep creating great content like this


About Host Shawn Flynn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnpflynn/ Sunil S Ranka: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sranka/ Shawn Flynn: +14159523165 or shawn.flynn@svtechpodcast.com Sunil S Ranka: +14082428232 or sunil.ranka@svtechpodcast.com For Interview Related Questions Contact Anjani Sharda: anjani.sharda@svtechpodcast.com For Generic Questions Contact: info@svtechpodcast.com


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