Ralph Bietz, President and Global COO of Univera and President of the Board for Serve First, has been selected to host this year’s trip to Nicaragua! Read more about Ralph below:
1) A short description of yourself. What you like to do, your profession, any family details you would like to contribute.
My wife Ginger and I are blessed with a family of 6 sons and 3 grandchildren. For years I’ve traveled the world running companies and have been very fortunate to work for some of the marquee global corporations. I’ve also been very fortunate to be invited to study and research at some wonderful institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business; seminars & certificates from Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, etc. For my personal time, which is scarce, I enjoy listening and playing music, painting, going to art museums, botany, writing, and lecturing on my new books.
2) What is your favorite Univera product and why?
I love our aloe products! Aloe Select, Aloe Gold, Aloe in the Raw, etc. I have had some great product experiences personally and so has my family with Univera’s aloe. Aloe Gold has had a huge favorable impact on 3 of my sons.
3) What does Serve First mean to you?
Serve First has been a heartwarming and wonderful journey! From firsthand experience working with the charity organizations that are in the trenches doing amazing work, to being on the front line in the Dominican Republic interior, to receiving incredible letters from institutions in the field, and letters from those lives that have been touched by our Serve First Mission. Some people ask me how I have time for all this, I will say that once you experience the true meaning, you find the time!
4) How do you include the Serve First mission into your Univera business?
On a daily basis, I spend a bit of time working on Serve First either during the day or at night. It is also fascinating to me to make strategic changes and see them manifest, impacting the Serve First organization’s expansion, Serve First’s impact energizing associates, and seeing how they are taking this initiative to heart by hosting events, and seeing Serve First helping babies, children and families that are in need.
5) Describe how you felt when you found out that you had been chose to go on the annual Serve First trip.
My main concern is for all of our participant’s safety. In addition to this, my next concern is to make sure that they have a wonderful experience, seeing the Serve First organization in action on the ground, and experiencing the true meaning of Serve First and it’s impact on the children first hand. This will be a once-in-a-life-time experience for many, so it needs to be as professional and right as we can make it.
6) What are your expectations about Nicaragua? What do you think it will be like there?
Every trip is different with its rewards, and challenges. I remember special things from every mission and business trip that I have traveled on to various parts of the planet. When I went to Laos Nigeria, for example, in 2001 on business, the warmth of the people was just overwhelming. They were so generous and giving. Yet 80% live on less than $1 per day and 90%, at that time, lived on less than $2 per day. Yet whatever they had, they were the first to share it with you. I wrote an article a while back for the Seattle-Tacoma times, and referred to the wonderful smiles and kind nature that the people had. This has always stayed with me. In fact I’ll post it on my website for fun. Their smiles will stay with me forever! We lose that, tragically, in our fast paced digital society today.
7) What are you going to do to prepare for your trip? Physically, mentally and emotionally?
Physically: Lots of walking to get ready to go. Sitting in a boardroom all day is equivalent to a couch potato, so needless to say, I have some work to do! Shots are of course needed, Typhoid, hepatitis, etc.
Mentally: I’m thinking about what I can bring the children that could be fun and memorable for them. Last time I took the Spanish translated children’s story booklets and they loved them. Also, I need to think through all the arrangements and logistics with my Global Operations group to make sure we are as prepared as possible for my absence.
Emotionally: I’m curious about what this experience will bring. Who will I meet? What can I learn and will I learn? On the last trip, to the Dominican Republic, there was a little girl who followed me everywhere I went in one particular village. She was so quiet and stealthy that I didn’t even realize that she had been following me for a very, very, long time. Why? She just wanted me to pick her up, and hold her, and hang out with me, it was just that simple. What a great experience. Serve First can really ground you as to what is truly important at the end of the day. Someone Cares…. Isn’t that what we all want!