a collage of scenes from a mango farm

“My great grandfather was a farmer, so working with the land felt like a project with a clear purpose.”

Paris-based Bertrand Launay never expected how a turn as a mango farmer could fulfill a personal passion while also helping empower a local community.

If you travel high up in the Brazilian Bayer mountains, where the climate is temperate and the soil is rich, you can grow some of the best mangos. I learned about this from spending the past nine years immersing myself in the environment and agriculture, and this experience has become a passion for me.

This opportunity to work on and own a mango farm came at the right time, as I started to question my purpose in life. I felt I had an opportunity to help others. My great grandfather was a farmer, so working with the land felt “tangible” to me—a project that had a clear purpose and could also be an exciting adventure.

Purple mangoesThose who know me personally will hopefully attest that I like to do things the right way. The farm’s employees are “family” who we want to thrive and develop with us. It is important to our farming family that we foster a supportive environment. While many farms in the region employ people for two or three days at a time, we wanted to develop more secure and longer-term employment opportunities.

Together with employees, we also learned about agronomy and how to maintain the ecosystem in a healthy and sustainable way to safeguard the future of the farm. I even used the learnings to improve my own garden here in Paris!

Since we wanted to create the best quality organic mangoes, we chose not to use pesticides that damaged the environment. Currently, we are also in the process of changing our power supply from traditional to solar.

The farm is divided up into 20 quadrants. By using the Microsoft suite—SharePoint, PowerBI, Teams, and PowerApps—we can closely monitor the statistics and trends of specific areas and then create a plan to optimize our care of the area.  We must be really patient, though, and respect the rhythm of the weather, as rainfall, wind, and fires are all out of our control.

I am a family man at heart and so—perhaps most importantly—I am pleased how this adventure has helped bring my own family together. I have a daughter and two sons, and two of my business partners have sons around the same age. We are all enjoying bringing them into the business and teaching them everything we know. With their help, we hope our farm will continue in the years to come.

Bertrand Launay, Paris, France

A woman smiles at her son while they play a puzzle

“I thought that if I wanted to raise a family, I couldn’t be a working mom.”

Brittany Valdes struggled to find her place between two sometimes conflicting identities: motherhood and professional life. Now, she’s rewriting the narrative about working mothers.
Two women in a kitchen laughing as they hold a jar of shea butter

“I understand that I make my own home, and that’s many places at once.”

Awa Diaw knows what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land. In fact, that’s her home.
A man lays on a hammock with his children, a boy and a girl, who hang their legs over his lap

“I’m part of something that’s so much bigger than me.”

Chief environmental officer Lucas Joppa's childhood playground was a forest. No TV. No computers. Now, he's betting our planet’s future on technology.
Huong Haley sitting on a couch with her husband and her parents, looking at scrapbook photos together

“I want to help others get a little bit closer to their own dreams.”

Huong Haley, the daughter of a Vietnamese prisoner of war, speaks up about how her background—which she identifies as “first generation, low income”—surfaced challenges during her transition to corporate life. Now, she’s making it easier for others to find their way, too.