Antonio Luiz de Paula e Silva
This profile was prepared when Antonio Luiz de Paula e Silva was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Antonio Luiz has turned what was once a traditional management consulting firm into the Christophorus Institute, an unusual reference center which trains the managers of citizen sector organizations while offering young professionals the opportunity to become agents for social development. His aim is to strengthen the management and effectiveness of social institutions by linking their staff with a new generation of socially-minded business consultants, thereby developing new paradigms of cooperation to enhance leadership and managerial skills in the citizen sector. Antonio Luiz seeks to resolve the managerial and sustainability problems of the social entities that intervene directly in the community, and to effectively contribute to the formation of young professionals with abilities and techniques in the field of organizational development. While other management programs offer prepared recipes from business experts whose experience is very different from that of social organizations, Antonio Luiz focuses instead on a "best practices" approach, based on information-gathering with the people and institutions he works with, relating their objectives to their actions. Moreover, the Christophorus Institute serves as a tool in the search for viable and sustainable forms of achieving institutional mission, forming a new definition of action strategy and project implementation by working together with the institutions' staff.His creation of a non-profit consulting firm has two interesting dimensions: on the one hand he is opening a new "profession" to young consultants, built upon a consistent, clear and unified message, so that they can link their expertise to the mission, vision and core values of citizen organizations. On the other hand, these organizations' experience is leveraged in partnership with the young consultants in such a way that their social expertise and experiences are not lost within the process. While most courses and short-term consultancies available to the non-profit sector identify problems and propose solutions, regardless of the specific situation of the entity and without following through during the implementation of their recommendations, the Christophorus Institute accompanies its clients throughout their process, working together to build and sustain social capital.