By Hans Ruijs on 16 April 2024

During one week in November 2023, a group of leaders and consultants from Switzerland visited several organisations and encountered the diverse social reality of São Paulo.

This study trip was organized for the second time by Hans Ruijs, together with Carolina Moggi from the local consultancy group Adigo.

Through workshops and face-to-face encounters, we learned from the experiences of others and other organisations and could improve our impact in our own professional lives. In this article our main experiences are described.

The group with leaders and consultants from Switzerland together with inspiring managers from Natura&Co.



“We are guardians of nature”.

We had the unique opportunity to visit an indigenous community belonging to the Guarani tribe. They live in the hills of the Parque Estadual do Jaraguá.

Their sacred land is in danger of being swallowed up by the city of São Paulo. The tribe maintains its identity and sees itself as the guardians of nature.

We had meetings with a woman leader, the spiritual leader and young members of the community.

More to read under this link.

Monte Azul

“Illuminating lives”.

The social organisation Associação Comunitária Monte Azul works in three favelas in the southern zone of the city of São Paulo, and we were impressed to see how several social initiatives are carried out through the dedication of the staff in difficult circumstances. We visited Casa Angela, a humanised birth centre, a therapeutic outpatient clinic and the “Illuminando Vidas” project, a mental health programme for children and young people. Monte Azul runs 12 CAPS (Psychosocial Care Centres) around São Paulo.  Another highlight was the dialogue we had with young students at the School of Resilience at Horizonte Azul.

Natura & Co

“Embracing our business model as a social choice”.

Natura & Co is a global, purpose-driven, multi-channel and multi brand cosmetics group that includes Avon, Natura and Aesop. Three businesses committed to generating positive economic, social and environmental impact.

Most of their products are sold by women.

It was very inspiring to meet this company and their people. They create a huge impact in the society by addressing social and developmental issues. Natura is guided by principles like:

“Life is relationships. Nothing in the universe exists by itself, everything is interdependent. We believe that the perception of the importance of relationships is the foundation of the great human revolution in valuing peace, solidarity and life in all its manifestations.”

Natura has shown us what can be achieved in the world when continuous investment in people development is a matter of course.


Estrela Nova

“A safe haven”.

The non-profit organisation in Brazil is located in the favelas of the Campo Limpo region of São Paulo, an area overwhelmed by poverty and crime. The organisation has been in existence for more than 39 years and was born from the need of residents to do something about their own living conditions. Estrela Nova provides a safe haven for children and young people from the neighbourhood. It offers the children and young people a chance for a better life. Without Estrela Nova, many of these children would face a hopeless future.

We were warmly welcomed by the staff and founders Jos and Hermien Schoenmaker. In the last 3 years they have successfully handed over the leadership to Luana Schoenmaker and the board of directors. We were given a guided tour in the favela and were surprised by a group of teenagers who performed on a rap show for us.


“Adapt to different local needs”.

The contact with Logitec was provided by Hans Aerni, Consul / Head Swiss Business Hub. Logitech failed with the first market entry to Brazil and re-entered the market a couple of years ago very successfully. Today, Logitech is the market leader in computer peripherals in Brazil (keyboards, mouse etc.) with a premium priced product in a very price sensitive competitive environment.

CEO Jairo Rozenblit lead us through his personal Logitec’s journey and his inspiring views on leadership and collaboration.


Some Impressions from the participants

“I have come into contact with myself in encounter with the world.”

“I am still very full of our time together in Sao Paulo. For me, it was like looking up into the starry sky. In my everyday life, I have realized that I can lift my gaze again and again, look up into the sky and connect with myself and with what we experienced together in Brazil.”