Cecilia Regueira – Instituto Hartmann Regueira

Cecilia Regueira – Instituto Hartmann Regueira

The Drucker Institute recently hosted a global symposium. A number of leaders at the symposium noted the way their own relationships with Drucker influence their business decisions and strategies. Really, they were talking about so much more – an organization’s need to educate and care, and its people’s need to learn and commit.

I thought I would share one of those stories with you in this blog.

Cecilia Regueira – Instituto  Hartmann Regueira

A family therapist, Cecilia lived for over 20 years in Weston, Connecticut.  In 1990, she and her husband decided to return to Brazil, where she had been born. Cecilia was not licensed to practice in Brazil. When she arrived, she was invited by the secretary of education to help deal with the pervasive problem of violence in the schools.

The homeless and hopeless children she saw shocked her.  She learned that in Rio de Janeiro alone 50 children drop out of school every week and join the streets. That is more than the number of Americans who die in Iraq every week. In effect, that is a death sentence because many do not survive. She decided that she needed to somehow volunteer and reach these kids in the streets rather than spend her time in schools from which many of them already had fled.

On visits to the streets, however, she quickly realized that she’d chosen an inefficient and even dangerous way to solve the problem.  Over the next 15 years Cecilia built an organization, with a staff of 25, to reach out to kids on the edge. She convinced a telephone company to donate a mobile unit to each of these kids so that she can send them messages. If she knows there is a job at a shoe factory and she knows that a child is interested, she messages that she has set up an appointment.  On certain days, she lets kids know that there is a free movie.

As Cecilia was building this organization, she needed to convince people that transforming people brought results.   She realized that she had no management skills, so she went back to school and read Drucker over and over again. Cecilia is convinced that understanding Drucker helped her put fire in the belly of everyone in her organization and make the whole work.  As she told me repeatedly, “We need values, we need accountability – we need a different kind of work.”

Her organization is seen as a pioneer in Brazil – an NGO with explicit management practices partnering with the government.  Now she is looking to help transform her own society.   As such, she has set up an organization to strengthen the third structure and train other NGOs in the Drucker philosophy.  Her tools include Drucker’s seven modules for self assessment:

  • Commitments and accountability,
  • Financial management,
  • Network and partnerships,
  • Monitoring and evaluation,
  • Human capital,
  • General management, and Governance.

Cecilia holds workshops with the NGOs 12 times a year. She then visits the NGOs to help them apply all the learning in the seven modules, and  her organization monitors the impact on the NGO – in 2 years, 3 years, and then in 5 years. (See www. institutohr.org.br). In short, Cecilia is just starting.

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One of the action steps from the global symposium is the creation of a website for a global conversation around social responsibility. This site is targeted for launch in early September. If you would like to be alerted when the site is running, please register here.


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