We had the good fortune of connecting with Juan Diego Cubillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juan Diego, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
If success were a pie, risk is the main ingredient. It is the key that unlocks doors. I firmly believe that we miss 100 percent of the shots we don’t take.
My family took a risk by immigrating to this country, despite uncertainty. I took a risk by being the first in my family to attend a university, despite how expensive it is. Some people do not take risks because they fear failure, which I totally understand. I can appreciate caution and patience. Taking risks, however, can be cautious and patient if we learn to take calculated risks.
As an author and entrepreneur, I have taken a similar approach. I calculated the pros and cons and took the leap of faith, even when people tried to discourage me.
Taking calculated risks is instrumental to success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Nearly everything I do is geared towards helping Central America become a prosperous region. I was born in Costa Rica and was fortunate enough to live in Guatemala while I served with the Department of State. That’s where and why I was inspired to write a bilingual children’s book titled “Los Superamigos de Centroamérica.” In this book, 7 superheroes (each one representing a Central American country) band together to tackle Central America’s challenges. I have donated all proceeds to underprivileged youth in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
I also work leading Focus Central America Foundation, an organization started by philanthropist Barry Segal. The organization focuses on supporting locally led organizations throughout Central America through grants and relationship building. I am currently building a team of leaders from each country who will ensure our support is strategically allocated. It’s surreal to think about because I wrote this book about a Central American team coming together to improve the region. 3 years later, I am in a role where I am tasked to do exactly what I wrote about.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh wow! I love when people visit, especially when it’s their first time in Arizona because they always leave pleasantly shocked at what this state has to offer. When I’ve had family and friends visit, I insist on checking out Patagonia Lake for some boating and sunbathing and then head over to the vineyards in Sonoita for some local wine. Neither of these ever disappoint. Summer Haven up in Mt. Lemmon is also worth checking out when trying to escape the summer heat. And for those who are foodies, Prep & Pastry is a life-changing brunch experience. Their mimosas come with rose petals, their pastries are moist and warm, and their food is simply amazing. There is a location in Scottsdale and a couple in Tucson. As you can tell, I’m a big fan. I take everyone there.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The list is endless. But I’d like to shout out all the teachers who persist through challenging education systems and inspire kids to tap into their potential. I’d like to shout out those first-generation immigrant parents, like mine, who take huge risks to put their children in a better position. I’d also like to shout out Barry Segal for his worldwide philanthropic efforts and for allowing me to lead the Focus Central America Foundation. Thanks to Barry, millions of lives in Central America will be positively impacted.