“Barcelona should pioneer new lifestyles and new ways of working” by Tobias Rodrigues
In 2009, following nine years working as a priest, Tobias Rodrigues decided to study Conflict Resolution. He now helps to build teams in international organizations and companies such as Amazon, HP, King, and Paypal. He is also currently teaching persuasive communication on the Executive MBA program at IESE. His work involves creating an environment in which teams are able to grow and develop the tools to meet their challenges. Tobias was born in Winnipeg, Canada, but at the age of 14 his family moved to the Azores, where he lived until he was 28. He then spent five years in Rome, where he studied the Bible. During that period, he spent six months in Jerusalem, which he remembers fondly. Tobias, who is 46 years old, divorced, and has an 8-year-old daughter, has lived in Barcelona since 2009.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
I blame it on the metro. In May 2009, when I was still living in Rome (a fascinating but chaotic city), my former partner and I came to Barcelona for a concert by the Portuguese fado singer Mariza, which was being held at the Palau de la Música. When we took the metro, I noticed that the trains arrived precisely at the same time as the counter on the platform reached zero. I remembered the chaos of Rome, and I said to myself “This is where I want to live!”
What are Barcelona’s strengths and what do you think the city should do overcome the Covid-19 crisis?
Barcelona is appealing for a whole number of reasons: the sea, the mountains, the climate, and great connections. It is not so big that it is chaotic, but it is big enough to have a little bit of everything. There are people from all over the world here, but the city retains its local identity. It is touristy, but also family-friendly and livable. This makes it an enormously pleasant city both to live in and visit, stimulating economic activity and attracting talent.
What still needs to be improved? And how?
One issue, which I hope is transitory, is road safety. I have a motorcycle, but I am trying to use it less and less now. The lanes seem quite a bit narrower now, and sometimes I am afraid. I wonder if we might be cutting corners on safety.
I would also like to see more initiatives to bring those born in Barcelona together with those who chose the city to live in. I think we could all benefit from that.
What challenges do you think the city will faces once the health emergency has died down altogether?
Reviving the economy, clearly. Many people and businesses have suffered enormously and finding effective ways to help them is a major challenge.
Another challenge, which is also an opportunity at the same time, is to create a new vision for the city in a post-Covid world. Barcelona would benefit from a new vision that incorporates new realities and brings all citizens together.
What do you hope for from Barcelona in the coming years?
It may be utopian, but I’d like Barcelona to be the coolest city in the world, so that when we hear “Barcelona,” we all think “Barcelona? Barcelona rocks!” I’d like it to be a great city to live in and even more appealing to visit. In tune with the environment, and with a thriving economy. A pioneer in welcoming new lifestyles and work styles. A model to follow and to envy.
Where do you feel at home? What do you miss most?
My home is where I live. And today that is Barcelona.
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