HOBBIES: Dogs, Collaborate in Radio Programs, Socialize with friends and family, Technology. PEOPLE OFTEN DESCRIBE ME AS: Funny, Intense, Successful, someone that helps others. TWO TRUTHS ABOUT ME AND A LIE: I had 4 girlfriends, I have been in 52 countries, I came out of the closet at 20.
Advancing earthquake detection to save lives
BUILDING NEW FROM THE OLD. Alvaro Velasco takes joy in fixing problems. So while it takes courage be to an openly gay Latin American in technology, Alvaro Velasco believes that in owning and sharing his experience encourages and inspire others to live their best lives too.
As the Co-Founder and CEO of SkyAlert, an app and tech platform that serves as Mexico’s early earthquake warning system, Alvaro is often fascinated by challenging and examining vulnerabilities. With his skills and perspective, he’s always sought to fix them, rather than contribute to them. “I used to be a lawyer, but having grown up in Mexico, I found the job came with a certain amount of corruption. I hate corruption. I wanted to spend more time developing new culture, rather than trying to fight back against culture”
“Do you remember pagers? Where you had to page someone? It’s outdated technology, right? Especially in the United States. But here in Mexico, we realized the technology, the associated satellites, could be connected to the seismic sensors the government was using to more quickly alert communities. We could use old technology to build new technology essentially.”
Having experienced several large-scale earthquakes resonating from the Pacific Ocean, back to back starting in 2017, the idea of an early alert system in Mexico was top of mind for many. “There is time, untapped time, before earthquakes that could be taken advantage of, so SkyAlert represented an evolution, a culture of preparedness, of advancement.”
KNOWING WHO YOU ARE AND OWNING IT. “When I was younger, starting out, being LGBTQ wasn’t easy. I didn’t always feel welcome or open to talk about my life and my experiences, but since owning my own company, that’s changed a little. At SkyAlert, you can be whoever you are, work as your whole person. We’re not going to question that, and in fact, we’ll celebrate it.” This is how SkyAlert came to be a vanguard, championing gay pride within corporate culture in Mexico.
“We’ve been doing this for years. We were among the first companies in Mexico showing up like this in social media and print. It’s had a big impact in how we’re seen and understood. There have been negative comments, but they get less and less every year. So that’s how we’re winning this battle, that’s who we’re changing minds, culture.” He says.
“I lived in London for a few years as a young man and it changed my entire worldview. European men were open, direct, able to be out and proud. I realized that my experience as a young man wasn’t universal, it was geographical, maybe. Or at least I finally understood I had options. I had other examples and experiences to draw from,” he explains. “I discovered in London that I could be whatever I want and think whatever I want, I just had to own it.”
Change is possible if you are willing to be an example of it, a motto Alvaro lives by. It is a solution to bias, to prejudice against others. “There are not always a lot of LGBTQ people in technology, in Mexico. So I represent myself always, but I also represent a doorway too. I am a reminder that anything, anyone is possible.”