Javier Benavente Barrón of Alares Group: “Lead by example”

Lead by example. It is the only form of leadership I know. Work, be the first to turn on the light and the last to turn it off. If you want to lead you cannot demand from others what you are not willing to do or ask them to give you what you would not […]

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Lead by example. It is the only form of leadership I know. Work, be the first to turn on the light and the last to turn it off. If you want to lead you cannot demand from others what you are not willing to do or ask them to give you what you would not be able to give. Good leadership is directly linked to being an honest person, who puts his heart into what he does, who innovates and grows from the diversity of teams and people.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Javier Benavente Barrón.

Javier Benavente Barrón is a serial entrepreneur. In 1985, he created Alta Gestión, the predecessor to Humangroup. Two decades later, in 2005, when he sold the company to the largest multinational in the sector, it had a workforce of 25,000 people. In 1999, he founded Alares, which offers innovative services to care for people and their families with the aim of improving their quality of life. He manages operations for his companies and actively hires people with disabilities.

An entrepreneur and businessman from a very young age, Javier is above all passionate about people. He believes people are at the center of all businesses, regardless of sector, product or service and that this is what is most important. He is also the founder of two NGOs, Fundación Alares and Fundación para la Diversidad. Javier was recently named European regional honoree for the 2021 YPO Global Impact Award, the only Spaniard so honored. He was recognized for his “Brighten a Life” initiative, which helped alleviate the loneliness of five million people during the pandemic.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always been a dreamer. Deep in my heart, I dreamed of building a company, having economic independence, creating prosperity, employment and at the same time, improving the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

To be honest, it’s difficult for me to remember stories from my past. I don’t know if it’s because I easily forget or because I’m always thinking about the future, about the next step. It is so impressive how everyone came together during the pandemic. In the midst of a humanitarian drama, I have seen how it was possible with my organizations to reduce suffering, bring comfort, affection, and provide happiness to hundreds of people. We did it with an idea and a program, “Brighten a Life” (“Ilumina una Vida”), and this fills me with pride and emotion.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In hindsight, each mistake has been a great lesson for me, but at the time, I felt disappointment and discomfort. Today, I am grateful for the stumbles because I am sure that without my failures, I would not have been able to understand or move forward in business. I have realized that in all of my mistakes there is a common denominator: overconfidence on my part and delegation to people with different work ethics. From the big disappointments I have gained my best methods and greatest strength. I recognize that all my joys and also my sorrows have had to do with people. I have learned to be grateful, and also to pay a lot of attention to the choice of people. I believe that the most important thing to ensure success of a business project is to have accomplished professionals but especially those who have similar values.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

I have always believed, as a professional and as an entrepreneur, that doing business and contributing to the improvement of society can and should go hand in hand. This is what I have always practiced. My company’s sector is that of in home personal and domestic assistance. These services are aimed at improving the quality of life of people of all ages, making their lives easier. I am proud of my company, Alares, because it delivers happiness, it generates positive impact.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

The first person to be impacted by the “Brighten a Life” (“Ilumina una Vida”) campaign was actually me. I was struck by the response of the volunteers, more than 2,000 in less than a week. I was struck by the suffering and loneliness of thousands of elderly people. I was struck by every call, every response, every thank you, the moments of happiness that were conveyed to us in the midst of tragedy. I am still moved by this campaign. We are going to continue with this initiative indefinitely; we want to keep fighting against the loneliness and suffering of our elderly.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Firstly, we must be aware of the reality of our elderly, their needs and their extreme loneliness. We often make them invisible, mistreat them, or fail to care for them as they deserve. Secondly, we must create incentives, laws and programs with sufficient budget and resources, where public services and private companies, such as Alares, collaborate together. The goal is for all people, regardless of age, economic level or where they live, to have the ability to access services which improve their daily quality of life.

The beginning and the end of life are so important! This is moral; protecting the most vulnerable people.

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the need for a change in care systems. It is also necessary to professionalize the providing of care services through specific training, with a regulation that puts an end to the black economy and offers guarantees of legality, decent employment, transparency and quality. Home care can become a pillar of economic recovery in the post-Covid19 scenario.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Lead by example. It is the only form of leadership I know. Work, be the first to turn on the light and the last to turn it off. If you want to lead you cannot demand from others what you are not willing to do or ask them to give you what you would not be able to give. Good leadership is directly linked to being an honest person, who puts his heart into what he does, who innovates and grows from the diversity of teams and people.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

The five things I wish someone told me when I first started are all about giving encouragement, providing support and instilling confidence: Go ahead. You can do it. I trust you. Keep going. You are doing well.

When I first started, and even now, the most important thing is to feel that you are not alone. These five things are so essential that I included them, along with their backstories, in my book, ‘Make Your Clients Fall in Love … and Stay with You!’ (¡Quédate conmigo! 20 claves para enamorar a tus clientes… y que se queden contigo).

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would create a political party without labels and would dedicate a few years of my life to the improvement of our society. I believe this is the best thing we can give to our successors. Only from Parliament can we really have an impact on transforming society. I would create a movement to build a positive future. We need optimism, happiness, prosperity, employment, and I am convinced that my country, Spain, has great talents to achieve this. And politics is the best instrument to build prosperity. I also want to lead by example and show that active aging and happiness are possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The words my mother always repeated to me: “go ahead, always go ahead”, and she added “son, always treat everyone equally”. She also insisted “help everyone as much as you can, life will pay you back”. She was so right.

A book that has influenced me is El libro del networking, by my great friend Cipri Quintas. He explains it with the following words: “What works are the links, being really interested in the other person, taking care of the relationship.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

If I may, I’d like to choose three people:

A young person who has crossed the border of Mexico or the Mediterranean Sea in a boat, risking his or her life, who was dirt poor. Someone who has just crossed the wall into the United States or who has just jumped the fence in Spain and has a soul full of dreams. I would like to tell him or her “Go ahead, you can do it,”, and discuss what we can do to build their dreams.

Pope Francis. He seems to me a man full of wisdom and goodness, a fighter against poverty, for equal opportunities, who values human diversity as a source of value creation and wealth.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. We both have common origins. Jeff Bezos’ father was born in a village in Valladolid and I was born in Vega de Tera (Zamora). I would like to talk to him about his corporate activism.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Blog: javierbenavente.com

Linkedin: javierbenaventebarron

Facebook: JavierBenaventeB

Instagram: javier_benavente_barron

Twitter: @J_Benavente

You can also find my thoughts in my book ‘Stay with Me! 20 Ways to Make Your Clients Fall in Love … and Stay with You!’ (¡Quédate conmigo! 20 claves para enamorar a tus clientes… ¡y que se queden contigo!). It’s available in paperback, electronic and audiobook (free) formats. (LoQueNoExiste, 2020).

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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