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Robyn Shreiber: “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are”

Leadership is managing whatever it is (life, work, charity) with focus, determination, and deliberateness. It means that you are responsible for leading the strategy and path for others and you show it by example. It means you go above and beyond to get the results you want for your goals. It also means you need […]

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Leadership is managing whatever it is (life, work, charity) with focus, determination, and deliberateness. It means that you are responsible for leading the strategy and path for others and you show it by example. It means you go above and beyond to get the results you want for your goals. It also means you need to be flexible and adjust swiftly to changing environments and non-optimal conditions at times. For example, in my work I pursue opportunities and I don’t give up when turned down or when I’m faced with doubt, even among my own peers.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn Shreiber, who founded and runs the RIDE Foundation with her partner Italo Elgueta. RIDE is a 501C3 charity organization created by Pro-Am ballroom couple Robyn Shreiber and Italo Elgueta. RIDE’s mission is to create one-of-a-kind dance events for difference-making charities. Given their backgrounds, RIDE is Robyn and Italo’s creation and their way to give back by combining their complementary business and dance backgrounds for a greater cause. This year, their 3rd Annual Gala, Dance to End Hunger, will benefit No Kid Hungry.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been dancing with Italo since 2013 as his Pro-Am partner. He’s the professional, I’m his student and amateur. Together we compete all over the country in two styles of ballroom dancing: Latin and Smooth. In 2015, I was invited to a Leadership Retreat with Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island. I met several key influencers there and especially was drawn to a woman with whom I became great friends. She was a trustee at the time of AWF (African Wildlife Foundation) and she told me all about the organization and the situation with elephant and rhino poaching. I came back from that trip and told Italo that we should do a dance event to raise awareness and money for AWF against elephant poaching. It was then we created Robyn & Italo’s Dance Events (RIDE), a 501c3 charity.

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

Our second event was Dance for Freedom to raise awareness for human sex trafficking victims. We benefited two agencies: CAST and Journey Out. Italo and I went on a field trip with Dr. Stephany Powell of Journey Out and several of the survivor women from her organization. We were taken on a trip to the affected areas right in LA where we witnessed another world.

The commentary from the women in the van with us was absolutely eye opening and extremely educational. Seeing these young women on the street increased my desire and goal to raise awareness with our Dance for Freedom event.

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?

This is a funny one — during one of Italo and my first interviews at a dance competition, I had a serious issue with my hair. It was very distracting when the video came out!

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

RIDE’s sole purpose is to raise money for difference-making charities through our dance galas. Italo and I know that the world of dance is passionate and generous, and we knew if we could bring them together for these charities that we could make an impact. Every year we highlight a different cause, from wildlife poaching, to human sex trafficking, to childhood hunger, and celebrate the incredible work that these charities do to fight what they’re up against.

Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?

The person who comes to mind would be Toby Wosskow. Toby is the writer/director of the short film Sides of a Horn. Ironically, he produced this movie with executive producer Sir Richard Branson. Toby came to our first event because Italo and I met him at a STOP POACHING NOW event. It was at our Dance for Africa event that he learned about the African Wildlife Foundation and met Bobby Ceiley; now, he is touring the world with highly acclaimed film.

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

1. One of the most important things a politician and community member can do is to visit the schools and witness NO KID HUNGRY. They will learn so much from this visit and will see exactly how these programs help the students.

2. Another thing they can do is to work with NKH or the schools on a food drive. In addition to the breakfast program at schools, there are many families that are food deprived.

3. Lastly, one of the biggest things they can do is to help increase awareness for NKH and reduce any stigma for the children that benefit from this great program.

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

Leadership is managing whatever it is (life, work, charity) with focus, determination, and deliberateness. It means that you are responsible for leading the strategy and path for others and you show it by example. It means you go above and beyond to get the results you want for your goals. It also means you need to be flexible and adjust swiftly to changing environments and non-optimal conditions at times. For example, in my work I pursue opportunities and I don’t give up when turned down or when I’m faced with doubt, even among my own peers.

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 love for RIDE to evolve to become synonymous with helping people through our dance gala events. I’d like for people to know RIDE and Robyn & Italo, who started as a Pro-Am dance couple, and see our list of charities and really connect with us. It would be very rewarding if we have a line of charities reaching out to us that want us to create a RIDE event for them and their cause.

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

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw.

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

I would love to sit down with Sir Richard Branson and thank him. I started RIDE with my dance teacher partner Italo, after I participated in a leadership retreat on Necker Island. I would love for him to see the seeds that were planted then and how we have grown today! I’d also like to have a lunch or breakfast with Oprah, Barack Obama or Barbara Streisand. Each of them came from challenging backgrounds to reach the level of achievement they attained.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which are all @RIDEvents

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

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