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Ronald Ndoro Mind of WorkMango: “Brand personification”

Wellness — 2020 was an incredibly challenging year with repercussions on mental health, as well as economical consequences. This has led to a heightened focus on wellness and now more than ever, people are researching wellness-related experiences and “mindful travel”. The majority of travelers are still lacking the confidence to book indoor or direct therapy treatments and are […]

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Wellness — 2020 was an incredibly challenging year with repercussions on mental health, as well as economical consequences. This has led to a heightened focus on wellness and now more than ever, people are researching wellness-related experiences and “mindful travel”.

The majority of travelers are still lacking the confidence to book indoor or direct therapy treatments and are instead seeking opportunities to recharge through alternative amenities offered by hotels. On-property wellness offerings that connect guests with nature in a socially-distanced way, such as open-air yoga or sound baths, are faring better and this trend is likely to continue. Overall — an outdoor and healthier lifestyle is on the rise and people are looking for travel locations that will allow them to do more of this.


As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ronald Ndoro Mind, CEO and founder of WorkMango.com, an exclusive relocation and remote working membership platform for people seeking a work-life balance in premier Caribbean locations. Ronald has always been a global citizen, now working on projects across 4 continents. He is a UCL and College of Law graduate who over the past 20 years has built an impressive resume of tech start-up, membership subscription models, venue operation, event management, entrepreneurial expertise and enterprise. Since March 2020, Ronald is now based in Antigua & Barbuda where he is currently working on an initiative to drive more traffic onto the small Caribbean island through the recently launched WorkMango.com.


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

WorkMango.com was conceived in May and launched in October during the global pandemic of 2020 on the realisation that many people would now have to work from home going forward. This smart concierge platform connects people and facilitates remote working arrangements in Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, and is changing the way people work by offering a VIP experience to relocate stress-free. The WorkMango community is a small group of people looking to thrive in a world beleaguered by existential challenges, interested in finding ways to more than exist.

I moved to the Island of Antigua and Barbuda to live in March 2020. It was this move that prompted me to come up with WorkMango.com to help facilitate anyone with an interest in relocating and working remotely. It was through my other work commitments in London, New York and Africa that it became obvious and apparent that living in Antigua and Barbuda or Barbados while working in another city is more than possible. It was this very process of working in paradise that led to the realisation that many other people could benefit from such a transition. I have a much better work-life balance since moving to Antigua and Barbuda. It feels like something worth sharing.

Another influence is that during the pandemic, many Western citizens had access to stimulus packages of one kind or another — the US and many European countries offer welfare to help support their citizens. In places like Antigua or Barbados, the reserves and opportunities are minimal and a majority of the population is reliant on tourism. So as a result, WorkMango assists by driving more traffic to these islands to help sustain their economies.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most interesting thing about my career is how I have sought to create businesses with purpose. What do I mean by that? I mean, everything I have done, the intent has always been to re-invent, rewrite or reposition the way things are done and in the process I have worked hard at being innovative, diverse and inclusive. As a result I have traveled all over the world, been in some very interesting boardrooms, met with world leaders, influential personalities and celebrities — all the while trying to find ways to learn, assist or improve whatever the project.

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?

Now this is a hard one… I’ve made lots of mistakes and learnt a lot too but not sure how funny the mistakes were at the time or even now!

The 5 biggest lessons however have been growing to understand that 1) Being right is not more important than being able to move forward 2) You can’t do it all alone — so your team and how you treat them is everything 3) If you have partners — understand that it’s a relationship with all the ups and downs, the key is to ensure that your life maps and journeys are aligned — then you can work through most issues 4) Cash-flow is “king” in any business — it allows you the freedom and flexibility to manoeuvre in what is literally a competitive jungle out there, where only the fit survive and 5) Consistency in quality and of delivery will win the day over flashes of individual brilliance.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Well this one is easy — it’s all about finding balance, learning to delegate and fully understanding that the world is not going to stop spinning if you take time out for yourself. Balancing work and personal life can sometimes be difficult, but it is crucial for your wellbeing. Everything in life, in order to sustain itself, requires nourishment and that comes in many forms. The mind, the body and the soul all need constant maintenance and feeding for them to keep developing and remain healthy. Too often people under nourish one part while perhaps over nourishing another — which throws them out of sorts.

We all need to find a middle ground and have some boundaries to avoid burnout or a missed opportunity. Everyone should basically, “work to live” meaning you work so that you can allow yourself to enjoy other things in life, aside from your job. I am lucky in that for the majority of my working life, I have worked for myself which has meant that I am able to decide when I do or do not work…

A few years ago before the pandemic, I created rules to manage my work-life balance for example; I never worked on Wednesdays, which made my week seem much shorter, I had meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays but not Mondays and Fridays which allowed me to make time for things like working out. And wherever possible, I would work remotely — in a different setting or in a different country when possible which allowed me to get work done but also to learn and experience new things.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Well, as an entrepreneur, often before you can get institutional funding — you need to have proof of concept and a business that has developed beyond the idea phase. Often that means months and sometimes years of no income or sacrifices of working multiple jobs at the same time. Ever since starting out — I have had support from my family, they have been there all the way and were my first investors when I needed my first backing. Even now, they continue to be my foundation. I would not be here without them and I could not be any more grateful than I am for their patience, assistance and support.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Historically, the travel market has largely been people on holiday or people permanently relocating. So either short stays of up to a month or much longer stays of over a year. There is a recent trend of mid-term stays of say 3–6 months and I have positioned WorkMango to focus on this new and currently underserved market. Platforms such as AirBnB typically cater for the short term stay but not the mid-term as it is often too expensive for a longer duration. There are many benefits to relocating for 3–6months that all feed into a better work-life balance and choice. In order to facilitate this we are working with property owners and resorts to come up with mid — term pricing which will naturally fall in-between short stays and long stays. In addition to this our focus is to get people to form communities when they travel so they can network and not feel so isolated or alone.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

As a result of the pandemic more and more people are now able to work from home or remotely going forward. However, doing that in what is typically a small city apartment during a cold and miserable winter is less than ideal. There are places around the world that are able to offer remote working possibilities, provide better accommodation and better weather at a fraction of the cost of remaining in the city.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

The disruption is already happening, both Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, along with others have introduced mid-term stay visa options to encourage digital nomads and this has seen tremendous pick up from across the globe. The disruption is already here — it’s all about facilitating it at this stage. The “work from home” or rather the “work from anywhere” revolution is gathering pace and it is only a matter of time before it is the new norm.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

1. Wellness

2020 was an incredibly challenging year with repercussions on mental health, as well as economical consequences. This has led to a heightened focus on wellness and now more than ever, people are researching wellness-related experiences and “mindful travel”.

The majority of travelers are still lacking the confidence to book indoor or direct therapy treatments and are instead seeking opportunities to recharge through alternative amenities offered by hotels. On-property wellness offerings that connect guests with nature in a socially-distanced way, such as open-air yoga or sound baths, are faring better and this trend is likely to continue. Overall — an outdoor and healthier lifestyle is on the rise and people are looking for travel locations that will allow them to do more of this.

2. Socially conscious, cause-driven content

As general brand loyalty is dropping across consumers, it is becoming more apparent that audiences are more loyal to and driven to engage more with brands that value social impact. This is especially true among millennials, a demographic that is predicted to be the one to travel most in 2021. Of this demographic, 75% expect brands to take a stance on the social issues that matter most to them. Brands that can speak about these issues authentically — and help guests make a difference — will have an advantage. It is important to note that sustainability and environmentalism are also key.

3. Brand personification

People want to relate to brands in a more personal, human way. The more authentic and real a brand — the better. Boutiques have seen an increase in traveler interest as they tend to feel more personal, tangible and relatable rather than remote and distant.

4. Celebration-centric travel

Following the postponement of life events and seasonal traditions, people are eager to celebrate those milestones missed in 2020. Travelers are looking to plan birthday getaways, anniversary trips, wedding celebrations, honeymoons, family reunions and religious observations. Those plans are already underway, with travelers turning to social media for ideas.

Consumers are prepared to spend more on travel insurance and upgrading other elements of their holiday to ensure they can travel safely during the pandemic, according to new research. Those with underlying health issues are willing to spend even more to ensure they have as safe a trip as possible. There is likely significant “pent-up demand” for traveling again among the older generations as soon as they feel it’s safe, they’ll want to go.

Another trend is the emergence of large, multigenerational group bookings to make up for all the missed family time with our broader families and that will feed into upcoming travel decisions.

5. Gaming

Gaming is set to emerge as the next dominant technology platform — much the way search engines, mobile phones and social networks redefined industries in previous decades, the Wall Street Journal reported in October 2020.

Gamification in tourism is not a new concept and many brands have already explored the technology as a way to promote their destinations / brands in a new way. Such as ‘gamified tour guides’ — city tourism boards investing in mobile gaming apps which act as both scavenger hunts and informative guides, allowing visitors to explore lesser known sights and compete with other gamers to maintain engagement.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

Simple… Off grid — no tv, no phones — great weather — sun, sea and sand, great food, drinks and a few good books to pass the time.

Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I co-founded Ndoro Children’s Charities in 2009 an organisation working with orphans in Africa and also co-founded Ibex Earth in 2008 an organisation committed to bio-diversity and sustainability. Both of these sustainable development goals have been at the heart of everything that I have done and will continue to do. I believe that if more people and more businesses were designed to give back more than they take out, the world would be a more just place… I am still on this journey so only time will tell how much impact or success my career will have, so watch this space…

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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 love this question! It has always frustrated me how each year festivals such as Glastonbury and Burning Man spend over 40 million dollars setting up only to dismantle again. Imagine, as a solution, identifying remote areas in the world desperately in need of development. You set up and host a festival with people from all over the world coming to support and frolic, but instead of dismantling it — you set up modular systems and accommodation with solar, water, sewage, wifi etc. Everything we demand — they should have too — because why shouldn’t they? When the festival and fun is over, you leave it for the local community to use. That simple!

And year on year — you move to a new part of the world in need of infrastructure development. In addition, partner up with both local and international organisations to run a legacy programme after the event, there would be tourism for the local community plus employment opportunities. This is something I’d love to do — but if anyone can do it sooner and better — then I’ll be the first in line to buy a ticket!

Imagine building an actual modern village each year while having fun in places most in need of development!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

On instagram @work_mango

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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