Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Carlos Wizard Martins


About Sforza Holding: Sforza’s vision: To be the leading family-owned private equity company in Latin America, generating extraordinary returns for our investors and building a long-term relationship with our partners, within an environment of professional excellence and adhering to the highest ethical standards.


Global Business & Interfaith Peace SILVER Medalist

Mr. Carlos Wizard Martins, President of Sforza Holding, encourages his employees to bring their whole self to work – faith and all. Globally, Carlos is a vocal proponent of religious freedom as a member of the 2014-16 World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Faith, and at home, helping to fund Brazil’s 2015 Religious Freedom Festival in Latin America’s oldest mosque.

Acceptance Speech

“I am deeply touched to have received this most distinguished award. My parents had 7 children and I remember each Sunday morning, they would call the kids to attend church. So from my childhood I learned how to pray and respect God. Today as a business leader many people ask me what influence my faith had in my career. I always say that it had a great impact. I believe that people that lead a life of faith have more consideration, respect and tolerance toward each other. They are more willing to see things from a different perspective and seek to solve problems through dialogue and understanding, rather than conflict. People with faith face life challenges with a more positive and harmonious attitude, thus, they are happier individuals and relate better in all their dealings: academic, professional, business, government and most important of all, within the family. Having received this distinguished award gives me motivation to encourage people from all cultures to develop faith and be a defender of religious freedom throughout the world.” (See all medalists here.)


Bio

English professor who made his fortune by teaching Brazilians a second language. His company, Grupo Multi, was the market leader in Brazil. In December 2013 he sold his company for $719.6 million in cash. In 2013, Forbes magazine added him to its list of the richest Brazilians. He is a member of LDS Church. His family joined the Church when he was 13. He started taking English lessons with LDS missionaries. He then served as a Mormon missionary to Portugal and returned to Brazil after completing. Back in Brazil, he married Vânia Pimentel and they returned to the US, where Martins received a degree in computer science and statistics from. While at BYU, he taught at the Missionary Training Center of the LDS Church After he graduated, they moved back to Brazil and Martins supplemented his income as a paper company executive by teaching English to a coworker, he then decided to quit his job and go 100% on the English Teaching. While serving as a mission president, his twin sons created Multi Group. His company has expanded beyond Brazil and had schools in the United States, China, and several other countries worldwide. Martins also owns a gift card company in Brazil, a real estate company, a chain of health and natural reatail stores, Taco Bell Franchisee, English Schools,,and other endeavors. He the author of books, Vencendo a Propria Crise (Overcoming Personal Crisis) and Desperete o Milionário que há em Você (Awaken the Millionaire Inside of You). His biography, Carlos Martins: Dreams Have No Limits.


More Detail

Both Multi Group, which Carlos Martins formerly owned (sold to Pearson Education), and Sforza Holding that is currently led by Mr. Martins a policy that is common to the companies is the fact that Mr. Martins helps his executives in finding ways to hire talents wherever they are available, not taking into consideration to his/her religious preferences, and has implemented procedures to guarantee that they would have the ability to serve his/her religious demands. He thinks that by doing this he would be able to foster an environment with more collaboration and understanding.

Outside of his companies, Carlos Martins has been an outspoken advocate for the value not only of faith, but of religious freedom interfaith understanding. Personally, he exercised his religious freedom when he converted to being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Catholic-majority Brazil. And rather than hurting his chances in business, the religious freedom he found in Brazil afforded him the opportunity to contribute back by helping millions of Brazilians learn English through the Schools he founded. As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith, Carlos worked across faith lines to speak out for the value of faith in combating extremism following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. In response he stated, “I believe that the first step toward harmonious coexistence is the promotion of tolerance for differences and of freedom of expression and religion. Respect for one’s fellow man, for his needs and peculiarities is an important and definitive step toward the resolution of conflicts. Such an attitude consists of putting oneself in the place of another.” As part of his work on that same Council, he produced a six-minute video showing how religious freedom in Brazil is a social and economic benefit to all (see below).

Carlos also generously supports interfaith causes, such as helping to fund the April 2015 Religious Freedom Festival in Latin America’s oldest mosque, Mesquita Brasil, in Brazil’s financial capital of São Paulo. The festival brought some 700 leaders together for a gala celebration where Muslims, Jews and Christians dined side-by-side to commemorate Brazil’s status as a leader in religious freedoms. The theme was, “Brazil a voice to the world” (see second video below). Carlos has sold more than 30,000 copies of his book promoting entrepreneurship and ethical values in China.


Nominated by:

  • Lincoln Pimentel Martins
  • CEO
  • Sforza Holding