Cy Padmore has a deeply rooted connection with Brazil—he has lived and worked in the country, he is married to a beautiful Brazilian, and together they have a one-year-old daughter. But don’t be fooled, he’s a Trinbagonian to the bone who has created a phenomenal network of business and cultural exchanges between Brazil and Trinidad over the last eight years.
His organisation has hosted tours, language exchange programmes, even athlete camps for events such as the 2014 World Cup, and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It has represented professional footballers as FIFA agents, and in 2015, hosted several female footballers contracted to play in the inaugural Women’s Professional Football League. I met up with Cy to find out where his story began.
At age 12, while still a student at St Mary’s College, he migrated with his family to England. It was during this time that he was introduced to a range of co-curricular activities that included football, rugby and cricket. While still at university, he realised there would be three passions that would inspire his future career path: sport, language, and travel. He graduated with a degree in International Business and Language and spent some time travelling and working in Europe.
A fortuitous conversation with a friend, and his love of travel and language saw him capitalising on an opportunity to teach English as a second language in Brazil. Fast forward to 2018 and he is fulfilling his dream each day by marrying his passions into a successful business called The Brazil Link (TBL). The company mainly deals with cultural exchanges between South America, principally Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago. The company identifies as its core services three main sectors: education, travel and sport.
In 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee engaged TBL to assist in selecting an appropriate Pre-Olympic Games camp location. Because of the organisation’s connections in Brazil they were able to select three sites in three different cities over a four-day period.
According to Padmore, “It was a real journey trying to secure the most appropriate location to accommodate 30 athletes, coaches, and administrators prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It was a phenomenal experience working with the country’s elite, and upcoming stars. We developed a much better appreciation of sport and athlete management, doing everything necessary to engender the best performances ahead of key international competition.”
Today, the organisation is forging ahead with the same mission and an even clearer vision for the future. One of its key pillars, education, has received a great deal of support through a Language Exchange Programme ‘Intercambio no Caribe’—Caribbean Exchange (www.intercambionocaribe.com.br). Cy notes, “There is a high demand for Brazilians who need to learn and speak English proficiently, and find the Caribbean a great place to have a once-in-a-lifetime, study-abroad experience.”
TBL provides a one-stop shop through agreements with several ESLs in both Trinidad and Jamaica. The result is a broadening of the language tourism offering, where students get the opportunity to attend classes during the week, and travel around the island on the weekend, learning by doing.
Strategically, Cy notes that he sees the business developing primarily in the areas of sport and travel. “We are poised to be the leading ‘recruitment exchange consultants’ in the Caribbean. We will also increase our marketing of sporting packages for National Sporting Organisations, youth clubs in various disciplines to take athletes to Brazil on sports tours, and vice versa. My ten-year goal is to see myself still passionately talking about sport and travel, while fostering more opportunities between Brazil and the wider Caribbean.”
For more information on TBL, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamila Gamero is a triathlete and former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club in Spain. She is the mother of two boys, Tishad and Akim, and the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.