Wally is full of life. His captivating smile was reverberating on the abstract paintings exposed on the walls of the little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami where I met him last Saturday in a public gathering.
He gave me a firm handshake and told me about his growing WallyExpress business locking his eyes on my pupils.
We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet last night, Sunday, at his friend’s house in Hallandale Beach, South Florida. He welcomed me with a cold beer and food.
Moving things around the kitchen table, Wally invited me to sit. He turned on his Ipad, ajusted the light and the AC.
“Tell me about you. What’s your story,” I asked him.
He talked while I was eating rice and beans with fried fish, and siping my beer.
“I was born in Robin,” he said, repeating his full name and spelling his last name Jeanrisca which he told me is written in one word.
Wally is the eldest of a family of eight. They grew up, played , and lived in Robin, a small locality in Kenscoff, up in the mountains of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
His business veture started when he was 12 helping his mother in her little commerce.
“I remember as it was yersterday waking up at 4:00 in the morning to accompany my mom in the market to sell goods, and to spend the whole day putting sugar in small bags for resale,” he said.
“My mom was not able to count her money. She assumed money had been taken away from her and she could not explained she had been selling lots of crops and buy less and less items”, Wally said.
His ability to sudy math in school brought calculating the cost of goods sold, and the costs of items purchased, and to start a balance sheet for her mother’s business.
He went to high school in Petion-Ville. He invited a couple of friends to join him in investing $100 / each in a clothing ambulant store.
“We bought pants, shirts, and resold them,” he said adding “we made great profits,” but the partnership did not go far because those friends wanted to spend the capital-seed money in recreation.
“Then, I understood it was not easy to do business with other people”, he argued. While going to school, he created an organization called “Mouvement Paysans de Robin”, which became “Mouvement Paysans de Kenscoff” to help peasants in the locality to live a better life.
Social & Political Activism
His organization was very active when he was introduced to Chavannes Jean-Baptiste who was the national leader of the popular organization called MPP (Mopuvement Paysans de Papaye.)
“I became Chavannes’ protege. He offered me the opportunity to be trained in several countries, and I was elected in 2000 Secretary General of the whole organization who had more than 200, 000 members in the country.”
“I spent 6 months in the Dominican Republic learning Spanish. I traveled to France, and several other countries,” he said.
He created the first savings and credit mutual cooperative in Kenscoff with 15 family members, having his aunt donating a room, his uncle some chairs for the comunity bank, known by its Creole name Sere Chofe. This cooperative reached 300 members and was very useful during disasters and emmergency. After the passage of hurricane Georges, the giovernment sent a truck load of things to give away. But, “we decided to monetize the items with the total agreement of the population using the funds for reforestration and other social services,” Wally said.
Growing his free enterprise mindset, Wally opened a restaurant, and a soda warehouse in Petion-Ville.
His social activism, and leadership at the helm of the peasant organization led him to politics. He became an actve member of the Group 184 which led to the overthrown of Aristide’s power in 2004.
A Sourjouner in a new land
He left Haiti shortly after and emigrated to Miami to start a new life. He went back to school to learn English, while ajusting to his new environment.
“I found a job in a moving truck company,” he said.
“I became a great asset with the company. With my smile, and ability to communicate in Spanish, Creole, and French, I became a manager with the company,” he said.
Then, a wealthy customer who followed him, and appreciated his attitude offered him a job.
” You Franckel, I remember two years ago, when you started moving for us, you could not say a word in English. Now, look at you, you lead a team, you work hard, and you still have a smile on your face, how much money they pay you, do you want another job?, Wally told me while I walked away from the table to put my plate in the sink.
Wally was hired on the spot working for this businessman in a company selling airplanes.
“I spent 10 years working there. I had a good salary, a car, an apartment on Brickell Ave in Miami,” he said. But “he did not want me to have my own business.”
“I stated looking for other ways. I travelled to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile looking for opportunities”, he said.
“Most of the time I did not tellmy boss about my pursuits untill I decided to start something in Chile.”
“He looked at me and said ‘where will you find the money to invest in a business?”
I replied: ” the very same way you find money to buy your planes.”
Santiago de Chile: WallyExpress for a wealth community
“I travelled to Chile. I started losing money. I met the Haitian ambassador. I lost money. I met other Haitians living in Chile, I lost money'” he said.
“I travelled a second time. I stayed a couple of weeks before I found a Chilean business person who wanted to start a business with me. Then, one of my haitian associates met him on the side and begged him for personal help,” Wally recounted.
He decided to stay for a longer time in Chile, learning from the school of hard knocks, adjusting to the environment, and making his own assessment.
“I introduced a money transfer service helping the community to send money back home with with good customer service,” he said.
“I hired my brother as my managing partner, and another key guy as my business partner with an ownership percentage in my business.”
Today, after less than one year of operation, his business WallyExpress has a network of 220 agents selling minutes phones thoughout Chile.
“80% just own a phone. Others own mom & Pop shops, Walllyexoress has been teaching them to do business in community,’ he said..
Wally’s mindset is to build a community of entrepreneurs.
“Let’s build business together and when the Chileans talk with us, they will be talking with a community of businessmen with a cash flow of more than $ 20 millions, paying taxes in Chile and to organize a representative force,” he said reinforcing the idea of an organized community.
“My dreams,” he said, is “to build a community, a diaspora like the Jews have done, like the Cubans have done, to create wealth when we die, we can live a legacy, an inehitance for our kids and for the next generation to continue on the path of success and significance.
I was elated to listen to Wally’s story. I introduced him to the life digital and mobile app platform through our compensated community with the matchmaker project launching a global consummer rebellion with active members participating in a leadership revolution teaching the three keys to wealth: literacy, leadership, leverage.
I left him with set of books and loading his phone with content understanding we need to read, listen, associate, and apply to create wealth through compensated communities.
“All our dreams can come true, if wer have the courage to pursue thrm. Dreams do come true, if only we work hard enough. You can have anything in lifeif only tou sacrifice everythig else for it. A dream doesnt come to realti though mag; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”