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Photo courtesy of ASIS International

Salvatto: Small Acts Create Big Impacts

Mateo Salvatto wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up—a familiar dream for many children, and perhaps even many GSX 2022 attendees.

But in his keynote message yesterday, “Everybody Can Change the World,” Salvatto, 23, says he now finds that world-changing efforts are not necessarily the ones that make headlines or immediately change the course of history. Salvatto, a tech entrepreneur, stresses that helping an individual can be as impactful as launching a rocket into outer space.

Making an Impact

Salvatto’s speech on 12 September came on the heels of the 21st anniversary marking the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While acts of destruction and global pandemics can change our world, Salvatto argues that smaller acts of cooperation and inclusion can be just as impactful.

Salvatto, CEO of Asteroid Technologies, created and launched Háblalo, an app that helps people with communications disabilities reclaim the ability to effectively communicate with others. He was inspired to create such a solution after finding himself frustrated that modern technology had not yet resolved communications obstacles for his mother’s students, all of whom are deaf and many of whom are Salvatto’s friends.

Helping an individual can be as impactful as launching a rocket into outer space.

Salvatto started working on Háblalo in 2016, and since then it has gained more than 250,000 users who have a range of communication disabilities, including hearing loss, cerebral palsy, ALS, and others. Salvatto says he is also proud that the app has gained a foothold in his home city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. All first responders have been trained in using a customized form of Háblalo as a tool to assist anyone trying to report an emergency or crime.

Driving with Disruption

Salvatto describes Asteroid Technologies as a “disruptive” company since it does not charge users a fee for downloading or using the Háblalo app. As an alternative, the company makes a profit through partnerships with larger organizations that previously lacked a bridge with potential customers. To date, Asteroid Technologies has partnered with banks like Santander, governments, IT organizations, and other companies.

“The return on that investment is huge,” he says. Not only can the app expand an organization’s reach into under-tapped markets, Salvatto adds that it benefits an organization’s culture while improving society for a wider audience.

Part of the collaboration between an organization and Asteroid Technologies is about changing the organization’s mindset: don’t ask someone with a different range of abilities to adapt to his or her environment or society. Instead, find a solution that adapts or closes the gap between that person and the environment.

Creating Inclusiveness

Salvatto’s message echoed the theme in the opening speech delivered by Malcolm Smith, CPP, 2022 ASIS president: Ubuntu. Ubuntu, Smith explains, is the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards other people.

ASIS International CEO Peter O'Neil and ASIS President Malcolm Smith, CPP 

“We live the concept of ubuntu everyday as ASIS members,” Smith says.

Regardless of the goals of an individual or an organization—whether it’s buying a sandwich, building a better career, carving out more time to do homework with a son or daughter, or creating a better and more inclusive world—“we need security, we need safety, we need you,” Salvatto says.

Find a solution that adapts or closes the gap between that person and the environment.

And while the security industry can help in changing the world for an individual and organizations, it helps to remember that observations are one part of finding solutions to a problem. Salvatto stresses that we can find new opportunities when we shift our perception. For example, when we stop seeing the disability before the person, we have the opportunity to reassess and approach the person as someone with new insight and opportunity.

Sara Mosqueda is associate editor of Security Management, the publisher of the GSX Daily. Connect with her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @XimenaWrites.