141: Giovanni Castro (Verizon)

Giovanni Castro on Innovation City

“Digital inclusion and access to devices or wireless, at this point, is a necessity.” – Giovanni Castro

Welcome to Season 3 of Innovation City, a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Giovanni Castro, State and Local Government Manager at Verizon. Verizon is working to improve digital inclusion in Miami and South Florida by working in collaboration with local government and nonprofits to provide improved wireless accessibility. As a Cuban American, Giovanni has experienced first hand the impact that inequality has on lives and communities. He knows how difficult it is to make progress without needed resources. His understanding of the “pulse” of the communities he serves puts him in a unique position to make an impact and gives him a real shot at closing the digital divide. In this episode, Tyler and Leigh-Ann sit down with Giovanni to explore his multifaceted career, the passions that drive him to make a difference, the realities of inequality, how the 5G revolution is making things better, bigger, and faster, and much more!

They discuss:

  • How government, private sectors, and civil society offer different perspectives on the issue of digital inclusion and create a better picture of what communities need
  • How the collaboration between municipalities and businesses can create win-win partnerships that serve their communities well
  • The building of infrastructures to support the mechanisms that make wireless access possible
  • How 5G technology is creating a fourth industrial revolution
  • Increasing educational opportunities through nonprofit programs that work to increase wireless accessibility
  • Increasing access to devices
  • Long-term sustainability
  • Digital inclusion alliances
  • Creating diverse economic ecosystems that better support the quality of lives

Lightning Round:

  1. What is the last book you read?
  2. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
    • Make coffee
  3. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
    • Taking his job with Verizon
  4. If you could solve one world problem, what would it be?
    • Coronavirus
  5. What’s the nicest thing someone ever did for you?
    • Getting $5 from his aunt to pay for a mariachi band to play music for his grandmother
    • He derives happiness from seeing other people happy and enjoying life
  6. What’s your favorite restaurant?
  7. What is your superpower?
    • Optimism