“My journey is a journey of resilience,” says Solomon Salvis, the CEO of Simurise Learning

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Some people live their lives with a never give up attitude. No matter how many times you fail in life, you should make sure that you get back up! Because failure is only a setback and a comeback is more important. Stories like these inspire us and also motivate us to take control of our lives.

Team Sociobits connected with Mr. Solomon Salvis, the CEO of Simurise Learning to know more about the company, his personal journey, fitness journey, and more. Here’s what the CEO shared in the conversation:

lTeam Sociobits: Could you tell us how did you begin your journey?

Mr. Solomon Salvis: I started my journey when I opened my eyes and found that I was staying in the city of Mumbai. I found that I was staying in an 8×8 hut. In Bambaiyaan (Mumbai’s) language, you call it “jhopadpatti”. A hut where cow dung mixed with black mud was the floor for me. Sticks threaded together and shaded with cow dung were the walls for me. Red tiles thatched together and undercovered with sticks were the ceiling for me. Open ground for toilets and well water for drinking is how I started my life in the city of Mumbai.

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I was very lucky to go to an English Medium school and I was very lucky to complete my engineering college. This is how I started my corporate life.

I started my journey when I opened my eyes and found that I was staying in the city of Mumbai. I found that I was staying in an 8×8 hut. In Bambaiyaan (Mumbai’s) language, you call it “jhopadpatti”.

Team Sociobits: Could you also tell me a little about Simurise Learning? And how did you get into learning and development?

Solomon Salvis: Simurise Learning is one of the leading learning and development companies. A company that encourages focusing on reflective conversations for developing organizational cultures and future readiness of managers and leaders, purely by the power of games, simulations, and experiential learnings. We have been working with most of the leading corporates in the country and beyond.

It’s actually an interesting story when I talk about getting into learning and development. While my engineering college days, I became one of the first IBM solution sales specialists in the entire country. I used to sell a lot of IBM RS/6000, and IBM AS/400 servers and I used to travel to Nariman Point and go to the 15th floor or the 20th floor and walk down floor by floor while selling the systems to the corporates over there. So, I also got awarded as the Best Sales Person by IBM and then the company’s MD gave me Rs. 5000 check, a Nokia 6110 mobile, and a ticket to Kathmandu to stay at the swankiest hotel called Soaltee Crowne and participate in a business conference.

At this conference, I happened to meet Shiv Khera, one of the firmest leadership and motivational trainer then and I got highly mesmerized by him. The way he said hello, the way he removed his glasses, the way he put his hand on your shoulder, and everything in between. After the conference, I and the MC of the program who was also the radio jockey of 107.1 FM were talking to each other. In his thick baritone voice he told me, ‘Solomon, can we do something like Shiv Khera?’ and I said, ‘Aldrick, I don’t know about you but I would love to go back to India and do something like him.’

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So after returning to India, the first thing that I did was enrolled in a Skill Development Diploma at Narsee Monjee College. After its completion, I found this course was basic schooling for me. After this, I went to Aporesh Acharya’s MILT Leadership Training Program. This is a very exhaustive, stiff, but super awesome leadership training program. This completely transformed my life and over a period of time, I did nearly a dozen certifications including Martial Goldsmith Executive Coaching, IIM Calcutta’s Senior Management Program, Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within Program in Singapore, and more. Then I got certified in various games and simulations in some of the top companies in the world. That’s when I jumped into learning and development. I worked with several corporates and finally, in 2017, I started Simurise Learning.

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Team Sociobits: After an interesting beginning, how has your journey been with Simurise Learning?

Solomon Salvis: Simurise focuses on games and simulations and primarily, we started working with top corporates. Luckily, we have had the privilege to work with top corporates including most of the top 5 companies across various industries. People at the CEO, CXO, Senior Management, Middle Management, and Junior Management have gone through our simulations. We were doing very well until the COVID-19 pandemic hit all of us. All the contracts got canceled, there were no payments coming, and basically, nothing held us out. Literally, for a couple of months, I had my hands up in the air and I wondered what am I going to do next.

Simurise focuses on games and simulations and primarily, we started working with top corporates. Luckily, we have had the privilege to work with top corporates including most of the top 5 companies across various industries.

At the same time, just 15 days before the pandemic, I had imported business simulation kits from the U.S. for around worth 1,50,000 USD. At that time my wife and my younger daughter used to look at these boxes that were placed in her bedroom. My daughter, who was six years old then, used to stare at the boxes, then stare at me, and then ask me innocently when will I be selling them. So, we were in a bad shape because of the investment that we made and no business coming in.

A couple of months after, we launched our first virtual simulation. We got our first breakthrough in Singapore, then Malaysia, then Hungary, Turkey, Oman, and Indonesia, and for the last two years, we have been conducting programs in more than 20 different countries. We have conducted programs and also certified facilitators in twelve different countries and through games and simulations, they are now conducting these programs for their corporates.

Team Sociobits: What was the initial response of your clients when you shifted to an online model during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Solomon Salvis: Initially what we started doing was inviting our existing clients to come and experience the programs and a lot of them actually attended but nobody wanted to buy. Slowly we started launching our products and subsequently, corporates started attending and experiencing our programs in India as well as abroad. They took their own time, judged whether virtual will work or not, whether people will pay attention, and then took the call. Their concerns were put to rest when we immersed them in simulative learning experiences.

Team Sociobits: Do you think the online model works as well as the offline model when it comes to learning?

Solomon Salvis: A couple of years back, the CEO of a virtual simulation company approached me, and at that time we were only into classroom simulations. We thought that classroom simulations bring out the best in people. It brings out their energy, their interactivity, and creates a ‘wow experience’ for the participants. We said NO to virtual but because of the pandemic, we got forced to start virtually.

In virtual there are two parts, one is traditional programs and the other is games and simulations. The minute we started making the teams experience games and simulations through Zoom calls, and its features like breakout rooms, people started loving it. There were different games and simulations that we launched and different learnings that started coming out through them. We received super awesome feedback from various companies and trainee organizations saying that this is highly engaging, highly interactive, immersive, and also a lot of fun.

So, we have tried to keep a similar experience in person as well as in the virtual environment for our participants.

Team Sociobits: After the online model, we see the metaverse coming. Do you think Simurise Learning will look into getting into the metaverse?

Solomon Salvis: Currently we are focusing on creating many games and simulations. Earlier, we partnered with a lot of global companies and got their games and simulations. We then started creating our own games and simulations so once that journey is completed, we will definitely get into the metaverse. Because we have seen a lot of corporates looking forward to entering into the metaverse space.

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Team Sociobits: Your journey from the beginning is very inspiring and it surely takes courage to reach here. So, could you share what was something that kept you going?

Solomon Salvis: My journey is a journey of resilience. If you look at my 8×8 hut story or even my engineering college stories, there have been a lot of failures. After my engineering, I figured that it is not for me and I want to go and transform lives. That’s how I got into leadership and development. But, if you look at my entire journey, the one common thing is bouncing back after failures. Springing back to move forward no matter how many times you fail.

If you look at my 8×8 hut story or even my engineering college stories, there have been a lot of failures. After my engineering, I figured that it is not for me and I want to go and transform lives. That’s how I got into leadership and development.

When you talk about Simurise, it’s made from two words, Simu and Rise. So, with every new sunrise, there are new hopes, opportunities, growth, and courage, and we move forward with life. So, we build that resilience to rise and shine in life.

Team Sociobits: We are aware of your fitness journey too. Could you tell us a little about that?

Solomon Salvis: I began my fitness journey with a trigger and my trigger was my dad. At the age of 42, my dad got his first heart attack. Not only heart attack but he was more than a ton in weight, and his body was fighting with high blood pressure, body ache, and diabetes too. When I asked my doctor a couple of years later and asked the chances that I won’t have to fight these lifestyle diseases, he said, that since it runs in the genes, I will definitely get it but I will get it much faster because of the lifestyle issues. This was one of the major triggers for me to start my health and fitness journey. I started with walking, then a seven km run in the Mumbai marathon, and then gradually went on to run 10kms, 21kms, and 42kms. Since I started, I have now completed 21 half marathons, and 3 full marathons, I am also among the top 5 winners for doing 300 Surya Namaskaras in one go. To top it all, I have also completed my Iron Man 70.3 twice and I am looking forward to doing it the third time in the month of November, this year.

Team Sociobits: What are the future plans of Simurise?

Solomon Salvis: The good thing about games and simulations is that they are now loved by most corporates. Currently, we are doing programs for people in person. We are also conducting leadership programs for developing values, behaviors, and mindsets for leaders and managers from most of the leading corporates in person as well as virtually. We are also focusing to create new simulations to ensure that people are highly engaged, highly inspired, learn a lot, and also have a lot of fun. I got into games and simulations purely because while working in organizations, I found traditional classroom training dull and boring. And we focus on shifting the mindset of corporates from traditional classroom training to simulated learning experiences. So we do this in India and are now also focusing on the international market. We have already done this in 20 different countries, our facilitators are present in 12 different countries and we want to scale it to 200 facilitators and go deeper into this to impact the values, behaviors, and mindsets of leaders and managers of different corporates.

While building and helping corporate people to become leaders and managers, Mr. Salvis is the perfect example of someone who learns, adapts, and doesn’t give up. This is something that everyone can learn from.

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