Saul Flores

Saul Flores is a masterful storyteller, social innovator, and a powerful voice for change. Recognized for his innovative ideas, impactful projects, and visionary ventures. He has presented at over 250 universities nationwide, sharing his message with thousands of students from diverse backgrounds, earning him the distinction of being a leading national speaker.

TOPICS


  • Leadership
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • First Year Experience
  • Orientation
  • Social Justice
  • Hispanic Heritage
  • Latinx Focused
  • First Generation Students

KEYNOTES


Saul Flores captures the essence of people, community, and culture in his stories.

Getting to know

Saul Flores

Saul Flores (pronounced sah–ool), is a philanthropist, photojournalist, and speaker who is nationally recognized for his social impact projects. Through his most recent project, Saul documents the amazing lives of thousands of Latin American immigrants to fundraise for an elementary school in his mother’s hometown.

His work has been featured on National Public Radio, MSNBC, and TEDX. Additionally, Saul has been featured as a keynote speaker for dozens of universities, inspiring audiences through his visual presentations, in which he helps people realize the capacity of their immense human potential given times of extreme adversity.

Saul Flores walked 5,328 miles through ten countries to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico.

The story of his journey, accompanied by a series of photographs, capture the essence of the people, communities, and cultures he encountered along the way

After this life-changing experience, Saul now wants to inspire students to make a positive impact on the world by speaking about the value of servant leadership, philanthropy, and service-learning.

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS

To help you promote your event with Saul, CAMPUSPEAK has created promotional templates you can use. In this folder, you will find resources for social media, a promotional poster for printing, and press photos you can use for your event.
Link to Promotional Materials

LOGISTICAL MATERIALS

Below you will find logistical resources for the day of your event with Saul.
In-Person Event AV needs (PDF)
Speaking introduction (PDF)

Connect with Saul
33 today. My eyes are a little puffy and tired from tour still. A few days ago I told my homegirl that I’ve never imagined myself living a long life. I’ve never pictured myself growing old and I could never really explain why. I’ve always felt like a shooting star, really just passing by which is why I move so quickly—with such urgency. That’s my truth. I know the promise of tomorrow may never come so everyday feels divine. Thank you for believing in me and for letting me shine bright. I do everything with my community in mind and hope to do right by you every day. There’s so much to imagine and dream still but today I’m just happy to be here, with you. So, here’s to many more years of brightening up the night sky.
I was looking at photos of volcanoes the other day and came across one that took my breath away. I was so mesmerized to the point that I was loosing sleep. I felt lured, like the volcano was singing to me and keeping me awake with its song. I found out that it was in my father’s hometown in El Salvador so I booked a last minute flight. I’ve never had much of a relationship with our volcanic soils despite being half Salvadoran.

You’ll learn quickly that I’m pretty impulsive and slightly delusional when I find creativity. I can pull inspiration from pretty unconventional sources, like fire, lava, and redness. It was fire that initially attracted me to the cane workers in Mexico. I remember seeing them burn fields for the first time and feeling like I was in a complete trance. Today, I feel pulled by the lava flowing underneath the volcanoes of El Salvador. But it feels different this time. It feels explosive.

I’ve never had a real relationship with my father which is why I think El Salvador has always felt so foreign to me. But finding home and self has always been a common theme in my work, so I know that it’s time to finally confront what’s been absent for so long.  Standing on these volcanic soils feels heavy but I know my ancestors are trying to guide me. I know that they’re trying to broaden my perspective and sharpen my eyes. So I am here to see.

I rarely let people into my creative process because it can be a deeply painful journey for me. There’s no rational thinking and most logical minds struggle with my deep intuition and impulsivity. Letting the wrong people in can be very deflating for my spirit. I’ve decided to be more open about what’s going on in my little mind for my own safety. I’ve sat with a lot of anger and pain lately, a lot of redness, and I know I am here to find a way to channel it, or tame it, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s time to become the volcano.
On May 30th, 2022, a few dozen cane workers, pilgrims, mothers and daughters, set out on a 100-Mile Sugar March from our humble chapel to the highest church in all of Mexico. The march honored our farmworkers, our divine Mother and our most precious crop — sugar. 

I believe that many years from now people will study the sugar pilgrims of Atencingo and their incredibe marches. Their marches will sit in the history books next to the freedom walks led by Dr. King during the civil rights movements, the non-violent salt marches of India by Mohatma Ghandi, and the farmworker strikes organized by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and countless laborers in California.

It’ll start as whispers and rumors. They’ll say that somewhere in a small unassuming town, a group of broken people, walked blindly through the valley of darkness and through dry terrains. It was there that they realized that collectively they can achieve anything. That the broken person walking next to you will lift you when you fall. 

Thank you for the affirmations, messages, emojis and reactions to my work. I got everything in the most random moments and at the perfect times. For now, it’s time to go home. I’m ready for everything that comes next.
They knew our bodies would break. I think we all knew. But it wasn’t until today that I realized how truly broken my spirit was. As other pilgrims sang hymns all I could do was stare at the floor, counting the days until our march was over. It was somewhere between the cacti with the white flower and the rose bush that I realized how alone I felt. I knew I had lost sight of my guiding stars and my optimism. So I bowed my head.

The morning we left Atencingo we were given a bandana to protect us from the sun. They knew our bodies would break so they tried protecting our minds from the heat. A simple bandana with the Lady of Guadalupe would be enough to protect us from a burning sun. The bandanas gave us a fierce delusion — a delusion that a few broken people could lean into the unknown, lean on each other, and still move forward. 

They knew our bodies would break but Mexico has always been a land of rejuvenation, of fields reborn, of mothers and divinity. It wasn’t until we walked through the berry fields, down the gravel roads, until we marched under moonlight next to the sleeping volcanoes, that I finally realized I am exactly where I need to be.
My grandmother was so excited to show me her mango tree. She said I got there right in time for her harvest so we spent the whole afternoon picking mangoes. I had forgotten how much I missed Mexico.

I had to force myself to come this year. I couldn’t get myself out of bed, or pack, or catch my flight. Our 100 mile pilgrimage starts tomorrow and I feel so lost and defeated. It feels like I’m running away from home, or a country, or both — I’m not sure anymore. I’ve found myself arguing with God lately. Begging him to guide me, to show us his abundance, or at the very least show us mercy in this society. My work has felt so empty and meaningless and all I need is a sign that I’m on the right path.

I know I truly feel alive in the cane fields though. That’s where my joy lives. I feel free when I’m standing in dirt, when there’s mud between my toes, or when I can smell our burning cane stalk. I feel free when I can put my whole hand in a bag of sugar. So I forced myself to come back because I know it’s the only place where I can truly be free. I’m scared I won’t find what I’m looking for but I hope I find something. I hope I find a light, a clue, or something to guide me as I learn to walk again. A 100 mile walk through the desert sounds especially daunting this season. I promised our Lady of Guadalupe that I’d come back so here I am. And at least this year I have a backpack filled with my grandmother’s mangoes.
I’ve had some pretty special moments in my life but this one takes the cake.
53 gigs. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. We broke records. I swear to God I almost gave up. I remember the first time no one showed up to one of my events, I was devastated. I cried all night in my rental. 

I never missed a flight though, or a gig. I remember my standing ovation of a thousand people. That was pretty special. A lady even brought me tulips that night. I’ve never felt so lonely and loved at the same time. I still hear the sounds of crowds clapping and their applause echo through mountains, lakes, and corn fields. I brought my stories everywhere.

I rarely see people that look like me on stages. I never dreamt that I could reach these heights as a brown chamaco from Brooklyn. The pressure that came with it was hell. I hope you never feel it. 

I don’t have a website, or a good video. Everything has been pure word of mouth and a team that believes in my message. I owe those people my life. I owe you my life. Thank you for watching my stories and for the goofy emojis you sent back. 

To all of the attendees and organizers, I gave you my heart. I did my best in every state, in every city, and on every stage. I was exhausted at times, even broken in some moments, but I tried to never show it. Thank you for letting me sing my stories to you.

The When We Bloom Tour was unbelievable. Truly it’s been an unforgettable three months. I’m back in New York now, recharging and scrolling tiktok looking for Hasbulla videos.  I have a lot of creative energy that I need to honor. I’ll be back stronger than ever, you’ll see. Until then, bing bong..someone take me out to dinner
When We Bloom Tour 🌱🌸 I dedicate this one to you.
tomorrow
SEE WHAT PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY About Saul Flores!

This is the story of a type of persistence and resourcefulness that is astounding at any age, in any setting or in any country. Saul Flores is the real deal. And to know Saul Flores–and this may sound trite, but it isn’t–is to love him, to be crazy about him, and to be inspired by him.

— Susan Nutter

Vice Provost, North Carolina State University

Saul was a true joy to work with. He possesses an incredible ability to engage his various audiences in a way that is thought-provoking yet gentle so that folks a from varying walks of life can connect with his message. He was warm and genuinely interested in learning about our community.

— Candace Leake

Associate Director of Admissions for Access and Outreach, Bucknell University

Saul Flores was amazing. His story, The Walk of the Immigrants was beyond words. His transparency and authenticity allowed for a raw emotional connection with both students and those in attendance. Saul is an heart warming and energetic speaker with a demeanor of love, support, and care. It was pleasure to host him and look forward to future engagements.

— Sean Hembrick

Coordinator for Equity and Inclusive Excellence, Auburn State University

Saul is a phenomenal speaker who really brings sincerity, kindness, and compassion to the work and to his audience. Saul created a lot of thoughtful discussion during/after the Walk of the Immigrants Presentation and helped educate our community about what immigrants can/do experience. Saul’s presentation is thoughtful and well delivered, he’s truly gifted at sharing the art of storytelling!

— Maggie Appel-Schumacher

Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad, University of Dubuque

Saul did a great job with engaging with a small crowd of students that had learning disabilities. I would love to bring him back to campus as I build the Multicultural program here at Beacon College.

— Rotimi Ariyo

Director of Student Activities and the Student Center, Beacon College

We worked with Saul Flores and the CAMPUSPEAK team in hosting our first virtual speaker series campaign. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we invited Saul Flores to speak on his program “The Walk of the Immigrants.” Saul was very personal and the students really appreciated and connected with him. Directly from a student: “I truly enjoyed attending the virtual event with Saul Flores. I appreciated his stories of his families sacrifices and how he has learned from the disadvantaged and turned his photography of innocent moments of beauty. It was also great that he also asked us to participate and share experiences.” I spoke with Saul prior to the event and he inquired about the campus community to get a better feel of some of the students that may attend the event, and I really respect and appreciated that. I would definitely recommend this program!

— Jordan Chang

Assistant Director, Center for Diversity & Cultural Affairs, Sam Houston State University

Saul was our Keynote speaker for the Emerging Leader One Day Conference. At the end of the day we asked for students to share their Ah-ha moments. Many of them spoke about Saul and how they are now inspired to act because of the stories he shared.

— Kimberly David

Coordinator of Student Activities, Central Arizona College

Saul was an incredible presenter who enraptured the attendees at his “The Walk of The Immigrants” event. I am still getting feedback from attendees almost a week later about how moved they were. Saul is personable and inviting and presented in such a way that there was an entry point for everyone, regardless of their experiences or perspectives on the topic. The planning process was smooth and I felt supported along the way by the CAMPUSPEAK staff. Thank you all for a rich educational experience.

— Ashley Michelle Fowler

Associate Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Champlain College

It’s a story that Flores tells so modestly, with such an understatement, that at first you don’t quite grasp the gravity of it.

— Bob Geary

Indy Week

Saul was absolutely amazing to work with. We are a small campus that is 85% students of color — many who have stories like Saul’s. It was profound to see them hearing and seeing a speaker that looks and sounds like them, and whose life mirrors theirs. Saul put students at ease and was able to create a space where they felt vulnerable and heard. The presentation content itself is so important and so moving, and I think that my students especially resonated with the message. He was an absolute pleasure to work with.

— Susan Harper

Student Services Associate — Activities, UNT Dallas

I loved having Saul Flores on campus. His communication before the event was great, and he was a pleasure to work with on campus. His story was powerful and he engaged our students in a way that captured their attention and made them experience emotion. I didn’t even see one cell phone out! Working with CAMPUSPEAK (Michael Hood specifically) was incredibly easy, and I knew exactly what to expect during the whole process. While the price-points for the CAMPUSPEAK roster is out of my traditional price range for a speaker, I will continue to keep you in mind for future special events.

— Bridget O’Donnel

Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Penn State Brandywine

Working with Saul Flores has been such a pleasure. He was very easy to work with and I found him to be a relatable presenter. Our students were very impressed with his presentation. During his virtual presentation, Saul focused on sharing his personal story, love and respect for his family, and the struggles that immigrants face which motivated attendees to overcome barriers and reach their goals.
Saul was able to keep participants focused during the entire time and they commented that they appreciated Saul’s transparency, friendly and approachable manner, his ability to capture the importance of immigrants in our country, and that they felt inspired to make a difference in our country and any part of the world!

— Ana Salgado

Student Activities/Cross-Cultural Coordinator, Sauk Valley Community College

KEYNOTES

SUGARLAND

Welcome to Sugarland. This is an inspiring tale of determination and perseverance, and it’s a message that all college students need to hear. In life, we face challenges and obstacles, but Saul Flores believes with passion, resilience, and a sense of belonging, you can overcome anything. The story of Saul begins in the sugarcane fields of Mexico, where the growing conflicts have created an unstable and unsafe environment for farmers and their families. Even in the face of these challenges, the farmers have become a symbol of hope and resilience for all of Mexico.

Saul Flores is a social innovator who started a sugar company in Puebla, Mexico, named MAMA Sugar. Charmed by the hard work and dedication of the farmworkers, mothers, and daughters of the sugarcane fields of Mexico, Saul fell in love with the resilience and determination of his community and wanted to give back. MAMA Sugar advocates for safe working conditions for the farmers while giving back to the local community through various charitable initiatives. Saul’s passion for social justice and helping others has inspired many people and positively impacted the Puebla region.

In this program, Saul invites you to join him as he tells stories of the wondrous sugarcane workers he has met, their annual 100-mile pilgrimage, and how students can use the lessons from Sugarland to see the potential for growth and change in their own lives. By hearing the stories of others who have overcome challenges and achieved their goals, students can gain a sense of hope and motivation for their own journey.

Learning Outcomes
As a result of attending the program, students will:

  • Understand the importance of determination and perseverance in overcoming challenges and achieving goals
  • Learn about the impact that passion, resilience, and a sense of belonging can have on creating a fulfilling and meaningful life
  • Find inspiration and motivation from the stories of others who have overcome barriers and challenges
  • Recognize the potential for growth and change in one’s own life, and how the lessons from Sugarland can be applied to personal journeys
The Walk of the Immigrants

Saul spent three months walking, hitchhiking, and sleeping on the ground and in hiding places. His journey began in Ecuador and ended in Charlotte, North Carolina. In three months, he walked 5,328 miles through ten countries and nine border crossings to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico.

In this keynote, Saul speaks about how as a North Carolina State University senior, he took the “Walk” in the summer of 2010. Student audiences get the opportunity to relive The Walk of the Immigrants along with Saul and create a deeper understanding of the struggles, hardships, joy, and hope that immigrants experience on their journey.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how to connect their passion with purpose,
  • the value of learning about different cultures and communities, and
  • how immigrant communities try to overcome adversity in the United States.
Think Big

In this program, Saul shares his story of helping others in need to emphasize the value of servant leadership, and how to give back to different communities through service-learning initiatives and humanitarian projects.

On a service-learning spring break trip to his mother’s hometown, Saul discovered a withering cinderblock elementary school, flowered by beautiful fields of sugarcane. Struck by the charm and contrastingly severe poverty of the six-classroom building, Saul decided to act.

He found the students living in aluminum shanties and sleeping on the floor, lacking motivation for school. Determined to help make a difference in the lives of the children, and armed with the knowledge that education provides youth a solid foundation, Saul made it his mission to raise funds to reconstruct their school.

After an arduous three-year labor of love, and with the help of a community of scholars wanting to make a difference, the 134 elementary students graduated in a newly reconstructed school.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how finding purpose beyond just themselves allows them to accomplish much more,
  • how serving others is leadership,
  • the value of service-learning trips and giving back to communities, and
  • how to use their skills and talents in service of others.
With Grit

From getting accepted to college to landing your dream job, grit is what makes us truly great. Regardless of our background, status, or intelligence, grit is the great equalizer. In this program, Saul explains how students can harness the power of grit to work toward purpose-driven goals. Using storytelling, discussion, and practical exercises, students will feel empowered to develop gritty habits and use grit as a tool for navigating the college journey.

As a first-generation college student born into a family of sugarcane workers, Saul learned the power of grit at an early age. Upon arriving in America, his mother would juggle multiple jobs, and his grandmother would trade aluminum cans for coins to provide for Saul and his family. From experiencing personal hardship to navigating how to get into college, grit became key in Saul’s journey to achieving his goals.

This program is great for leadership conferences, first-year experience programming, orientations, or anyone who is ready to get gritty.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will:

  • Be able to identify and understand the key aspects of grit,
  • Walk away with an understanding of their own journey of grit,
  • Learn how to develop gritty habits in their personal, academic, and professional lives, and
  • Explore how developing a culture of grit in their respective communities can help with long-term success.
From Where I Stand:

From helping his mother scrub penthouse suites in Manhattan to learning broken English with his sister, Saul’s humble beginnings started in Brooklyn, New York. Now, he wants to share his story to inspire college students to persevere no matter the circumstance.

Growing up with little-to-no resources, Flores persisted through the economic barriers that prevented him and his family from attaining the American Dream. As a high school senior, Flores spent his afternoons applying to universities and scholarships, knowing that it was going to take more than grades for him to attend college.

As the first person in his family to graduate high school, Flores received more than 20 scholarships from organizations like McDonald’s, Mercedes Benz, Walmart, BI-LO, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and was offered a seat in the Caldwell Fellows Program at NC State.

Whether you’re a first-generation college student or a freshman in a new leadership role, Saul will inspire students to overcome their personal barriers to live up to their fullest potential.

Learning Outcomes
As a result of attending the program, students will learn:

  • That perseverance can help students overcome any obstacle
  • How to empathize with individuals from underserved communities
  • That adversity can fuel personal growth
  • How first-generation students can change the world