Global Ties Miami

May 29, 2020

4 min read

Member Spotlight: An Interview with Emma and Robert Wing

by Lynare Robbins

Global Ties Miami members, Emma and Robert Wing share their interests, work and passion for making the world a better place. This is the story of their journey as global citizens.

Global Ties Miami Members, Robert and Emma Wing

Robert was born in Shanghai, China. Soon after, his family left China during the Communist Revolution on a cargo boat that landed in Hong Kong. Robert says that his family then immigrated to Sao Paulo, Brazil where he was ultimately raised. While Robert’s mother was a 2nd grade English teacher in Brazil, his father, a historian in ancient history, was a businessman who then studied Theology at the University of Sao Paulo, with his thesis conducted on an interpretation of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” Robert recounted how his father “went from businessman to theologist.” He became a Christian Chinese Pastor in Sao Paulo and then continued on as such in Berkeley, California. Robert is multi-lingual and speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese Chinese, Shanghainese Chinese and Standard Chinese.

Robert attended the University of North Carolina and worked for Information Handling Service (IHS), a global supplier of technical information, decision support tools; while based in Colorado. After 27 years Robert retired from IHS in 2001 and founded ITMS Group, a company that contributes to the advancement of science in Latin America through offering resources, products and solutions for optimizing library management and enabling scientific research in various fields of knowledge for over 1,000 institutions. Robert says of the company, “the tools developed through ITMS Group are built to give more information.” As CEO of ITMS Group, he shared how emerging markets in technology is enabling online training platforms that efficiently allow for more people to be trained. In addition to training, Robert says that technological infrastructure is also important as most search engines attached to American universities are about 25 years old. While he believes that governments should invest in more technology, Robert stated, “I would like to see small universities and community colleges get this kind of technology.” In summing up his individual journey, Robert stated, “I was a refugee and Brazil opened its arms, the United States gave me a chance, and IHS gave me an opportunity. I would like to give something back.” Robert said that he is available to help libraries and offer virtual demos of the cutting edge technology he has access to.

Robert and Emma Wing during a visit to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Emma was born and raised in Guatemala . Her family also emigrated to Latin America from China. She attended a portion of High School in New Orleans, and attended University Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City and then the University of Denver as a psychology and business major. Emma speaks English, Spanish, Cantonese Chinese and is currently learning Standard Chinese. She met Robert in Guatemala where she was working in the hotel industry. They later married and she moved to Colorado where she supported Robert with his career at IHS, and was involved with UNICEF and served as the Board of Directors and Chair for Welcome to Colorado- an affiliate of Welcome Clubs International, an organization to bring women together to promote ideas, build bridges of friendship, understanding, and education, without regard to political, cultural, or religious differences.

Emma later helped Robert found ITMS Group and holds a position of Senior Advisor for Business development. As a resident in Miami, she volunteers at Fairchild Tropical Garden and serves as a Home Hospitality Host to international leaders visiting Miami through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) that is facilitated by Global Ties Miami. “The beauty of Global Ties Miami is to learn and find understanding about people and life from a different perspective,” stated Emma. “The ability to impact relationships through friendships is important.” Emma shared that she views the United States as a very generous country and believes that a lot of everyday Americans are doing good things in the world. An example that she shared was organic farming programs and agricultural programs enlisted by American expats who are living in Guatemala.

Robert and Emma both share a love of travel. While Robert said that his favorite travel destinations are the United Kingdom, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and Kenya; Emma shared that her favorite destinations are China, Italy, India, Morocco, Turkey and Greece. “I like learning about the history of a country, because learning about its history lets you understand the soul of the people in the country and there is an immediate bond,” said Emma. One of the places where Emma said that she experienced a bond was in Northern Ireland. “There is a wall in Northern Ireland (called the “Peace Wall”) dividing people, but I was so touched by the people who are trying to come together and trying to put the wall behind them even if it is physically still there.”

On the topic of coming together, Robert and Emma shared their thoughts on COVID-19. “The pandemic has made us all think. And thinking changes culture more than someone trying to sell something,” said Emma. Robert added, “a year from now I believe that a scientist will come up with a solution.” When asked if there is anything else the couple would like to share with readers, Emma replied, “We can tell people more when we meet and become friends.”