Behind the Scenes with Ex-CNN Host Ismael Cala in Peru


Ismael Cala Interview: A reflection on life after CNN, growth and making an impact after 40.

The following is a summary of Ismael Cala’s interview conducted by Mr. Living in Peru, Carsten Korch, and written and interpreted by Hope Ansanelli:

Putting his priorities in order.

Turning 40 is a major benchmark in one’s life that leads to reflection on what you have accomplished, who you have become and what you now want to achieve in the coming chapter. You consider your legacy, and what you will be remembered for.

Ismael’s dream and top priority are to contribute to personal growth.  He says, “personal growth makes you happy” and he wishes to help others achieve it.

This is why Ismael decided to leave his famous position at CNN.  He had hit a moment in his life where everyone, including himself, was telling him that he had already achieved his greatness, that CNN would be his legacy.

This was a problem for him because CNN was already a comfort zone.

He decided to test himself once more and do what he has been doing since he was a kid, studying and graduating.  He explains, “CNN became like the university to me. I have been studying here, I have been learning but now it’s time to graduate…a lot of people confuse their value with the value of the brand and the titles they possess…this is a professional detachment”.

He continues to tell us that he is beyond grateful to CNN and that in the future if they are interested, he would consider working with them again. This would only be possible, however, after he proves to himself that he can make it on his own because otherwise he will be stuck with fear.

That is the real motivator, to live fearlessly.

He comments that since this “detachment”  in the last year, he has grown so much by traveling, learning, and meeting new inspiring people; things he was unable to do before.

During this time he asked himself, “What is my legacy, what do I want to be remembered for?” 

When asked if Ismael would ever return to CNN, he responded with a metaphor about Apple products.  He explains that each year, Apple updates and enhances their products with the latest technology and design to make them better and more effective.  For him, going back to CNN would only be possible if the Ismael who goes back is different than the one who left.  In other words, a newer version of himself with “better and clearer intentions” of what he would do at CNN that could impact countless people.

Ismael continues to explain his disdain with the state of news today and the need for its own evolution.

“The news in its nature is really toxic” Ismael realized that he would probably have to go back to the “battle” (the idea of fighting news and its toxicity) because “we need consciousness in journalism..how can we avoid having the same problems? Terrorist attacks, the same corruption events, we have to understand that this is a consciousness crisis”.

He is strategizing his comeback.  He is not sure that it will be with CNN.

Ismael comments that it is hard to write positive news because people have a negativity bias in their brains. “Positive news mandates more consciousness”, he says. He congratulates Living in Peru for swimming upstream and focusing their news on positive topics.

The conversation turns to the future.

When asked what he plans to achieve in the next decade, Ismael responds that he believes that in the next ten years he will reach one billion people with positive news and his message on consciousness. I want to be a crusader of consciousness,” he says.  He wants to communicate the message of self-transformation and how that can make the world a better place.

“Is it fair to say that you’d like to do what Tony Robbins has done in the world but in Latin America?”, Carsten asks.

Ismael responds by explaining that the world is no longer local but exponential, so although his focus will be on Latin America and its thriving in the world, he will also target English-speaking countries. Why? “Because we need to become ambassadors to make other cultures and other people understand us (Latin Americans) better”, he explains.

The interview ends with both men laughing, Carsten and Ismael, agreeing that helping others makes them the happiest.



A native of Long Island, New York, Hope joins our team after finishing up her two year Peace Corp's service working in community-based environmental resource management in northern Peru and Master's degree in Environmental Studies. Passionate about life and living it beyond limits, Hope loves to teach and practice Yoga, cook healthy home-made recipes and explore the world with her loved ones.