How a Missing Accent Mark Changed Inés Ruiz's Life Forever
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Inés Ruiz, founder and CEO of Medita Spanish, the world's first language learning and guided meditation app. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Inés Ruiz: I’m a former Cambridge University professor, military spouse, and the founder of Medita Spanish, the world’s first language learning and guided meditation app. I’m originally from Spain but now live and work in the U.S.
My experience as a teacher showed me that students who struggled to learn had one thing in common: their mindset. I used my love for languages and my own unique learning method to create a Spanish teacher certification company. After its massive success, I realized how many people in the U.S. still can't speak Spanish despite years of studying it in school. I created Medita Spanish because I'm passionate about transforming traditional learning to be more modern and mindful.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Inés Ruiz: When everything in my business seemed to be falling apart, I stopped focusing on what some of the so-called industry gurus say to do. Instead of giving up or letting it get me down, I listened to my intuition.
I realized that I was already a leader — after all, I created a seven-figure business in less than three years. My team was counting on me. People who weren’t involved with my business and didn’t understand it or the strengths of my team didn’t matter. I stepped up to the plate and finally listened to my own voice. The minute I did, everything fell into place.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Inés Ruiz: We’re not just changing how people learn a second language. We’re also on the verge of changing traditional learning methods altogether through mindset practices, meditation techniques, and neuro-linguistic programming. We want to disrupt the antiquated education system and help people enhance their learning experience with innovation and mindfulness.
What book changed your mindset or life?
Inés Ruiz: “Rocket Fuel,” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, changed everything for me and my business. It made me understand my own ways of operating and the distinction between visionaries and integrators. Visionaries are the big-picture thinkers, and integrators are the ones who make the big picture a reality.
“Rocket Fuel” showed me that I wasn’t operating from my zone of genius. I was a visionary trying to be an integrator, which is why I always felt disconnected from my business. The minute I recognized this, I course corrected and played to my strengths instead of trying to do everything on my own.
What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Inés Ruiz: When I was 23, I was finishing my degree in translation and needed an internship to graduate. I had been building a relationship with the company where I wanted to intern for a year. Just before I was going to start, they sent me a final piece of paperwork, and I rushed to complete it. The day after I returned it, they canceled my internship. I had forgotten one Spanish accent mark, and they couldn’t accept anyone who didn’t pay attention to details.
I was devastated and had to take an internship as a Spanish teacher in the United Kingdom instead. The irony is, that missing accent mark led me to become a Spanish teacher at Cambridge University and ultimately immigrate to the U.S. Now I have two successful business ventures.
How do you define great leadership?
Inés Ruiz: Great leadership is the culmination of several qualities and skills: emotional intelligence, honest communication, a growth mindset, accountability, resilience, and a willingness to take action. Leaders have both great humility and the confidence and capabilities to be strategic when necessary. Leadership means failing forward and understanding that mistakes are opportunities to uncover the path to success.
How do you hire top talent?
Inés Ruiz: Hiring the right people is about recognizing the potential in others more than anything. It’s not always about degrees or the best credentials; it’s about integrity and willingness to take action. It’s about finding people you can trust who are real and unafraid to make mistakes and be accountable for them. Look for those who are willing to grow with you and show up, no matter how difficult it might be.
You have to listen to your gut. Having a strong intuition in business can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Inés Ruiz: Focusing on my mindset and being self-aware, without a doubt. When I finally started doing mindset work and truly focusing on being more aware of my thought patterns and behavior, I was able to get out of my own way and grow a business and lifestyle that benefited me in every way.
What are you working on right now?
Inés Ruiz: My team and I are in the development stage of an amazing startup — the world’s first language learning and guided meditation app. Our unique method is built on meditation techniques and mindset practices fused with Spanish language instruction. We use mindful learning applications that help people gain motivation, confidence, and resilience to finally speak Spanish fluently.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Inés Ruiz: I want to make learning a second language easy and accessible to the whole world. I also want to change traditional learning methods so they are more modern and innovative. They should focus on the process of learning, not the content itself.
I believe that mindset is the missing link between students who succeed and those who don’t. By making learning more mindful, we can transform a student’s motivation, confidence, and resilience so they can learn at peak performance.