What is your occupation and academic background and how did you come to work in this field?
Current occupation is as Senior Program Advisor -Caribbean, for the Pan American Development Foundation. My academic background is in Film Production, Latin American Studies, and International Communications. I came to work in this field by accident: I was focused on a career in film and television production, but after graduate school I started working more on Latin American and Caribbean economic development issues, and was recruited for an incredible opportunity to work at a Haitian Private Sector Think Tank,Centre pour la Libre Entreprise et la Democratie, which married my communications background, with my LAC and international development academic experience. I have been working on socio-economic development and program management activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a special emphasis on Haiti, for over 15 years.
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
The biggest challenge for me is to remain innovative in our approaches. It is challenging to find funding opportunities and competition is tough. So one needs to make sure that the work that we do is not only relevant, impactful, but also innovative—and improves the lives of our beneficiaries.
Identify one or two of your proudest achievements?
One of the activities I am particularly proud of is the series of conferences and economic round tables we had organized in the early 2000s in Haiti. We engaged people in a tri-partite discussion, private sector, civil society, and the contested government to explore ideas about making Haiti a competitive place. That generated a lot of buzz and discussions, and to this day, I still hear echoes of this experience, in the types of dialogue that are engaged at the time. But then again, getting people who are at odds intellectually or politically in the same room, and getting them discuss their ideas, perspectives with each other is great. If these dialogues can continue, hopefully we will reach positive change.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In a position to better influence policy decisions! Or on a lovely beach somewhere enjoying world peace! Who knows, really? Actually, I am hoping that in 10 years, I will be able to share more effectively my experiences, through teaching or writing.
What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have impact?
Be sure to do something you love. Recognize that you may be faced with limitations. However, persevere! We don’t always realize,in the moment, that what we do, impacts the people around us. But small changes are impactful. Find something you love to do, and preserve. And be conscious of the choices that you make. I think small things lead to big changes, and ultimately, positive impact.