On Friday, October 19th, we had hosted another CLACS Alumn during our Perspectives from the Field Series, a speaker series that invites CLACS alumni from a wide range of professions to speak about their experiences since graduation, and how their studies at CLACS prepared them for the work that they are doing today. The topics that our invited speakers discuss in the series include development, education, human rights, business, public health, and more.
On this day, we welcomed Ana María Blanco, who currently works as a Communication on Progress Manager at the United Nations Global Compact supporting companies to implement and disclose progress on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. She began her talk discussing her work experience in her native Colombia. She earned her law degree in Bogota where she worked for a corporate law firm, and was unhappy in that environment. Ana María later worked for the Colombian government conducting research on the ongoing armed conflict in the country. She observed negotiations with Paramilitaries, which led her to become very interested in conflict resolution. She felt like that was something that she really wanted to get involved in, and decided to apply to CLACS at NYU to further her knowledge about Latin America.
Living in New York City, as well as her studies at CLACS proved to be very challenging, especially because of the language difficulty. Although the english language did not come easy, she persevered and made the best of her studies at NYU. She even got an internship with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court via the CLACS email blast. After completing the MA program in Latin American and Caribbean studies in 2005, Ana María was admitted into the political science doctorate program at the New School.
Ana María later realized that a life in academia was not for her, so she left the New School doctorate program with a MA political science and decided to start interviewing for jobs. She kept herself open to any opportunity, got a lot of interviewing experience, and said that “conscious positioning and assertiveness” are what gets a person job offers. Ana María finally accepted a position as a Research Analyst at Integrity Research Associates, a start up financial company, where she helped clients to identify environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues relevant to their investments in emerging markets. Ana María was able to focus on Latin American research at the firm.
Although her company survived the financial crisis of 2008, it had serious difficultues in 2011. Ana María started her job search again with the help of the Career center at NYU. One day, she got called for a temporary job at United Nations Global Compact, and eventually was offered a permanent position. The purpose of the organization is to work with the private sector advocating for the implementation of the 10 principles of the Global Compact. These are 10 principles that are a minimum standard for responsible corporate citizenship including those companies that operate outside of their own national borders. Ana María receives reports from 7,000 companies adhering to their principles. She also travels abroad to conduct training workshops on adequate reporting.
Ana María has noticed that the companies located in Latin America have especially embraced the principles set by Global Impact and are actually very proactive in its implementation. It’s been very encouraging to her to see region make progress and ban together in this way.
If you would like to know what some of our other Alumni are up to, please join us for our next talk on Friday, December 7th, as we sit down with Benjamin Aplin, Director of Institutional Advancement at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, to hear how his training in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at CLACS prepared him for his career. This will be the last talk of the Fall 2012 semester, so we hope to see you and some friends there for interesting conversations and great networking opportunities – it’s never too early to think about the future!
Sisa B. Holguín is Program Administrator at CLACS and Managing Editor for the CLACS-NYU Blog