The GCL Alumni Network: Continuity, Growth, Connection
Impact Report of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Network 2019-2021
By: Laura Paonessa (GCL 2016), Leo Nunes (GCL 2015), Oscar Gutierrez Fernandez (GCL 2018), Alejandra López (GCL 2018), and José de la Luz Sanguino (GCL 2008)
During the past three years, marked by new global challenges, the GCL Alumni Network has consolidated and become a space of continuity for all the members of this great family. Before the end of our administration, we want to share an impact report showcasing some of the activities we carried out to strengthen the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program (GCL), the multiplier effect of the GCL projects, and the ties with the various networks of leaders across the region.
Strengthening the GCL Program
In coordination with the team of the Latin American Leadership Program (LALP) and with the goal of integrating all LALP Alumni communities, the GCL Alumni Network helped identify and co-design open spaces for alumni to accompany program applicants, participants, and new alumni. As such,
- We supported the dissemination of the program to reach more candidates from different areas of each country, adding greater diversity to the program.
- We promoted Alumni engagement in the GCL selection interview process, providing the university with a local view of each application, and enabling opportunities for new candidates to ask questions and engage with program alumni. In total, 104 volunteer alumni from 18 countries participated by conducting more than 350 interviews.
- We encouraged meetings in each country with the final candidates before starting the program and upon their return. More than 45 local meetings took place and more than 420 alumni got involved.
All of these actions were especially valuable for the GCL 2020 cohort, as their in-person experience came to an abrupt halt due to the pandemic, and for the GCL 2021 cohort who was a special edition held entirely virtual.
Strengthening the multiplier effect of projects
We sought to update and create bonds between GCL alumni, thus providing valuable networks to design and amplify the scope of projects, both for members who are studying the program and for alumni. For example,
- We encouraged the alumni to join as mentors and support the projects generated during the program. More than 45 work pairs were formed.
- We continued and expanded the available communication channels. We launched an Instagram alumni account that currently has 1,100 followers from across the region. We updated the database and redesigned the alumni newsletter to reach the entire community every two months.
- In addition to the general channels, we promoted thematic conversations that expanded the capacity to consolidate projects, share specialized information, funding opportunities, and relevant publications. The thematic groups that exist today are Education, Entrepreneurs, Business and Finance, Government, Personal Development, and Rural Communities, with more than 340 active members.
- We participated in the annual call and selection of the GCL Impact Award and collaborated with LALP to identify valuable projects to highlight on the program's website and in the LALP Impact Report. More than 80 alumni and their projects were reviewed and highlighted.
Strengthening ties with other networks of changemakers in the Region
We also expanded our ties with other regional networks to amplify and generate alliances to improve the region.
- We cooperated in the organization of different webinar cycles in conjunction with the Latin American Leadership Program (LALP), Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), and the alumni network of LALP's Program for Innovation and Leadership in Government (RILG), such as the webinar series "Latin America: Leading the Road Ahead."
- We redesigned the annual GCL Alumni Meetings adapting to times of pandemic. We supported the reunion host teams in Brazil (2019) and Panama (2021), and, with LALP support, led the joint virtual meetings of LALP Alumni (2020), and incorporated a virtual instance in the 2021 meeting that helped increase the number of participants to historic records, reaching 850 between the three meetings, expanding the call to Georgetown alumni as in the case of Panama.
- We collaborated with other entrepreneurial communities such as the YLAI and TIC Americas, developing more than 10 workshops and sharing classes with their members. We established ties with the network of alumni of LALP's Innovation and Leadership in Government Program (ILG) and we worked together to organize seminars and the annual meeting in 2020 and 2021.
All these bridges that held us together were especially valuable in these moments of pause, globally and personally, during which we have gone through difficult situations and the loss of loved ones. The GCL Alumni Network was once again a source of support, just as it had been when we said goodbye to our dear colleagues Majo Álvarez Niño (GCL 2015) and Ulises Juárez Polanco (GCL 2014). In these turning point moments, it is where we reconnect with our purpose and get back on track.
As LALP Executive Director and MSB Professor Ricardo Ernst always remind us,
If not us, who?
If not now, when?
If it's only for us, what for?
We are all very honored to have served the community as part of the GCL Alumni Network Executive Council during these three years. Grateful for all the teamwork generated across the members of this network, for the support received from former alumni presidents and the program team of the Latin America Leadership Program.
And very happy to present the new elected board of directors formed by Carina Silva (GCL 2020), Gustavo Rodriguez (GCL 2019), Camilo Santa (GCL 2015) Karina Dupont (GCL 2021), and José Álvaro Benajes (GCL 2009).
We are optimistic, we have a common purpose, and in this challenge of transforming the region, we are all linked.