BFP: What do you do?
LR: I am currently part of a multi-disciplinary/multi-sectorial team that is co-creating the transformation of the world’s agricultural eco-system. We are incubating and scaling-large-scale, business-led social and environmental innovation prototypes that we believe will significantly increase the WELL-BEING of ALL. We bring to the table an “uncommon” team of partners that are all committed to co-creating and collaborating a bigger “whole” for everyone, instead of each stakeholder coming to the table with their own agenda and a vision for what is in it for them. It takes a different mind-set and definitely stretches everyone’s comfort zone… And it is so worth it. It may sound cliché and the truth is that to be able to transform something outside of us we first have to be willing transform ourselves.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
LR: This is a hard one to answer. There are so many things I love about my ‘job’ I don’t even feel like it’s a job- if I had to pick just one, I would say it is the people I work with and work for. I am constantly learning and growing from and with them. I have the privilege of working with people not only from different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds, but also who place high value on empathy, respect and empowerment. Most of the times our work interactions are not about proving who is right or more intelligent, and more so about supporting each other, in a way that it allows each one to perform their best.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
LR: Creating my own career path and definition of success. Quite early in my “career” I came to the realization that I didn’t want to follow the pre-set career paths offered in my organization and yet I felt incredibly passionate about my work and the endless possibilities I saw. I knew I wanted to stay and work at the Bank and that I wanted to innovate and venture into new areas and projects.
At times, I have felt like an outsider, misunderstood and confused whether I have made the right choice. At other times I have been seen as the troublemaker and a bit of a rebel. All of these experiences have offered me plenty of material and opportunities to question my thinking, “tame” my ego and need to be right and/or feel acknowledged by others.
In the recent future, many of the projects I co-created and incubated have started to show tangible, positive results and sometimes that’s what it takes for some sceptics of social innovation to become a bit more curious on what it is that is being proposed.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What advice, would you give to others?
LR: Finding and creating an outside network of like-minded people has been instrumental; as well as always finding the right mentor to guide me and keep me honest. As I mentioned before, my definition of success is to love what I do and work with and for people that support me in showing-up as the best version of myself.
The times I have woken-up feeling like I don’t want to get up to engage in work, I know its time for me to move on, and I have.
My advice to others:
- Create your own team- these are people who will keep you honest and true to yourself. That will help you uncover your blind-spots with kindness and celebrate with you when you overcome them.
- Work hard- and smart. Know thyself! Know in which environment and with what type of people you thrive, produce your best and work with flow. I personally have stopped trying to work with a certain type of personality. I have learned and grown personally a great deal when I had worked for them, and I certainly do not show-up as my best under their supervision.
- Learn to execute more efficiently and be prepared to deliver the best you can.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
LR: I really do believe that finding out as early as possible what you love is the best advice I can give anyone. Find that something that gives you more energy than it takes away- whatever it is that you don’t need caffeine to sustain you and be committed to put in the hard work. Then go find people who are already doing what you would like to be doing, find a way to connect with them and learn from them as much as possible.
BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
LR:There is great deal of excitement and awe that is felt when standing in the unknown and facing what feels like an insurmountable challenge or what so many of us have called an intractable problem. The BFP offers the best platform I know to allow people from all backgrounds to come together to take-on the “impossible”. My hope is to continue to learn from each other and co-create solutions together.
Thank you to Rosario Londono for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.