I have always been interested in promoting the arts and culture of my country, Panama. Panama’s culture is a blend of Spanish, European, African, Caribbean, American Indian and North American influences. Growing up in this multicultural society gave me a broad perspective on the makeup of communities.
When I finished high school, encouraged by my father, a brilliant economist and beloved university professor, I left for Russia to pursue an undergraduate degree as a translator in the combination of Spanish, English, French and Russian. This would be the start of my interest in research and learning about the translation of artistic elements across cultures. In 2014, my PhD dissertation at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona was devoted to this topic, while simultaneously working as a language specialist and administrator. In my free time, I always took advantage and attended the many cultural offerings in large and small cities.
Today, after translating information, reports, and current affairs in a variety of fields, I am pursuing my passion for the arts and building bridges between cultures. My return to university and pursuit of a Master of Arts, Entrepreneurship and Leadership through the Bolz Center has allowed me to pivot from my past experiences as language specialist to Arts Administrator and complete full circle. The Master’s program has been a transformational journey at the personal and professional level, and there have been many experiences that I am forever grateful for. Through the Applied Learning Placement with the Wisconsin Arts Board, I was able to implement class theoretical concepts when fulfilling my core responsibilities. Coursework with the Bolz Center included how to use audio recording and editing software and producing a podcast episode to writing grant abstracts and mock grant applications. Team projects and delivering presentations before the professors and classmates was much different from my previous experience in other universities. This provided a lot of interacting with my peers, and although a nerve-racking experience, it also resulted in developing my presentation and speaking skills, as well as improving the quality and appeal of presentations to engage the audience. The future benefit of developing my presentations skills will make it easier to communicate my personal brand and consulting skills concisely through social media.
In addition, I was also able to create a detailed business plan to support, promote, and celebrate the arts through creative workshops in communities away from the center of Panama City, Panama.
I encourage the Bolz Center to continue offering the Brave Space as an open platform to express what diversity and a sense of belonging meant. This will greatly help in the process of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the graduate program. At times, the course load is very broad, and I didn’t get everything right on the first try. It was important to know that I was worth more than just the amount of work I did and that I was trying my best and learning from mistakes.
Change has been a constant part of my life, but I want to underscore the importance of having an embracing and curious open heart. Ultimately, I have appreciated my time in Madison, and I aspire to emulate the “leadership brand” based on attentive listening, compassion, and kindness displayed by the many fine faculty, students, and administration I have had the opportunity to work with over the academic year. I am better equipped to support the community by moving from translating to transforming the culture and being a source of capacity building in the creative industry.