What can you do with this new reality? | Leadership Lessons

June 10, 2021  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

In 2019, Ana María Vallarino (Central America Leadership Initiative Fellow) received an untreatable cancer diagnosis that led her to reevaluate how she was living. She left her job and started to question really who she was. And then the pandemic hit.

“I shifted from that helpless, ‘What am I going to do? What is happening? What is going on?’ To saying, ‘Okay, this is a reality, what can I do now with this reality?'”

Feeling the urgency of this moment, Ana María connected with other Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) Fellows to determine how they could leverage each other’s strengths to help Panama get through the crisis. In July 2020, they launched Todo Panama – a civic movement created and supported by a collaboration of 17 CALI Fellows aiming to stop community contagion and aid gradual and safe economic recovery. 

The movement created a public awareness around health and safety measures, served more than 1,700 positive COVID patients by supporting their families with food and basic supplies, provided 500,000 masks and face shields distributed nationwide, and raised more than $3.3 million to support recovery in the country. 

Now, Ana María is sharing her #LeadershipLessons from growing this movement while facing deep personal challenges. 

Ana Maria Vallarino is Executive Director of the civic movement #TODOPANAMA. She is a member of the Board of Directors of VerdeAzul Hotels and several of GVA’s housing projects as well as a founding member for WCD Panama (Panama’s chapter for Women Corporate Directors). Ana is a Fellow of the 10th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

The Central America Leadership Initiative develops values-based leadership talent in six countries of Central America to tackle the challenges the region confronts. A partnership of the Institute, TechnoServe, INCAE, and FUNDEMAS, the initiative was formalized in 2007 as an independent nonprofit foundation.

Leadership Lessons – a Video Series from the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The impacts of COVID-19 continue to challenge our communities. However, through these challenges, there’s a lot to be learned. In “Leadership Lessons” hear from leaders who have stepped up in new ways and remained steadfast in their values through this crisis. How did they make the tough decisions? How have they changed as leaders? Tune in and gain top insights from values-driven leaders – Fellows in the Aspen Global Leadership Network – who are battling trade-offs, creating rapid responses to community needs, sharpening new skills, and more.

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