I come from the South South, from the highest capital city in the world: La Paz, Bolivia. There, I had the opportunity to work for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNESCO for their Population Education Project. The knowledge I gained from traveling the whole country training journalists and grassroots reporters was invaluable. I was able to learn more about urban and rural audiences in a developing country and how they go about their daily life dealing with vital issues like Reproductive Health, Domestic Violence, Gender Equity, Environment and basic information needs.
Later on and after competing with Bolivia’s best professionals, I was awarded a full-scholarship by Fulbright to do my graduate studies in the US. I was accepted in the only Communication and Development school in the country at the Center for International Studies in Ohio University and complemented my masters with a minor in Visual Communications. Afterwards, I continued my studies towards a PhD in Mass Communications, researching on information and communication technologies and how it mediates daily life and culture. (See my dissertation).
After coming to the career word in the Washington DC, metropolitan area, I earned government experience while working for the DC Major on Latino Affairs, managing their digital outreach and information data bases. Afterwards, I was hired by the National Council of La Raza, a national hispanic civil rights organization, as their Graphics and Publications Director. On this role, I lead a team of 3-5 graphic designers, freelancers and interns and brought the in-house team to the next level; identified their strengths and drove them to the digital publishing era; and, trained them in design-thinking as it is applied to their daily work and added web design and video-graphics to their skill-set giving them a new skill-set. In my pursuit of better quality with efficiency, I negotiated the adoption of the latest and affordable technology for an automated design process, this ensured accountability in the approvals and made sure all input and feedback was received in the most accurate and efficient manner. In addition, I reorganized all the historical research into an online repository which made publications shareable and more accessible.
My creative approach—no matter the medium—is to find what cultural referents would make our audience identify with the message and use that as focal points for potential stories. I prefer authentic editorial photography because it tells the story in a more impactful way.
I'm now veering to User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design which seems like a natural and progressive move. I realize that the experience has been part of the design process without much feedback from the audience we are reaching, but this ought to change.
My management style is open, the power of encouragement and passion instillment works better than exerting power through intimidation.
It is all about change. Have we made a difference in people's lives? were they exposed to more information to improve their quality of life? This is what drives me to continue.