Renée Ramirez
Renée Ramirez
Panama, 2022-2023
My name is Renée and I’m spending a year in Panamá working with Fundación Calicanto. Calicanto is a Panamanian organization combatting gender-based violence through social and economic empowerment programs. I’m a Nashville girl and graduated from Belmont in 2021 with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Economics. This is such a privilege, thanks for following along! Read More About Renée →

Sweet, Normal Life Here in Panama

Hi everyone! The last couple of weeks have been pretty low-key. Have gotten into a steady rhythm of work, weekly sports meetups, and spending time with friends. Sharing a brief update here.
Highlights recently have been
  • Finding a yoga studio close to my home.
  • Watching friends participate in a surf competition.
  • New coffee shop opening at the end of my street.
  • Babysitting my Ps. daughters for a weekend.

Current Projects
My focus the last couple of weeks has been on the data side of Seguimientos. The goal is to create a process flow for all of the follow-up data we receive to give us the clearest understanding of the effectiveness of our programs. One of the tensions I am managing with this particular project is working to create a mostly-automated process (auto-populating data, conditional formatting, custom logic) without paying for automation platforms or 3rd party platforms. I did a lot of internal system development for my job before Lumos so have a good foundation to streamline this final part of the follow-up process. Though I can do it well, working with data can often feel like a big puzzle and is something I often find draining – I much prefer people-facing work. It is super important however and can save so much time, money, and mistakes that come with manual data entry. I have been spending more time in coffee shops the last couple of weeks to create a fun work environment. Finishing up this part of the project this week and then will move on to something brand new which is exciting!

 

Something New

A new coffee shop opened up at the end of my street and it has been such a fun addition to my weekly routine. I met the owner’s wife at their original location last month and was super excited when she mentioned they were opening a new spot – even more excited when I discovered it was on my street. The space reminds me a lot of Portland Brew back in Nashville (my favorite coffee shop) and the staff is so friendly. It is a perfect walking distance from my apartment too. Have been learning a bit about Panamanian coffee through my new barista friends and it is so interesting. Panama is in the ‘bean belt’ of Central America and has hundreds of microclimates meaning it has all of these different climate conditions (high elevation, volcanic soil, steady rainstorms, etc.) that create unique and complex flavor profiles. I spent a year in college developing a coffee business with a couple of friends and it’s been fun to learn more about what makes Panamanian coffee so special. Looking forward to learning more while I’m here.

I recently took on co-leadership for the church plant’s worship team and am excited to help structure, grow, and steward the small team that we have. Leading worship was a large part of my life growing up and something that has changed and matured as I have over the years. I really enjoy creating and leading small teams and am excited to lead this team from behind – facilitating a safe and grounded environment, supporting them with practical tools, and giving them space to lead themselves and others. Since moving, I have had more time to invest in non-work things and am getting to practice more which has been a really fun thing. Currently diving back into the world of theory and searching for a used keyboard!

Something I’m Grateful for

I am slowly getting connected to the food scene here in Panama which has been so fun. Have become friends with a couple of cooks + foodies and am attending a circular food pop-up tomorrow hosted by some local chefs. They are creating dishes with 0 waste – using every part of the ingredients. It should be really cool!

That’s all for now amigos,

Cuidense!

Renée

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