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 →

Wrapping Up

Buenas a todos! I am back in the states for the holidays working remotely for the last few weeks of the year. It was hard to leave Panama right as the summer was beginning and fly to Nashville where it’s freezing but I feel so content to be with my family for the holidays. I was able to travel to San Diego with my little brother on a college tour last week which was so special. I introduced him to my friends and favorite spots, worked as his PA as he did baseball tryouts, and got to watch him take in California for the first time which was so sweet.


  • Calicanto team Christmas lunch!
  • Learning to make Panamanian food with friends
  • Watching YETI presents videos (a friend showed me the mini-series about Eduardo Garcia and wow so inspiring)
  • Annual Christmas party with my Nashville friends <3
Work Projects

I shared a presentation with our board of directors recently about my most recent Academia Calicanto project. It is a business development project in the early launch stages so we went over the business concept and value proposition, platform demo, customer discovery plan, start-up costs, and other internal ops outlines. Our board of directors knows the business landscape in Panama very well and it was helpful to have them as thought partners as we develop launch and promotion strategies. My next steps are to revise the pitch deck into a shorter sales-oriented presentation for them to promote in their networks in the new year.

My work for the end of the year is getting lighter and lighter as we approach Christmas. My work on Academia Calicanto has come to a natural pause as I shared my most recent project update with our team in early December. I’ll pick up our next implementation phase in the new year as we focus on promoting the demo and collecting feedback on the MVP. I am writing a project report for our Agentes de Cambio program (all in Spanish which has been fun). I met with our implementation team (my coworkers Génesis and Alexandra) a couple of weeks ago to get context about the program’s challenges and successes this year. I’ll be finishing the written portion of the report the week after Christmas and then pulling key data points into graphs to communicate the most relevant areas of growth and impact.

Our team had a Christmas lunch last week which was really enjoyable. It was fun to all be together and chat about restaurants in the city, the world cup (!!!), travel, etc. I have a list of new spots to check out starting with an arepa place near my apartment! I have recently gotten to a place where I can accept that I don’t speak Spanish perfectly and that it is perfectly okay. I can speak well and feel comfortable expressing my personality in Spanish and have let go of the internal pressure of “I have to say this right!!” when I am talking to people. After all, I don’t hold it against any of my friends who speak English as a second language when they make mistakes.

Something I’m Grateful For

I am so grateful that I learned to separate my sense of worth from my work. I can’t remember exactly when that was engrained in me (sometime during college I think) but I felt particularly grateful for this discipline as I prepared for my most recent presentations with our board of directors and team. It is such a relief to have a healthy detachment between the work that I do and my value as a person. It has helped me build more open relationships with my coworkers, be receptive and objective regarding feedback, engage in more honest and strategic conversations, and still accept and take good care of myself at the end of the day.

That’s all I have to share for the moment! I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks preparing final reports to wrap up my Lumos project with Belmont, hiking with friends, cooking on my cast iron, and spending time with my family.

Cuidense y felices fiestas!


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