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 →

10 Months In

Hola amigos, sharing some updates from Panama!  November is the heaviest month rain-wise so it’s been raining more and more as we get through October. Last week our street flooded and completely submerged the cars on the street. Thankfully it subsided quickly but was wild to observe from my apartment.

Highlights Recently
  • Graduation of CAPTA 63!
  • Tiff is back in Panama!!!
  • Finding a closer and prettier location of one of my favorite restaurants.
  • Listening to podcasts from Onsite Workshop
  • Longboarding along Cinta Costera
Work Projects
I am in the weeds coordinating the launch of our course demo for Academia Calicanto. This last week I made major revisions to the course content, finding and including some learning resources that add a lot of value to the course. I am also tailoring a CRM platform to organize our client data for the future sales process. Most recently I met with our Communications manager to hash out our strategic launch plan. Based on our meeting, I realized that I need to adjust our timeline to accommodate the development of some key launch materials to promote the project. While I am actively adding more tools and skills to my project management skillset, I consistently struggle with estimating the amount of time a project or task needs (not me with ADHD over here). I’m grateful to have a team to help ground me and set realistic time expectations. In my brain absolutely every task only takes about one week to accomplish haha.
Some little wins recently have been
  • Figuring out how to embed a Spotify episode, writing basic HTML without having to google “how to write basic HTML”.
  • Finding excellent learning resources from a Madrid-based positive psychological institute to enrich our courses.
  • Utilizing data from the impact tracking process I designed in key partner reports.
Something New
I am taking Spanish lessons 3x a week right now to actively improve my speaking in a professional context. As I am managing the Academia Calicanto project, a lot of my work in the upcoming year will be pitching and presenting the resource to partners and potential clients in Spanish. While I thrive in every aspect of pitching and presentation environments (thanks Belmont DECA), doing so in Spanish is HARD. I think knowing how well I could do this particular type of work in English makes it even more difficult to struggle in Spanish.

My teacher and I have decided to focus on Spanish literature as a way to help me master more complex verb structures. I feel very much like a sponge and am enjoying gaining a deeper understanding of culture and history through the writing of Latin American authors. Most of the topics include gender equality/women’s rights and current political events but we’ve also read poetry and short stories. Right now I am reading Arráncame la Vida and a collection of essays chronicling the feminist movement in Mexico. Both center on gender equality and women’s rights which are particularly relevant to my work and on a personal level.

Something I’ve Learned

I’ve been reflecting recently and have realized just how much I have grown in my professional capacity and habits.  My project management, assertive communication skills, and my personal management habits. I know what I need to be able to focus throughout the day, have the context to give myself breaks and grace when my brain is tired, an understanding of what type of energy a task will take and what type of energy I have to give at that particular moment. I graduated in 2021 towards the first end of the pandemic and really struggled my first year in the workforce to understand how to work from home and manage myself, especially in this world of program/project/organizational development where things can be so open-ended. It was a professional burden that also impacted me personally. I am grateful to have a deeper understanding of the ways I am wired, and productive ways to structure and manage myself to produce the most excellent work.

Something I’m Grateful for
I am grateful for balanced rhythms. I’ve gotten into the habit of hiking each Sunday morning which has been a really life-giving practice for me. Since returning from my visit back to Nashville, I have clarity on the activities I want to prioritize and friendships I want to invest in. I am grateful for the space to take things slow. To not need to figure out or build up my entire life in one week or year even, but for the grace to slowly choose, lean into the communities that are lifegiving, and continue to learn and be surprised by my options.
I hope you’re doing well!


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