Nationality

United States

Education

Bachelor's Degree, Information and Communication Science, California State University, Chico, United States

Languages

English, Spanish, Portuguese

For many years I worked as Foreign Correspondent for TIME Magazine in Latin America. I started as stringer and office manager in Mexico and Central America in 1981 and became the Bureau Chief for the whole of Latin America. I covered most of the economic and political upheavals in the region, finance and trade issues, economic collapse and recovery, environmental as well as cultural trends.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) was a fantastic source of solid trustworthy information for me throughout my experience with Time Magazine: Whenever I was in Santiago, I would always go to ECLAC to check on the current trends. I recall carrying copies of the Commission’s flagship publications with me everywhere. They were always worn out because each time I brought a copy out, my colleagues would ask to borrow it.

After 15 years of covering the region, I felt I had done everything I could do as a correspondent. I also believed the Commission had solid historical background: It had been there to help chart the course of development in the region. As the economic and political dynamics in the region changed, I foresaw a change in its role, and wanted to be part of it.

As United Nations staff or journalists, one thing is common: We are witnesses to the issues on the ground. We have an opportunity to cover it or do something about it - I chose to contribute my expertise to help change the issues I covered.

It was not an easy transition from being a Foreign Correspondent to being an International Civil Servant. My background as a journalist was very helpful. I was not afraid to ask the questions and be persistent in learning about the Commission’s work. What helped my transition were the many warm and friendly people here who have genuinely supported me throughout the years. They are the reason I stay.

As Secretary of the Commission, I am currently one of the principal advisors to the Executive Secretary of ECLAC on political, diplomatic and legal matters. We promote regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration.

My calendar is usually filled with activities relating to the over 160 meetings ELCAC hosts annually on economic and social issues. I love the fact that everyday is different. On a given day, I could be running a conference, representing the Executive Secretary, be part of a Secretariat team receiving a Head of State, distinguished academics or heads of other United Nations offices. I also maintain close contact with the Commission’s 44 Member States, as well as with intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

Our work in the Documents and Publications Division, which I headed prior to my current position is exceptional within the United Nations system. The Division produces and publishes over 100 major publications yearly, incorporating new technologies and improving our quality of work.

My first job with the Commission as Chief of Information Services was also a fantastic opportunity to help the Commission communicate more effectively to our constituents. Having come from the other side, I knew what the media needed and got it ready even before they asked.

If the United Nations hired you because of certain expertise, bring that knowledge, energy and drive with you. Find a way to make it work in the system. We have an obligation to right the wrongs, to help those who cannot help themselves, and to encourage those who can by offering examples of best practices.

My inspiration comes from people who overcome adversity, do so much with so little and still have positive attitudes.

The one thing I wish I had done and still hope to do, is work in a peacekeeping mission. Our work in development is about building a foundation for peace. As staff members and prospective staff, we should keep that in the back of our minds.

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