Profiling Social Impact Leaders – Lourdes Brizuela and Andrés Pina Garcia

On Laureate campuses around the world, there are many people who are daily creating impact on students, other faculty and staff members, and their communities. This month, we profile two such leaders, whose insights, strategies, and hopes for the future are helpful for all of us as we consider what it means to be Here for Good.

Lourdes Brizuela – Universidad Latina de Costa Rica (ULatina)

Lourdes is the Community Outreach and Social Responsibility Director at ULatina, and has served in this role since 2011. She has a long history in the business and non-profit worlds in Central America and is a medical doctor by training, but has worked with corporates and universities on their social responsibility strategies for many years. She is also the director ULatina’s local YouthActionNet program, and has supported many young social entrepreneurs in the country and throughout Central America since the program was founded in 2012.

GPA Team: What are the initiatives in the area of social impact work that you are most excited about at your institution?

Lourdes Brizuela: I am very excited about the model we have created as a global organization that seeks to impact students by reaching their hearts and minds, which means real transformation into great professionals prepared to face and change the world. Our academic model at ULatina has also grown to include requirements around social impact work for every student and department, including research and development for professors.

I also am excited for the possibilities that continue to come out of programs like Yo Creo, our YouthActionNet institute, and the Escuela Socio Deportiva Real Madrid, which both provide experience for our students in the areas of social entrepreneurship and professional volunteer work, while also working with external partners like the government, NGOs, and other public institutions.

Lastly, I know we will continue to integrate our B Corp Certification across our organization and that is extremely important because it touches all dimensions of our work. I believe we are part of a national movement in social responsibility that will lead to sustainable development in Costa Rica and the region.

GPA: What does being Here for Good mean to you?

LB: Being Here for Good is first about the opportunity I have to fulfill a higher purpose through my work. I believe that when we educate a young person in a holistic way, we not only form, but transform. The power of education to change lives is huge; it means we empower them for good.

GPA: In your opinion, how is Laureate a force for good in the world?

LB: The Laureate network is constituted of power teams with on common belief and dream: we want to empower our students to be constructors of their own lives and to be active and positive change makers in their communities. This leads to progress on all levels.

Andrés Pina Garcia – Universidad Europea (Spain)

Andrés Pina Garcia is the Corporate Communications and CSR Manager for Universidad Europea in Spain, a position he has had for the past year after spending five years working on events and communications for the institution. The institution is looking to further their accountability this year through publishing their first ever social impact report, as well as implementing a new diversity policy.

GPA:  What are the initiatives in the area of social impact work that you are most excited about at your institution?

APG: At UE, we are very excited about a number of awareness campaigns that we hope will help students better understand and become involved in social impact work. We will host an awareness campaign about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on May 17th, and will be including these objectives in our planning moving forward. This has been organized with more than 20 NGOs and companies who are leading the way in including the SDG agenda in their activities, and we hope this will be a great example for our community.

We are also connecting our university communities to volunteering and social entrepreneurship opportunities through our local YouthActionNet program, Jóvenes Emprenedores Sociales, and hope that in years to come, this continues to serve as point of distinction for our institution and its social impact agenda. This year, we will host to the global celebration and training for the Laureate Global Fellows program, and are honored to expose our UE community first hand to incredible examples of social entrepreneurship.

Lastly, we always culminate our activities in our Global Days of Service events, where we promote volunteerism with our university community.

GPA: What does being Here for Good mean to you?

APG: It means that each of us has the capacity to be a change agent that has a positive impact for many years to come. I have confidence in the power of education to change lives, and so our academic model supports the Here for Good mission every day in what we do.

GPA: In your opinion, how is Laureate a force for good in the world?

APG: Laureate is a reference point for companies with a social mission. Our operations are unique because we are in the business of forming the leaders and professionals of the future, people prepared to contribute to social progress through an entrepreneurial spirit and ethical approach.