By: Elvia Bustavino. Vice-Minister of Maritime Affairs and Deputy Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority. President of Red MAMLa

When Zulma Dinelli from PR Ports and Carlos José González España from Empresa Multimodal invited us to work hand in hand as their main support organisation for the Women's Leadership Programme - LIFE, we felt very honoured and committed to the project, as it was aligned with our Maritime Strategy in favour of Latin American women in the maritime, port and logistics sector.

Being LIFE in Panama, we immediately came up with a series of ideas for the programme agenda, which were carried out from the Maritime Hub of the Americas and the Headquarters of our Association, giving it a robustness in all the strategic axes proposed.

What we envisioned at the time, together with Zulma and Carlos José, materialised in an extraordinary way... More than 30 Public and Private Regional and International Organisations joined this unprecedented project in our industry, where a learning and development space was offered for women on topics related to leadership, emotions, negotiation, teamwork, conflict management, decision making and self-confidence for effective presentations, among others, all with a human approach that directly affects the professional day to day and the design of an improvement plan with a positive impact for the organisation to which they belong.

Thanks to these purposeful alliances, 45 women from 17 countries in Latin America and Spain, who occupy middle and managerial positions in companies and institutions in the maritime, port and logistics industry, had the opportunity to make dedicated technical visits, participate in high-level networking sessions, receive training and learnings on each of the agenda items.

I would like to highlight the useful teachings of Carolina Fuentes, Life Coach, Margaret Rose Grigsby, Professor of Leadership and Marketing at INCAE Business School who visited us thanks to the support of the Inter-American Development Bank - IDB; Ana Rumbeu, Training Director of the Valenciaport Foundation; Oscar Medina Mora, Partner of Empresa Multimodal; Luis Fernando Salazar, Founder of Gurú Financiero; Mariana Ferrari, President of DOOIT and member of the Advisory Board of Forbes; Agustina Calatayud, Lead Transport Specialist in the Transport Division of the IDB; Cibeles de Freitas, Public Relations and CEO of PR5; and Ilya Espino de Marotta, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority.

The programme was enriched with Meet & Greet sessions with Yira Poyser, President of the Panama Maritime Chamber; Juan Carlos Croston, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs of Manzanillo International Terminal - MIT; Antonio Domínguez, President for Central America, Andean and the Caribbean of MAERSK and Roxana Ortega, Senior Project and Infrastructure Manager of Hutchison PPC who, through special meetings, shared with the #MujeresLIFE the vision of their organisations with a gender focus and the projects they are working on as part of their strategic plans.

As a complement, #ELLASInspiran, a space for conversation based on experiences, challenges, advice, lessons learned, which was coordinated by Carlos José González España, President of Empresa Multimodal, also producers of the event, and which reached more than 1000 people via streaming. Through this open dialogue, I had the honour of sharing as Deputy Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority and President of the MAMLa Network, with Ana Laura López Bautista, General Coordinator of Ports and Merchant Marine of Mexico; Carla Monrabal, President of the Port of Dock Sud and of the Argentinean Port Council and Mariana Noceti, Senior Assistant of the Maritime Women's Programme of the International Maritime Organization, our way to our today.

As Ana Laura López Bautista says "LIFE is a great experience. A reunion with our most human side, the one that reminds us how beautiful it is to give, but also to receive. It is a space for sharing, teaching and learning. It is an opportunity to say to ourselves with joy and firmness: here we are, the women of the Latin American maritime and port sector, recognising our capacities and consolidating our strengths, united, strong and moving forward. Thank you LIFE!

Definitely, the Women's Leadership Programme is a project that built and facilitated virtuous circles in favour of equity in our region and industry in the personal and professional sphere, therefore from Red MAMLa we would like to reiterate our gratitude for inviting us to work on the consolidation of the role of women in a very important sector for our Region and congratulate the first promotion of #MujeresLIFE!




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