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New leadership, overcoming challenges through adaptation and visualizing opportunities in the crisis, keys to overcoming the current situation and thinking about a Post-Covid world

4 August, 2020 - Autor: Recon Colombia

The crisis over COVID19 has affected societies and economies around the world. This situation leads us to think about ways of adaptation and permanent reforms in each of our societies, as we continue to seek sustainable development in human activities. This constant process of change creates new opportunities, poses new challenges and, above all, drives new leadership in the world.

For this reason, and with the aim of building a great global conversation, the Recon Webinar space “Leadership, Challenges and Opportunities at a global level post Covid19” was held, a worldwide commitment to analyze and share visions from different industries and fields of knowledge about challenges and opportunities of the private, public and social sectors in the post Covid19 world.

For this occasion, 23 leaders from 14 countries in the five continents, presidents, directors and heads of the organizations they represent joined us, with an articulating axis: scholars from the Eisenhower Fellowships Foundation. This organization identifies, empowers, and connects innovative leaders through a transformative fellowship experience and a lifetime responsibility to be agents of change committed to creating a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world for all.

Despite the crisis of COVID19 across the globe, Eisenhower Fellows are working to impact their territories and communities. This virtual meeting was a good opportunity to learn about experiences from around the world on how they are dealing with the current situation, highlight good practices and give a grounded view of the management that must continue to move forward in pursuit of a post-pandemic world.

Colombia, Ireland, Jordan, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, Paraguay, United States, Jamaica and India were part of this meeting.

Welcome address:

Special participation of Mariana Villamizar, President of Colombia Eisenhower Fellowhip, President of RECON and also, Head of Corporate Affairs and CSR Exito Group, started this great conversation,

The President of the Eisenhower Foundation, Mr. George de Lama, one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States, participated and pointed out that “Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to see how our Eisenhower Fellows are still working to find solutions to Covid-19 around the planet. We can see several examples of how they are generating solutions from different perspectives”

Finally, in Welcome address panel we have one of of the most important authorities in te fild of ommune health, Dr. William Haseltine, who designed the strategy to develop the first treatment for HIV/AIDS, and wrote one of the first books with answers tough questions about Covid-19.  “A family guide to Covid”. For this global health expert, talking about a post-pandemic world is not yet possible as we are in the middle of the current crisis. In addition, he gave his opinion on the treatment or vaccine for this virus, which is in several countries around the world in the clinical testing phase.

“Think about Covid-19 as a smart machine that sees every human being as an opportunity. Covid-19 discovers our immune codes. Vaccines boost the body’s immune response but it is not a  Shield. We are going to try  to have useful, safe, but not totally useful vaccines”

New leaderships, the call to take a stand on the different problems that became evident during the current crisis

Juan José Guemes, Honorary Member of Eisenhower Felloship and President of IE Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, from his experience facilitated the vision of what is the greatest challenge in terms of innovation and impact for companies and entrepreneurship brought about by the COVID 19 crisis and, of course, Colombia’s potential to consolidate and promote the creation of an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation that responds to the problems arising from the pandemic.

“Startups are going to play a strategic role in job creation. Removing obstacles and facilitating entrepreneurship will be fundamental to the recovery pattern of economies. Colombia is undoubtedly one of the most innovative countries in the world. There is a growing number of startups that are starting to make their mark outside the country”.

With Ilka Houben, Head of German Pension and Insurance Policy, we had the opportunity to discuss the German experience with the Covid-19. “We must not forget to educate children during the pandemic. We must consider all forms of remote learning. We have to invest in infrastructure, digitalization. Today more than ever we must solve things together”

Yan Speranza, President of the Paraguayan Executives Club, saw why the private sector should be a key player in solving the social and environmental problems arising from the pandemic and shared the good business practices implemented by his organization, which brings together presidents and executives from different industries in the South American country.

“Our states are in serious difficulty. This is the opportunity to implement new reforms that previously needed a new context: we already have that context. Political leadership is absent. We need other leaderships to promote the structural reforms that are required”

8 visions of global challenges for a Post-Covid world

Rhona Mahony, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist specializing in maternal and fetal medicine, researcher, teacher and recognized for leading and contributing to the health of women and newborns in Ireland, commented on the major challenges facing health care during the pandemic and Ireland’s perspective on health in general.

“The biggest challenge will be to continue to deliver the various health provisions to the community. El Covid will take time to leave. It is the richer countries that will have access to treatment for the virus first. The problem in the future will be mental health.”

For her part, Nadia Blel Scaff, a Colombian politician who stands out for leading initiatives focused on improving the quality of life of women, adolescents and children, showed the panorama of the Colombian Caribbean Coast in the face of the management of the Covid-19 and what strategies are being worked on to mitigate the impacts of the situation.

“On the Colombian Caribbean Coast 6 out of 10 jobs are informal. Our communities must choose between sustenance and care at home. This inequality makes it a focus for the possible spread of the virus. Many of the children cannot access classes because of the lack of technology.

Farez Braizat, Minister of Youth of the Kingdom of Jordan and member of the committee of the Government of His Majesty King Abdullah II, discussed the strategies implemented by his office to boost the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in Jordan in response to the Covid emergency.19

“A group of young people in Jordan, in just seven days adapted the face-to-face education system to digital, thus gaining recognition from His Majesty, King Abdullah II. We definitely need to focus on youth as a pillar for developing solutions”

Bosede Afolabi, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, researcher, teacher and the person who established the Maternal and Reproductive Health Research Collective that seeks to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria through advocacy, research and community outreach programmes, disclosed the situations they have been through in health care centres in Nigeria and what proposals would be ideal to improve comprehensive care in low and middle income countries

“In the face of motherhood and newborns we have problems when women seek care. There are delays and lack of information. This Covid-19 era forces us to do radio broadcasting, networking, WhatsApp, to deliver information through remote care. We have to create a number of strategies that will save lives.

Sumayya Hassan, international coach and lecturer, Founder of GFunze Limited, an e-learning platform offering technical and vocational programmes in Kenya, emphasised the impact of the pandemic in East Africa

“Most of the contagions in Kenya are asymptomatic, which translates into great challenges. Most people live from the informal economy which has meant trying to understand the containment measures for the different social sectors in the country”

Hakeen Adenui Adele, technology expert for the development of software that provides technology solutions for medium and large corporations spoke about emerging economies and the main challenges in terms of financial inclusion in the African country.

“1 in 5 people has a bank account in Nigeria. We try to manage electronic transactions to reduce the risk of contagion with physical money. What we are doing is trying to get financial agents to reach remote communities, strengthening networks to try to get through this crisis in the best way”.

Hiroaki Kuwajima, President of Linkers International Corporation, reflected on the role of civil society in Japan in solving the problems arising from Covid-19.

In the last week we have seen a second impact of the Covid-19 in Japan. What is important to contain this crisis: prevention education from an early age, a robust public health system and the cooperation of society with the Government “

Opportunities, a positive view of the crisis

Santiago Castro, leader of Asobancaria in Colombia and who has worked on financial and budgetary reforms in Colombia, spoke about the opportunities for the banking sector to promote post-Covid19 sustainable development financing and the progress of the digitalization of the banking sector in Colombia.

“Before the pandemic we focused on increasing levels of financial inclusion and use of digital channels. We never imagined that this would make a difference. Digital channels have been essential for banks and their customers. We accelerated the process of digitalization of services. We work hard on payments: We do billions of transactions every day through digital means.

Dina Sherif, in charge of encouraging and supporting the proliferation of social enterprises and the growth of the inclusive market in the Arab world, invited her colleague Valeria Budinich, with whom she shared the perception of the opportunities for the social entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in the emerging markets of the Post Covid world19

“I want to emphasize that in the wake of the pandemic we must think carefully not only about the role of entrepreneurs but also the role of the environment. This pandemic has revealed problems in many sectors, not only in health. It is important to know where to invest, for example”

Valeria Budinich, complemented: “The mental schemes on entrepreneurship and innovation must change. How can we propose value schemes to our social enterprises. At some point we must all choose whether or not we are part of this systemic change and the invitation is to accept”

Jack Bienko, who works so that small businesses in the U.S. have the tools to start, grow, and stay afloat, shared the work they have done and his perception of the contribution of SMEs to economic recovery.

We have been involved for the last 5 months in an unprecedented situation to help small businesses. We worked with the U.S. Department of the Treasury to protect payrolls. Small businesses are a huge proportion of the country’s workforce.

Saffrey Brown, one of the people who structured the COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund, told about the Response Fund and how it was conceived for the protection and well-being of Jamaicans.

“Jamaica had to move quickly from theory to practice. We had to develop a number of strategies with the different stakeholders. We had to identify the resources and deliver the assistance directly. The army guaranteed immense logistics.”

As a complement, Parris Lyew Ayee, responsible for using the big data to profile the vulnerabilities of all communities in Jamaica to provide humanitarian assistance through PSOJ’s COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund, reflected on the contribution of the Mona Geo-Information Institute in the response to Covid-19 in Jamaica.

“The collection of Big Data and transparency are the key points of this model to address #Covid-19 in Jamaica. Data management combined with social variables such as disability, poverty, population, were key. Data collection and analysis was a challenge for such a short time but it was a great opportunity for the Post-Covid-19 legacy”

Arvind Gupta, known for allowing nearly 70% of Indians who earn less than $2 a day to have Internet connectivity through community radio or basic mobile phones, highlighted the opportunities that emerging economies have to use technology and information as a key tool to solve social problems.

“The opportunities in technology and innovation for India: changing the different social and economic inequalities, teaching technological techniques and skills, strengthening economic sectors and improving infrastructure in education and health.

Hanan Abdel Meguid, leader of the empowerment of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt through the promotion of investment funds and services for the country’s new startups, discussed the promotion of the digital ecosystem and technological transformation for social purposes in emerging countries.

“The #COVID19 changed the priorities in the world and these changes made better use of the available human capital. Democracy and emerging economies will be the ones who can best take advantage of the opportunity to have greater access to technologies”

Camilo Fonseca, co-founder of Recon, an organization that leads the promotion of Social Entrepreneurship in Colombia, what are the main opportunities for the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Colombia in a post-pandemic world and how organizations like Recon contribute to strengthening projects with a social focus.

“   We have the opportunity to build back together to not leave anyone behind, we have the chance to be a hero and save the lives of future generations, work for the most undeserved communities, protect our planet and achieve economic equality”

RECON, an organization that works to strengthen Social Entrepreneurship in Colombia

By way of conclusion, Andrés Santamaría Garrido, Director and co-founder of Recon, expressed his willingness to continue working on the visibility, promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship in Colombia, and to continue promoting Webinars that allow for participation and interaction with different interest groups so that they can contribute to the construction of a better world, with peace, equity, guaranteed rights, and guided towards sustainable development.

“Today more than ever the world is changing and the purpose that governs us all, change managers, companies, scientists, politicians, thinkers, is to go from being ‘the the best in the world’ to ‘be the best for the world'”.