An offsite in Cartagena

Hi again! Now that I’ve introduced myself, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the Spanish Latin America retreat. As I mentioned in my first post, one of my favorite aspects of McKinsey is the community, and our bi-annual retreat gives us all the chance to see colleagues from past projects, welcome new hires, connect with partners…all in an exciting destination! This year we went to Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia.

Enjoying the welcome party

On the first day, colleagues and their families arrived from their home countries and enjoyed the city and some nice cocktails. Later that evening, we gathered for a presentation by our senior partners covering our progress over the past two years and our goals for the future. It was awesome to see that diversity and sustainability continue to be major strategic goals for the firm. I was also struck by how much we grew from our last retreat and how many inspiring women we have in a wide variety of roles. Following the presentation, we enjoyed a welcome party for all of the attendees.

Picturesque Cartagena

The second day started with an inspiring session about the social sector challenges that Colombia is facing. From the issues posed by the FARC, both before and after the peace agreements, to the vicious cycles of poverty caused by high rates of teenage pregnancy, we had the opportunity to hear the best solutions out there, led by our clients, alumni and current Latin American colleagues.

The beautiful beach in Cartagena

All work but no play makes consultants very dull! Each day, after the professional agenda, we had the chance to explore Cartagena by bike, kitesurf, enjoy the sunset in a catamaran trip and spend a day at the dreamy beaches of the Rosario Islands. All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and one of the highlights of my time at McKinsey.

An aerial view of Cartagena

On the topic of social sector work, I wanted to share a little more information with you. McKinsey plays an important role in the social sector of many Latin American countries, and knowing that you can truly impact people’s lives through our social sector work makes the firm an even more inspiring place to work. Just to give you an idea, these are a few of the exciting projects that we undertook in 2017:

-We helped a Central America country design a development strategy to fight persistent unemployment rates. With an implementation plan based on the competitive advantages of the country, we managed to identify and put in the pipeline 600,000 job opportunities;

-We helped a group of Central American countries develop a business case for international investment, with the goals of improving the lives of their citizens and reducing immigration to the US;

-We helped a South American government fight the deforestation threat that has dramatically increased in areas that used to be under violent threat, and thus inaccessible, are now being used for illegal activities and have already damaged 49,000 Km2 of the Amazon.

I will share another update soon!