Milica Pavlovic is spending the next three months with RADIUS in Quito, Ecuador and reporting back on her experiences.
On my first official day in Quito, I was invited to attend Impacto Quito’s Charlas Intimas con Lideres de Innovacion Social (Fireside Chats with Leaders of Social Innovation) – the local Shaping Davos event leading up to the live, online Shaping Davos forum on behalf of Global Shapers and the 2015 World Economic Forum.
The Fireside Chats featured 5 local business leaders speaking to an audience of 40 local social entrepreneurs about how they achieved success within an innovation resistant socio-cultural environment.
Among the speakers were: Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto from Pacari Chocolates, Leslie Jarrin from Thoughtworks, Martin Acosta from Kiwa potato chips, and Juan Sebastian Aguirre (Apitatan) – a talented street artist whose witty & distinct art has attracted international attention.
Each of the speakers exuded an unparalleled passion for their venture and candidly shared their wisdom with an engaged audience of budding social entrepreneurs.
During Santiago Peralta’s presentation, I immediately recognized the Pacari chocolate brand and later learned that the company had recently expanded their business to many international markets, including Vancouver, Canada. As a notorious chocolate lover, I felt honored to share the same space as Santiago & Carla, who later treated us to complementary samples of their world renowned, award-winning chocolates.
After the presentations, the audience and keynote speakers broke off into teams to mingle, network, and exchange ideas, challenges, and personal experiences of social innovation in Ecuador. At this point the altitude and full day of travel was beginning to its toll, so I sat back and enjoyed the warm environment and a complementary beer. As the night wound down, many people stuck around to socialize, listen, learn, and share their stories, creating a safe and welcoming space to enhance a growing network of current and future change makers in Quito.
Although it had proven to be a long and eventful first day, that night I left the Impacto Quito office feeling welcomed, excited, and part of a tight-knit community of like-minded people forging their paths to make a difference in the world. What better way to end my first day in a new place?