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Consulting for good with Catalina González Valdés

by Claudia Arena on 22 Aug 2019

By helping independent consultants and digital professionals come together on pro bono projects, we are empowering actors for social good. Meet Catalina, part of our first pro bono project.

In the past months, Riverflex has brought together top independent talent and professionals from industry-leading companies for a good cause. Working side by side on our first pro bono project, these professionals have had the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone, network and collaborate with each other, all the while delivering great work.

We believe in doing consulting differently. Not only creating real value and impact for clients, but also for organisations doing good in the world. By helping independent consultants and digital professionals come together on pro bono projects, we are empowering actors for social good. We believe these organisations deserve access to the latest methodologies and insights in digital to make an even bigger impact in the world. 

The organisation we selected for our first initiative is Movement On the Ground (MOTG), a foundation delivering an innovative response to the refugee crisis in Europe. For Catalina, one of the consultants who joined our project, the possibility to support MOTG’s cause with her expertise and work in such a diverse team has been valuable, and absolutely inspiring. We sat down with her to chat about her experience so far.

 

First things first, tell us a bit more about your background and how you joined our pro bono project.

I’m originally from Chile. I studied Commercial Engineering, before moving on to a CEMS master in management. During my time as a student, I joined Next Generation Consulting (NGC). NGC is a CEMS student-run initiative providing pro bono consulting to social organisations around the world. It was my first experience in pro bono project work, and I found it really rewarding. 

Before moving to Berlin for my current role as a Strategy & International Expansion Analyst, I also had the opportunity to do some volunteering work abroad. I liked the idea of doing good, but I was always wondering how I could reconcile that with my career. And this is where our project for Movement on the Ground comes in.

I saw Riverflex was looking for consultants for a pro-bono project, and I knew I had to apply. I liked the project immediately and, since I have moved away from consulting, I thought it would be a great way to keep flexing my consulting skills and get in touch with pro bono work outside my day to day job.

 

How does pro bono work fit in with your career?

It definitely means giving an extra push in your day to day activities, as you are adding more to your regular workload. But at the end of the day, it’s just a matter of 3 to 4 hours a week. I think it’s totally doable, and it’s worth it.

 

Tell us a bit more about the project, and your role in the team.

Our aim is to provide MOTG with a marketing strategy for the upcoming year. By doing this, we will directly support MOTG’s goals by safeguarding a regular influx of volunteers, building a community of ambassadors and growing donations.

More specifically, I helped them by looking at best practices for social media and conducting interviews to validate the brand positioning together with other consultants. We tried to focus on actionable advice, assessing the organisation’s key services and how they could achieve quick wins.

 

What do you like most about the project setup? How do you find working with people from so many different backgrounds?

Well, first of all, I really liked the project topic itself. I liked the fact that, with my work, I was making an impact for refugees in Lesvos – even from my desk in Berlin. I think that’s simply amazing!

Next to that, I liked the idea that this way, I’m still practising consulting.

Looking at the project setup, being surrounded by other consultants has been an invaluable experience – with a massive learning curve. I’m really happy with the way Riverflex set up the project, and I think that was conducive to great insights for MOTG, and also for us consultants working together. For example on our team, we have Amit who is so knowledgeable in marketing analytics. Working with him has opened my eyes to the possibilities that lay within that field. And it’s just so rewarding, seeing people from different career backgrounds and different parts of the world, coming together to do good.

 

As we get closer to the end of the project, what were some of the highlights for you? What are you most proud of having achieved?

I’m definitely super proud of the recommendations we are delivering. They are easily applicable, and there’s so much great work that can be quickly done to achieve so much. It’s a great feeling. It’s also been super rewarding, seeing how receptive and appreciative the organisation has been to our input.

 

Why should other consultants and digital professionals get involved in this kind of work? 

There are so many reasons why everyone should go for it.

First of all, you get to share your own knowledge and expertise, while getting valuable insights and knowledge from others. You learn a lot, and in new and challenging fields. This both on a professional and personal level. I learnt so much about the situation in Lesvos.

From a professional point of view, it’s also a great way to expand your network and work with other professionals from other parts of the world. 

And finally, pro bono project work simply is great. It’s a meaningful way to contribute to a cause you care about, without necessarily being on-site, dedicating your expertise and time to making an impact for a good cause.

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