My career in international development began almost by accident when I heard my undergrad sociology professor talk about the Peace Corps. I had just returned from my first visit to Latin America and was strongly impacted by the poverty and difficult living conditions. I was hell bent on joining the Peace Corps and returning to the region, which I ended up doing in 1989 when I moved to rural Guatemala to serve as a health nutrition extensionist.
In 2000, after five years of supporting international development programs in the region and at the peak of the first dot com wave, I made a career transition into the world of web development. I thought I wanted to become a hardcore programmer, so I dug in and studied everything from HTML to the fundamentals of object-oriented programming. I ended up working with two different Fortune 500 companies where I put these skills to use, but I soon realized that I was a bit too extroverted to sit in a cubicle and program eight hours a day.
I decided to pursue opportunities that allowed me to take advantage of my project management skills and ended up at Sprint Nextel, working on their Hispanic web presence, where I was able to combine my Spanish language skills, project management experience and my web skills and learn a great deal about culturally-relevant communications and how Latinos in the U.S. and Latin Americans are using digital technologies.
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