Juan Pablo Garrido
Director of Corporate Development
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
At UIC Barcelona, Juan Pablo Garrido works to infuse a culture of philanthropy across the university. But COVID-19 has changed the way many advancement leaders operate. As Spain grapples with the pandemic’s short- and long-term impacts, Garrido sees opportunity.
What are the biggest challenges for leading a team amid uncertain times?
As a team, we have to be very united and stick together. For leaders, it is crucial to communicate, and be close to our colleagues—working remotely, you cannot over communicate.
What makes relationship-building different now versus in the past? The present situation brings home the mission and the values of the university in our world. Through research, teaching, and knowledge transfer, universities are making our world better. This is an opportunity to share and to make relationships stronger—because what bonds and unites people are shared values. Now is an opportunity to grow our relationships with our donors and with the ecosystem that surrounds the university.
When the pandemic hit Spain, we put all our focus on the emergency situation. We donated material and equipment from our clinics and transformed our health campus into a 200-bed intensive care unit. Most importantly, numerous professionals and professors, staff, [and] students got involved. That’s walking the talk.
Or, for instance, there’s a student entrepreneur with a rose business. Here in Barcelona, on April 23, we celebrate St. George, and there’s a tradition of giving out roses. He decided to bring roses to people in hospitals who are in need, and gave a thousand roses for people in our general hospital and the doctors and nurses.
These actions are worth communicating to all the people who support us to bring them more into the mission of our university.