Member Profile: Diana Colmenares
As an alumna of Colegio Nueva Granada—an international school in Bogota, Colombia—Diana Colmenares jumped at the chance to work on behalf of her alma mater as the institution’s director of development and community affairs. With experience in marketing/advertising and a passion for CNG, Colmenares felt she had two important assets to bring to the school.
“I am deeply motivated by our mission,” she says, “and to be able to give back to the institution that has given so much to me and my family is a gift that I am grateful for every day.”
As a CASE volunteer, Colmenares has brought the same passion to the international schools programs at Congreso CASE America Latina 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congreso has been postponed until October 26–28 in Cartagena, Colombia. Here she speaks to the region’s advancement challenges, her favorite spot on CNG’s campus, and how international schools are supporting their communities during this health emergency.
How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted Colegio Nueva Granada?
We believe, at CNG, it is our responsibility and moral obligation not only to protect members of our community but also to serve as leaders in Bogota and our region in mitigating risks to others by taking decisive actions to manage infectious diseases. Based on this belief statement, all of the contents in the CNG – Bogota Distance Learning Hub are open source, and anyone can use the contents for the advancement of the public good and welfare of the greater community and society.
What is the role of advancement professionals at international schools during this time?
It is a very difficult time for all, but I believe our objective is to continue to build community, and support each other. For that reason, we have decided to use our social media accounts to support our community (parent families and alumni) with their businesses, especially those that can sell products or services online. In these times of so much uncertainty, we need to stay united and help each other as much as we can. #CNGPeople #CNGPartnerProgram #ILoveCNG
Outside of the current crisis, what are the biggest challenges facing advancement professionals at international schools?
I believe the biggest challenge we face in advancement is our culture. The truth is, we do not have a culture of philanthropy in Latin America. Our biggest challenge, then, is to educate our community about the importance of giving back. Colegio Nueva Granada’s 82-year story has always been one of progressive thinking, continual innovation, and big dreams. If we want to continue to be in the forefront of innovative education in Colombia, Latin America, and the world, we must continue to build on the legacy of our founders. We must educate, engage, and invite our community to invest in our school.
What’s your favorite spot on your campus?
The Flag Patio! It is right in the center of campus. It brings great memories of my time as a student here, and today, I watch our future leaders enjoy that same spot. The Flag Patio has a special meaning to me—it’s the spot where past and future meet!
What’s one work achievement that you’re particularly proud of?
The Alumni Relations Program we have created. Our objective is to build, strengthen, and sustain relationships by providing a variety of educational, professional, cultural, and social activities. It’s not a perfect program, but it is a very good one! The opportunities are immense, and we work hard every day to meet our goals. I love to see how much our alumni enjoy giving back and coming back to CNG. Our alumni love the institution, and I am proud of the opportunities I’ve helped create.
What’s the best part of your job?
Building relationships! I love to talk to people!
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?
Work in a job you’re passionate about! The job doesn't make you—you make the job.
What’s something interesting or meaningful that you keep on your desk?
A gratitude jar I was given as a gift a couple of years ago. It helps me be present and thankful for the small and big moments that create every day.
What’s a professional lesson you’d pass along to someone just starting out in advancement?
Your work reflects who you are! Always be responsible, diligent, caring, respectful. And always do what you love. If you are passionate about your job, you will be successful!