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Interview with Beatriz Jauregui, Director of Finance and Administration in Nicaragua
Published 08/08/2014 by Global Communities
Interview with Beatriz Jauregui, Global Communities’ Director of Finance and Administration in Nicaragua
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started working with Global Communities?
I’m Bolivian and am a professional economist. I hold an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Business Finance both from the Bolivian Catholic University,“St.Paul,” and from a senior program with academic support from Harvard University known as “MPD” in Bolivia. Before joining Global Communities, I worked 15 years in the private sector, as manager of a group of investment companies in different Bolivian economy sectors such as media, mining and electricity, and I also had the experience as a trustee for BBVA Pension Fund Administrators. I’ve had some great experiences and a long career serving in various leadership positions.
I started working for Global Communities in 2005. I answered an advertisement for the position of Finance and Administrative Manager, and after successfully passing through many levels of interviews, got selected to work with the USAID-funded Local Economic Development Program (CONCADE) in the coca growing region of Bolivia. The program finished two and a half years later, and in August 2008 I was lucky to be part of the team who prepared the Bolivian Municipal Strengthening Activity program proposal, awarded to CHF Bolivia in September 2008. So, I got the opportunity to lead the startup of my second USAID-funded Program. Unfortunately the Bolivian government decided in 2010 to close all the USAID democracy programs. In October 2010, I became the Director of Adminstration and Finance for the Nicaragua USAID Local Governance Program and here I am after four years of great international experience telling my story and very thankful to all the opportunities given to me at Global Communities.
As the Director of Finance and Administration for the Nicaragua office what are your main responsibilities?
I’m accountable for the overall financial and administrative management operations. I direct and oversee all finance grants management, IT, human resources and administrative aspects. I have oversight of internal control systems and procedures, forecasting and realigning budgets, as well as comprehensive country-level budgets. I am responsible for recruiting, hiring and retaining a qualified and skilled workforce. I’m also responsible for training and mentoring staff on policies and procedures, donor regulations, new systems, and best practices, as well as working closely with the country office staff and headquarters Program Management Team to ensure compliance with all donor regulations and effective and proactive management. I’m also responsible for all audit process in the field.
It’s important to be ready to provide an immense amount of support to business development proposals and budgets and be able to deal with full-time financial and administrative management of in-country programs including a consortium of local sub partners. I have to mention that in critical moments we are required to support the restructuring process and reduction in program resources. It’s a wonderful challenge to be responsible for these things and at the same time a great experience in such an important country. We need Global Communities and our personal commitment to put our efforts toward being partners for good.
The Local Governance Program works to strengthen citizen participation and the capacity of civil society organizations to engage and influence key decision makers in order to improve local governance.
What are some of the differences and similarities between running programs in Bolivia versus Nicaragua?
Bolivia and Nicaragua were and are a great experience – each one has its particular differences. In Bolivia, we had a great opportunity to develop our activities during 2003 to 2007. Our work in the Chapare region was intense and has left great results and satisfaction in the community and in the cities where it was implemented. In 2008, the Municipality Strengthening Activity Program was launched and we helped to implement many infrastructure projects with significant investments. It established an excellent relationships between the donor, government organizations, community partners and citizen participation projects.
Nicaragua is a different environment. The Local Governance Program is focused on civil society capacity building. This means Global Communities is providing to local organizations and communities ways they can direct their own development, participate in their own performance, become advocates for their needs – and achieve them. Global Communities is using the Appreciate Review of Capacity (ARC) methodology to build the capacity of partners, helping organizations evaluate their own institutional strengths and areas for improvement. Although we have faced budget cuts, two restructures and one realignment, fortunately we are working with the donor hand-in-hand. The difference with Bolivia resides principally with government participation. In Nicaragua, we focus on working with community, organizations, partners and stakeholders. For FY 2015, we are planning to extend the life of program and diversify our funding. We will work hard on it and together with senior managment and our team; we will be genuine, purposeful and committed with our goals. We hope we can leave behind a legacy of local organizations with high technical capacity that will continue to champion citizen participation in Nicaragua for many years to come.
You were recently recognized with the Outstanding Field Manager Award from Global Communities. What do you think are the most essential skills or qualities for being a good manager?
Well, first of all I’m very thankful to have received this recognition. I appreciate that this innovative program fosters a positive work environment.
I think that most essential skills are: a) dedication and commitment to the organization and its mission and values, b) genuine interest in developing staff and communicating mission and values of the organization and c) ability to delegate tasks and provide effective feedback. I should also mention that energy and enthusiasm for the work is very important, as is providing an immense amount of support to our teams. Truly essential is the support and leadership of senior managment and the team’s contribution is obviously the key to getting excellent results on time and adhering to the values, principles, policies and procedures of the organization.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job? And the most rewarding aspect?
The most challenging aspect in my job is to find better ways to integrate effectively and efficiently the organization’s programmatic area with the administrative area, because we are facing resource constraints and complex processes. We have to look for effective environments and optimistic situations to adhere the team to the policies and procedures of the organization and its donors. It’s hard work but we are always looking forward to fostering Global Communities’ mission, values and organizational culture.
The rewarding aspect is having the opportunity to develop our skills as a team, having day-to-day learning experiences, and meeting diverse people from different cultures. And the most important aspect is to our efforts in the community and witness the people we help through every step we take – people who work together with us to be better, looking for their sustainable futures.