Moran Center for Global Leadership Leads Historic Program to Colombia


The Moran Center for Global Leadership organized and led the third biennial professional development program for Villanova faculty, staff, alumni and guests to Bogotá and Cartagena, Colombia during winter break. This historic program enabled participants to gain firsthand knowledge of the Colombian business environment, and to learn more about the culture, geography and politics of this dynamic region.

Students in Columbia

Over a five-day period, the group participated in 11 business and government meetings with high-level executives, entrepreneurs and government representatives. Meetings with representatives of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce and ProColombia in Cartagena provided participants with a broad overview of the main social, political and economic challenges and opportunities facing Colombia as the nation navigates the peace process and prepares for the upcoming election.

The group had the opportunity to learn more about banking and economic development in Colombia during a discussion with CAF economist Carolina Camacho. A country economist, Camacho analyzes the economic trends and macro policies critical to the development of a long-term strategy for Colombia. A meeting with three representatives of PADF Colombia focused on the economic and social development of Colombia. Working in partnership with the Colombian government, PADF programs have supported national efforts to promote peace and social justice and to address the impact of 50 years of civil conflict.

Columbia - Church Dome

Participants were introduced to the beverage industry in Colombia through meetings with CRECE and Central Cervecera de Colombia (CCC). CRECE is an organization concerned with developing the agricultural sector, more specifically the coffee economy. Rafael Parra-Peña, the executive director of the CRECE, spoke to the group about the central role that coffee plays in the Colombian economy and the importance of sustainability in the agricultural sector. Sandra Stiassni, portfolio marketing manager for CCC, discussed the recent joint venture between Postobón, Colombia’s leader in non-alcoholic beverages, and Compañía Cervecerías Unidas (CCU), a leader in the beer industry in Chile. This joint venture hopes to leverage CCU experience in production with Postobón’s extensive distribution network in Colombia.

Students on Tour Columbia

Two of the business meetings included tours of manufacturing plants. The group visited General Motors and had the opportunity to meet with Juan Rosero, Andean Customer Care and Service Operations manager, and tour the GM assembly line. A meeting with Natalie Bursztyn, marketing director of Totto, provided the group with insight into the development and growth of a family-owned fashion brand. The group toured the manufacturing site and observed the production of backpacks and clothing.

Port of Cartagena - Columbia

Meetings with the Port of Cartagena and LATAM Airlines introduced the participants to transport services in Colombia. Advisory Council member Anthony Chiarello ’77 CLAS, president and CEO of TOTE, helped arrange a meeting with the Port of Cartagena, the largest port in Colombia. Sales and marketing coordinator Jorge Cassalins led a discussion and tour of the port, which serves 25 shipping lines and is connected to 614 ports in 140 countries around the world. LATAM Airlines Colombia CEO Santiago Alvarez Matamoros led a lively discussion on the growth, strategies and challenges of Colombia’s second largest airline carrier.

The Moran Center for Global Leadership trip to Colombia also provided its participants with opportunities to explore the capital city of Bogotá, including a walking tour of the historic La Candelaria district and visits to the Salt Cathedral and Chico Museum. The group enjoyed the beauty and charm of Cartagena’s walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Colombia’s crown jewel, complete with a day trip to the Isle of Rosario.

For More Information

The Moran Center for Global Leadership
Villanova School of Business
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-4395

Jonathan Doh, PhD
Faculty Director

Kimberly A. Cahill

Michelle Casario, PhD
Associate Faculty Director

Sharon Ballard
Program Coordinator