The Power of Solidarity in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster

Millions of people in Mexico are facing huge challenges due to recent natural disasters. Two major earthquakes have hit the country. The most recent one’s epicenter hit central Mexico at a 7.1 on the Richter’s scale and has resulted in devastation. It happened on the 32nd anniversary of one of Mexico City’s worst disasters, the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people.

As I write, at least 225 deaths have been reported. My thoughts and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. Rescue efforts have taken place all day and into the night. Governmental institutions, the army, organizations and volunteers, most of them civilians, are working hard to build the city back out of the rubble.

Several buildings have collapsed in Mexico City and in the neighboring areas. Families are still trapped in the debris. Among the chaos, it’s remarkable to see how the character and integrity of Mexican people arises, once again. Kindness, selflessness and solidarity are all permanent traits of our people which shine in a wave of panic and sorrow.

Volunteers are working restlessly to rescue children and families, neighbors, and work colleagues, risking their own lives to pull them out of the rubble that covers the affected areas. All over Mexico, information is being shared, hospitals have opened their doors, paramedics are lending their help. People from all sectors of society are gathering food, medicine, funds and supporting each other. This is what makes a country great, the humanity of its people.

Mexico has a long history of showing solidarity in the face of natural disasters; a sense of generosity and cooperation floods Mexican hearts every time catastrophe strikes. Kindness remains ever present in the face of adversity, as it’s happening now.

The unpredictability and power of nature can act as a wakeup call that takes our attention away from our trivial anxieties. Our vulnerability reconnects us with our true essence, and helps us refocus on things that really matter. With it, we rediscover the importance of social connections and of being part of something bigger than ourselves.

A catastrophe is always tragic, but we can rescue this thought from it all: we need to find ways to consolidate and reinforce the social capital of our nation. We need to stick together and feel proud of our identity so we may strengthen the bonds that unite us not only as Mexicans, but as human beings. We are one. Together we are stronger. Mexico is resilience.

Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest

Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.

Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.

Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.

Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.

Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.

#madre, #empresaria y #defensora de los #derechos de la #mujer. Be more, to do more: for #life, #business, and #equality.

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