I was born in Argentina during the last military regime and started high school with the arrival of democracy. The square in front of the Pink House (the presidential residence in Buenos Aires) was full of people cheering for the new government as I started the first day of high school and I felt the sense of responsibility of building a better world right there.
I have studied political science in Argentina and later Economics for my MA and PhD in the US. My friends from the university considered me a “traitor” because I learned econometrics and my economist colleagues believed I was a “softy” because I cared for politics and institutions. Armed with these tools I started working on development issues and had the luck to find amazing people at the Institute for Development and Cooperation at the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. Yes, one these amazing people is today my husband. We continued our life in Geneva were I had the opportunity to work for different UN agencies estimating child labor in the world and housing reconstruction needs in Kosovo. I became an expert in counting things that are hard to quantify. I was enjoying my work but something was missing. Since I was a kid I always loved teaching, I imposed all kind of classes to my little sister and during my graduate studies I was lucky to be a teaching assistant with a lot of independence. In Geneva I decided to teach part time at a local American University. I felt that if I really wanted to have a positive impact on others, my true place was an educational institution.
In Geneva I became the proud mother of twin girls and we decided as a family to move back to Madrid. I joined the Economic Environment department at IE, an inspiring group of amazing people and professionals with a common goal of innovative and diverse higher education. The diversity in IE programs is really a privilege when you teach economic Environment and Country Analysis and the students challenge and inspire me until today, more than a decade later. I can count many of them now as friends and I am eager to travel the world and meet them. IE brought to me another passion in my life: blended education. I strongly believe in the power of online education to equip students to break free from the limitations of brick and mortar classrooms and improve their skills to research, innovate, be flexible and creative.
Then again, for family reasons, I moved to Lima and continued involved with IE thanks to the flexibility of the blended programs.
In Peru I worked at Universidad del Pacifico were the quest for impact drove me to work on corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. I felt excited to work with entrepreneurs eager to solve social and environmental problems through profitable business solutions. I truly believe that business can and should drive transformative societal change to achieve a more equitable future. I still teach economic environment because I believe it is the key to understanding the challenges and options available to entrepreneurs at the country level, but my research is on social entrepreneurship and I work as a speaker and mentor on sustainable entrepreneurship issues. I particularly enjoy working with female entrepreneurs and understanding the particular challenges women face and overcome. Now I am back in Geneva where I continue to develop this line of work.
As Madeleine Allbright said “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” It took me while to find my way and space to have a positive impact and I appreciate IE for giving me a platform to do what I love.
Bio: Vanina is an Adjunct Profesor for IE Business School, Spain since 2005 were she teaching Economic Enviroment and Country Analysis. She is also a Professor and Chair of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Inclusion at Universidad del Pacifico, Peru. Vanina has also been the Dean of the Graduate School of Business from 2014-2016. She currently lives in Geneva Switzerland. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and M.A. in Economics from the University of Memphis, USA and a “Licenciatura” in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires. Vanina has worked as a researcher and consultant for different international organizations in Switzerland (UNCTAD, ILO, UNDP and UNOPS), Spain (IUDC UCM, Observatorio de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa de Madrid, Centro de Estudios Económicos Tomillo and the European Commision) as well as in Peru (UNDP, AECID and Ministry of Labor). She specializes in sustainable business models, CSR, and gender studies.