Juliana López is an Industrial Engineer. She has a Master Degree in International Business from Florida International University and studies in Senior Management and Leadership from the Universidad de los Andes of Colombia. In 2010, she assumed the General Management of the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center. From 2014 to 2016 she led the Board of Directors of the Cartagena de Indias Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Colombo-American Chamber of Commerce and some foundations in Cartagena.
Currently, she is the President of Grupo Heroica S.A.S., member of the Board of Directors of the Nautical Association of Colombia and the Board of AIPC from 2019 to 2021. In 2019, she was acknowledged by “Latinamerica Meetings” in the top 15 of the Most Influential Leaders of the Meeting Industry in Latin America.
1. Why are you investing your time & expertise in (an) association(s) and its advancement?
I am convinced that uniting professionals around a common goal is the best way to achieve progress in any field of knowledge, including in the business world. Associations allow us to form relationships with colleagues from other regions, countries, cultures, and socio-economic realities that are different from our own. This contact allows us to consider a variety of perspectives, enriching our analysis and vision for the future. It is incredible to see that, even in countries and cultures very different from our own, there are common situations within the industry that can be addressed together by searching for innovative solutions that benefit us all. I think that getting involved in associations is the best way for our sector or industry to evolve; thus, our partnerships, companies, and the sector as a whole are all strengthened.
2. In your experience, what are the 3 success factors for advancing associations?
A primary factor is to fully know and understand associates. This allows the association to identify its members’ needs and establish specific common objectives, in order to be innovative in its provision of services. When an association has a large number of members, it is essential to understand each member’s reality in order to achieve a perfect balance of objectives; as such, the association’s work can benefit all of its members, not only the most representative group.
In today’s world, where professionals from various generations often work together, it is essential that different generations participate on boards of directors and in their various committees, in order to enrich discussions with varied perspectives.
In addition to the traditional annual meetings, a 21st century association must utilize instant communication channels as well as actively promote spaces to deepen relationships between its associates in topics related to innovation and technology; furthermore, they must do so in an inclusive way, so that all members participate.
3. Has the AM world changed when it comes to diversity and inclusion?
Within associations, I think that there is increasing awareness of the value of diversity and inclusion as fundamental factors for the sector’s success, as well as the association’s sustainability over time. However, there is still much work to be done in this area.
4. What advice would you give the next generation of association leaders who want to make an impact?
To the young leaders of Latin American associations in particular, I would say that we still have a lot to learn from European associations. For example, they have attained greater participation among European countries, and we should emulate them by working collaboratively with our own region’s various countries. Thanks to continuous innovation in communications, our world is increasingly connected; thus, we have more opportunities to learn from the successful experiences of other associations around the world, as well as work more collaboratively with our own region’s countries, for the benefit of all.