“Cachai?” he asked me with his eyebrows raised and a twinkle in his eye. I nodded my head in agreement. “Cacho,” I responded affirmatively, somewhat proud of my newfound ability to grasp one of the most integral words in the Chilean dictionary.
There is something about Chile. Maybe it is the people, the beautiful mixture of native and European ancestry who you find surrounding you; the many expats you find who come here to explore the treasures hidden within the borders; the warm, genuine nature of a morning greeting; or the necessity of a morning coffee. Maybe it is the bread: soft, delightful and integral to any good day. Maybe it is the breathtaking scenery: the surrounding mountains that seem to dwarf us and make us seem almost insignificant; the expansive ocean that Neruda once loved so deeply and described with such poetic beauty; the far reaches of the dry north; or the harsh, cold climate of the icy south that holds within it treasures that only mother nature can divulge. Maybe it is the history, one of stark contradictions and struggle, that is often misinterpreted and yet inseparable from the DNA and mindset of every Chilean, regardless of age or affiliation. Maybe it is the deep-rooted appreciation for tradition, for education, for perseverance and excellence. Or maybe it is the food, the sweet richness of a Pastel de Choclo, the ingenuity of hearty humitas, the creamy indulgence of just about anything filled with manjar, or the anticipation as you bite into a fresh-made, warm empanada. Maybe it is a bit of everything.
Over the past four weeks I have had the opportunity, through Endeavor, to work with the top seismic engineering company in Chile as a strategic consultant to develop internal and external strategies. The role has been challenging to say the least, but more rewarding than I ever expected. The people that form this visionary engineering company are incredibly hard-working, bright, and forward-thinking when it comes to developing their business to compete both within Chile and on a global scale. There is a great sense of pride in the engineering and creative excellence that forms the basis of Sirve, and the company’s acceptance of me, of my ideas, and willingness to adapt their processes and push themselves to the next level of growth has impressed and inspired me. I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by this great team and even luckier to feel like a part of it.
Today, we are in the process of developing and streamlining internal processes through the selection of a new ERP and are working to tighten organizational definitions and operating procedures, as well as analyze and assess external strategies and growth. There is no shortage of work or excitement in any given day and when 6 or 7pm hits, there is no mad rush out of the door. I come home exhausted most nights, but with a sense of achievement and excitement for what tomorrow will bring. Each weekend is filled with a different adventure that renews and refreshes my soul as I meet new people, explore new reaches of the world, and perfect my Spanish, Chilean-style. I wouldn’t wish for it any other way.