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TRIUM alumni from 5 continents and 27 industries recently gathered in Cartagena, Colombia for Module 7—an annual alumni gathering that fulfills TRIUM’s promise of creating a lifelong network and opportunity for continued global education. This year, attendees spent four days gaining closer connections, conversing, and diving into local culture.
TRIUM recently spoke with this year’s organizing committee—David Gutierrez (’20), Andres Perez (’20), Max Nikolaev (’22) and Leopoldo Forero (’05)—about the event’s success, the formal and informal talks that stuck with them most, the importance of Colombia as the host country, how M7 adds to the program’s ROI, and what Andres calls the “natural appetite for cultural context that TRIUMers always strive to explore.”
Leopoldo said that “a true cultural experience is the most important essence of Module 7.” Andres, David, Leopoldo: you are all Colombian and Max has immersed himself and his family in the culture deeply. Aside from the obvious personal connection to the country, why was it important for you to host M7 in Colombia this year, and how did you deliver on that expectation and promise of a true cultural experience?
Andres: Given the TRIUM global mindset, bringing the Latin American context through Colombia allowed an in-depth experience in a region with immense potential. Cartagena is a city with charm, lots of history, magic, plus the warmth and hospitality of its inhabitants. This offered a fresh perspective on the country’s culture, economy, business and entertainment.
Max: Sharing this unique and amazing world of colors, flavors, and distinguished cultural nuances was important to the entire committee. We wanted everyone to experience Colombia as we all do.
David: From day one, I saw this as an opportunity to contribute to the good will of Colombia and move beyond the well-known stigmas about the country. This was also a unique opportunity to open the global discussion for everyone on what Latin America and Colombia bring to the table in a variety of areas. Colombia has a very rich culture and is so diverse from the coast to the mountains, and Cartagena presents a different and interesting view of its culture in terms of food, music, art and biodiversity.
Module 7 is an opportunity for alumni to reconnect in person to their TRIUM network and experience cultural immersion. What did you learn about the value of in-person fellowship and continued education while planning and executing this year’s M7?
David: I believe the idea of “continuous education” will always have the best outcome when you create a collaborative and open environment with camaraderie. M7 is the perfect opportunity to create such a scenario for TRIUM alumni.
Andres: The in-person factor energized everyone after the long hiatus created by the pandemic isolation. This facilitates trust and strong bonds which–paired with the academic content–triggers great opportunities for business development and a broadening of our fellow executives’ perspective.
Max: It was of extreme value to all attendees, as we created opportunities for direct communication, effective networking, and an immersive learning experience with phenomenal speakers and guests. And we brought a true Colombian flavor to all discussions.
There were structured and unstructured conversations on diverse topics on local, regional and global economics, leadership, hybrid working models, business, and culture. What conversations stood out to you?
Max: While all conversations were amazing, my personal favorite was the panel with Christian Bayfield, a Colombian influencer who shows amazing spots of the country worth discovering.
Leopoldo: I agree: Christian was able to capture the treasure that Colombia represents to the world. I’ll add that Energy Transition with Felipe Bayon and Ricardo Sierra was world class! In general, the quality and background of every speaker was outstanding.
David: Energy Transition, as Leopoldo said, and Leadership both tackled highly relevant topics: the first tackled a global predicament we are all in and the second the dilemmas for leadership in an uncertain future.
Andres: Two topics stood out to me: first, leadership is a timeless topic. Second, local political and economic dynamics was an interesting conversation piece, especially in the ever-changing environment that Latin American countries present nowadays.
You had the opportunity to catch up with your fellow alumni and hear about how their professional lives have grown after graduation. What did you hear from your peers that inspired and motivated you?
David: Having the opportunity to see a group of like-minded people with high professional accomplishments yet within the informal scenario presented in M7 was amazing; several provocative and interesting conversations happened through the week. Many looked for advice within the network, many had their ideas challenged and, in the end, all gave valuable input to the alumni community.
Leopoldo: With the world changing at this pace, every conversation was full of wisdom and a guide for future decision making. Talking to TRIUMers opens a world of opportunities: It’s a mixture of advice and meaningful conversations that could change your life.
Andres: Collaboration and synergy amongst peers remains active, even more than after graduating. I’m impressed by the strength and span of our TRIUM network, the collaborations, and the support, which continues to instill value and inspiration.
Max: We had a somewhat heated debate about leadership and whether the skillset of an inspirational leader is natured or nurtured. It was a fascinating discussion and gave a lot of food for thought.
How does Module 7 as a concept speak to TRIUM’s commitment to integrating each student into a lifelong network of alumni? And how does it contribute to an ongoing Return on Investment in the TRIUM program?
Leopoldo: For me, the lifelong network is the best value proposition of the program! It offers exponential return.
Max: I think it speaks highly of the program, and more importantly, of the alumni. The community can organize itself, dedicate time and resources to put a large event together and spend that time efficiently while having a good, enjoyable time! It contributes immensely to continued ROI, as it is pretty much the largest alumni event and opportunity to meet representatives of many cohorts.
David: TRIUM’s commitment to building a lifelong network is well represented in what the purpose of M7 is and what it truly delivers to the alumni community. The openness and transparency of the intentional and unintentional discussions–full of industry insights and business learnings from every global latitude– is definitely something that every alumnus craves and can experience at M7. The opportunity to have access to TRIUM’s network adds value at the individual level from the career perspective or to anyone’s business.
Andres: By design, M7 is the most inclusive, expansive and flexible concept to integrate our alumni base in the lifelong network. To expand on Leopoldo’s comment, Module 7 is a valuable link to the exponential experience and returns that the program generates. Fortunately, M7 is a very malleable platform that can be further adapted to the context, needs and aspirations of our constantly growing community.
If you could describe this experience in Cartagena in three words, what would they be?
Max: Passion. Tasteful. Joy
David: Discussion Amongst Friends
Leopoldo: Unique. Wisdom. Fun
Andres: Broaden. Perspective. Opportunity
TRIUM Class of 2022
Chief Sales Officer/Senior Vice President, CARBO
Based in: Houston, Texas (United States)
Role in M7 planning committee: Max was responsible for website creation, supporting communication and marketing efforts, setting up a merchant system, payment collections and disbursements.
TRIUM Class of 2020
Field Development Manager, Occidental Petroleum
Based in: Houston, Texas (United States)
Role in M7 planning committee: Initial Proponent and Co-Lead focused on logistics, general coordination, academics, funding and recruitment.
TRIUM Class of 2020
VISA Management Consulting (VCA) Lead for Latin America & the Caribbean in Credit Risk, Alternative Data, Financial Inclusion / Fintech
Based in Miami, Florida (United States)
Role in M7 planning committee: Co-Lead and Financial Officer supporting module viability, liquidity, events playset, supplier management and negotiation.
TRIUM Class of 2005