15 years of Esade Alumni Social
Interview with Daniel Cornudella (Lic&MBA ‘85 / DP-EP ‘03),
Director of Operations at RACC
What did you like best about participating in Esade Alumni Social projects? What had the biggest impact on you?
The first thing that struck me – and continues to strike me – is the positive energy generated by Esade Alumni Social, the general meetings, the team meetings, the meetings with the NGOs... They are all rewarding because everyone is so motivated to improve and help those in need. I discovered the size of the third sector alongside great professionals, but above all I learned to approach problems in a way that puts the people who need help ahead of any other consideration. The volunteer-based work method was also a very positive experience. I learned to coordinate people from different functions and backgrounds according to their availability at that particular time and, through everyone’s generosity, to find the best approach to the project at any given time.
Are you still in touch with any of these organisations, or with the third sector and the social world generally? Has your perception of it changed, or your form of social involvement?
I have occasional contact with the foundations I have collaborated with, although the main focus, of course, is on the foundation we are cooperating with at any given time. I also volunteer for foundations that work on clinical studies to research and find palliative and curative solutions to today’s diseases. Every day, I learn more about just how big the third sector is, how many people are involved in it, and what a wide range of objectives it pursues. What continues to surprise me is the lack of visibility it has in society, especially in the media. In my view, this is one of the key unresolved issues.
Why did you decide you wanted to be an Esade Alumni Social volunteer? Why did you repeat the experience?
Because I needed to help make the world a better and less unequal place, and because I wanted my contribution to be valuable and meaningful. The fact that it was managed by Esade Alumni gave me confidence in that regard.
What do you think the volunteers get out of this pro bono work? Any ideas to encourage others to get involved in the future?
The experience is very valuable for volunteers. First of all, from an emotional point of view, it generates a positive dynamic and a great feeling that you are fulfilling your social obligations. It is also a practical lesson in management: you learn from your colleagues, from the organisations, and from your own research and work. Finally, you get to know the third sector, which shows you a more positive and solidarity-minded world.
What do you think Esade Alumni Social contributes to the organisations with which it collaborates? Do you think it contributes effectively to professionalisation and sustainability during the consulting process itself?
I think the contribution to the organisations is twofold: first, they receive the formulation of a project that meets their needs, since they chose it themselves; but second, and more important, they learn by working with Esade Alumni volunteers. We help them to see their management from a different point of view. We reinforce what they do well and help them identify improvement actions wherever there are opportunities.
In your view, how does having a strong third sector influence our society? Do you believe in social innovation as a basis for change? Do you believe that everyone can be an agent of change?
Given the state’s current tendency to decrease its contribution to a fairer and more egalitarian society, the third sector must grow, expand its influence and increase its presence in citizens’ daily lives. Without the third sector, coexistence would be impossible due to inequality. Citizen participation is necessary in order to improve the social dimension. I believe that individual involvement comes, in large part, from an inclusive and collaborative attitude towards society.
How has this collaboration with the third sector changed your career path or professional experience?
In my management and decision-making approach, I have incorporated a greater orientation towards the people who need to cover their needs and a better team management practice. Combining and making the most of the contributions and work of these diverse, competent professionals with significant time and logistical constraints is a very valuable learning experience.
How do you think the Esade Alumni Social project fits into the Esade Alumni association? Does it foster pride of belonging? Does it fit in with the values promulgated by the school?
Esade Alumni Social is a very positive and necessary part of Esade Alumni; it brings us alumni closer to the third sector than we generally have been. At the same time, my opinion is that, just as the third sector is little known in society, Esade Alumni Social is little known and little publicised among alumni. I would like to congratulate and thank all the leaders of Esade Alumni Social – from the trustees and the board of Esade Alumni to the managers of the programme – for their commitment and enthusiasm for the projects. I want to encourage all Esade alumni to participate in the Esade Alumni Social. You are sure to find satisfaction in being able to help through knowledge and personal growth.