Where are they now: Claudia Echemendia
My journey with Global Ties Miami began in 2016 when I was a high school junior trying to learn more about diplomacy and foreign service. I was introduced to Global Ties by the U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence for South Florida, whom I had approached because I was interested in international relations but had no idea how to get my foot in the door. GTM was the perfect introduction to my professional career because I witnessed firsthand the power of cultural exchanges among IVLP participants and members of my local community.
When I started as an intern, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by Annette and my GTM coworkers that encouraged me to produce my best work while always giving me opportunities to grow and learn. Whether my tasks included conducting research for an environmental sustainability program or preparing for a Tuesday Talk on disinformation, my day-to-day as an intern was always different and exciting. I had the unique opportunity to attend some IVLP meetings I had a hand in putting together as an intern and those experiences sparked my passion for diplomacy and solidified my undergraduate focus on international studies.
Annette and the GTM team have always been incredibly supportive, encouraging me to incorporate my academics into my work. As my time progressed at GTM, I took on new roles as a program associate and communications consultant, where I combined my previous experience as an intern with my new professional skills in communication and web development. I was always encouraged to apply the professional skills I was acquiring at university towards my work on projects and new tasks. After more than five years since I first started at GTM, I still look back and appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to produce meaningful work from such an early point in my career to now.
I am incredibly grateful for my time with Annette and my GTM coworkers; I found a sense of community that has introduced me to some incredible changemakers from South Florida and abroad while instilling in me the need for diplomacy and cultural exchange.