19 January 2020

“Multiplying network effects”, the objective of the candidacy for the new Board of Directors


On 31 January, the new board that will be at the head of the Association for the next 4 years will be chosen. 

José Miguel Pulido (United States, 1996) is a candidate for President and explained the main pillars that his program for this new period will be based on.

Q. Why have you decided to run for President of the Fellows´ Association?

A. In order to implement the vision that I have for the association. The previous board already took the first steps in this regard, and now I hope to be able to implement it and consolidate it from a position of leadership.

It is a vision that I broadly share with Pau and Ignacio, and it was with them that we decided to launch this candidacy where we are lucky to be accompanied by an exceptional group.

Q. What does the Fellows´ Association mean to you? 

A. It is a group of almost five thousand people who are restless, curious and have a desire to do things, and who normally contribute in a very important way in their professional field.

My vision for the association, which I firmly believe in, is that increasing the network effects between the fellows can make an enormous contribution to improving our society, indirectly by making the professional contributions even better, and directly through the exercise of responsible leadership.

Q. In your programme you focus on three areas of action: knowledge, networking and internationalisation. What specific actions do you propose that are innovative for the community of fellows?

A. In terms of knowledge, we want to carry out activities to encourage the transmission and exchange of knowledge within the network of fellows and with society. In terms of networking, we want to carry out activities to encourage meetings and relations between fellows and top level professionals

We want to boost the carrying out of these activities in all the cities in the world where there is a critical mass of fellows, so that when a fellow arrives in a city where the association is present, they know that they have an entire network and associated activities at their disposal, immediately.

Q. Let’s take a deeper look at your programme across each of the areas. In the case of knowledge sharing activities you have included the “Fellows Think Tech” initiative, what exactly does it consist of and what will it contribute? 

A. Think Tech is an example of responsible leadership. We live in a time where new technologies, for example artificial intelligence and its application to the automation of work, are going to have an impact similar to that of the steam engine and the subsequent mechanization of work. 

The way in which the development and implementation of those technologies and their applications takes place will be key to ensuring that the impact on society is positive in the long term and that the transition is as progressive as possible.

Within the fellows´ association we have members who are contributing from the forefront and decisively to this process, and we believe that this gives them a privileged position to responsibly lead and influence the impending changes. We believe that Think Tech can be a vehicle for amplifying the responsible leadership that the fellows can offer.

Think Tech is a new project and thus still to be defined, that we have placed a lot of hope in.

Q. With regard to the organisation of networking days you plan to consolidate afterwork sessions and networking lunches, will a specific regularity be defined? Your programme also includes building mentoring relationships between fellows, how do you intend to structure that?

A. Although we still also have to define it, we believe that a quarterly basis fits well for both the Afterwork activity and Networking Lunches. Having said that, each with its particularities. For example, as Elena Marbán reminded us, for the youngest fellows it makes more sense for the Afterwork to be on a Friday, and in the case of Networking Lunches, they will often be opportunistic according to the availability of top level professionals.

With regard to Mentoring, the fellowship programme does fantastic work on it during the start of the fellowship, for example with the induction week in Indiana or in London for the fellows of the postgraduate programmes abroad, or the training sessions on transversal skills included in the doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in Spain and Portugal. On the other hand, there are other periods in the life of a fellow that are not covered, such as when you want to analyse options at a time of professional change, or when considering becoming an entrepreneur. During these phases, it could be very useful to benefit from the experience of other fellows who have gone through it before.

We still need to coordinate how to do it, for example how to facilitate contact between the mentors and the mentees. Toni Brasó has fantastic ideas in this regard based on mentoring programmes at Google, where he currently works.

Q. The third area of action is encouraging the carrying out of activities in the different global cities where there is a critical mass of fellows and enhancing the visibility of the community and the fellowship programme internationally. Where will you begin and what type of activities have you planned?

A. During the previous board, work started in Boston and London, and the idea is to consolidate these cities, with the leadership of Eva Flavia Martínez and Alfonso Sánchez Moya in Boston, and Ernesto Oyarbide in London. We also want to begin in San Francisco, led by Toni Brasó. In all of them, the idea is to begin small in order to build critical mass and then grow. Probably, the first thing will be two or three Afterwork sessions not long after one another and a WhatsApp group for coordination, that will gradually grow organically, and then consolidate with Networking Launches with top level global professionals who are often only accessible on those cities.

Q. The team you are part of is very varied in terms of disciplines, at an internal level have you planned to organise your activity for the Association in any specific way? For example, thematic areas, etc. 

A. Yes, undoubtedly, we are lucky to have an exceptional and very diverse group, and that will help to cover a broad spectrum of issues, for example, both in terms of organising the talks at Fellows Knowledge Day and the ad hoc activities and fun and cultural visits that we organise.

Q. Could you define the proposal of your candidacy in three words?

A. Multiplying Network Effects

Q. And lastly, what can the network of fellows expect in this new period? 

A. On one hand, being able to establish contact with other fellows and top level professionals in a very quick and easy way, through knowledge and networking activities, in Barcelona, Madrid, Boston, London and San Francisco, and according to the interests and needs that fellows may have at any time.

On the other, that we may contact them in order to collaborate on projects such as Fellows Think Tech, as speakers at Fellows Knowledge Day or as hosts at the Horizons Conferences. It must be said that we have always received a great response from the community of fellows, as they see these collaborations as a small return of gratitude for the opportunities that the ”la Caixa” fellowship has allowed us to enjoy.