Every industry has its larger-than-life characters and #MRX is no different. In the US we have had our Gallups, our Ropers and our Harrises; in the UK, they have had their Goodyears, Worcesters and Downings. But, in Mexico, one man stands head and shoulders above his peers.
His name was Manuel Barberena, known to all as “Manolo”. Research was his passion and he was determined that Mexican MR should be among the best in the world. Not only did he build a great research company (Pearson – still a force on the Mexican market today), he also was instrumental in founding the Mexican MR professional association, AMAI. In his search for ever-increasing links with the outside world, he was a member of Council at ESOMAR and served on CASRO’s board of directors in the US.
But Manolo’s biggest passion of all – his legacy – was his determination to build the next leadership generation for MR not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America. He was tireless in his promotion of young leaders and in his desire to see them exposed to the best that the world had to offer.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because Manolo’s life was cut brutally short at the age of 48. He did not live to see the fruits of his labor. BUT: those that knew, loved and remembered him, and those that understood just how important he was in the world of Latin American MR, were determined that his work should live on.
And so, six years ago, The Manolo Award was born. The idea behind the award was to fund scholarships for two aspiring young leaders a year – from anywhere across the Americas, including the US and Canada – to visit and work in another country on the continent and to take their learnings back with them to their home countries and companies.
Since its inception, twelve scholarships have been awarded, with the winners visiting countries as diverse as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and the USA. For all of them, the experience was transformative.
“I loved the experience I lived in New York. It definitely made me grow as a person and a professional. The Manolo Award meets the purpose of promoting us to be thought leaders and what better way to do it than living an international experience?”
“It is a milestone in your life. You become more ambitious, more self-assured and a better professional.”
“I left Mexico with the certainty of having been part of an extremely enriching experience that left its marks both professionally and personally.”
But now, the original foundation money is running out and we desperately need to refill the coffers if we are to continue this outstanding contribution to building the next generation of leaders in MR across the Americas.
So, this is a naked appeal to all my readers to pony up – however much or little – to keep this great venture going and to allow dozens more young people to live the dream of visiting and working in another country; and to keep alive the flame of Manolo’s legacy.
If you do decide to give, you can find out how to do so by emailing Alex Garnica, Director of the Americas Research Industry Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org.