Victoria Gaytan

Victoria Gaytan, Global Americans Program Manager

“Global Americans conducts research and analysis on Latin American affairs — democracy, human rights, social inclusion, and most importantly, foreign policy and its relationship between the U.S. and the western hemisphere. We’re looking at “The Wall,” NAFTA renegotiations, the rising conflict in Nicaragua, the escalating crisis in Venezuela…”

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Meet Victoria. Victoria is a member of the Global Americans team, a Civic Hall-based think tank dedicated to Latin American affairs. A self-described “Hispennial,” (a portmanteau for “Hispanic Millennial”) she is also a columnist for the recently launched Fortune Espanol – where she writes about the intersection of technology and Latin America. A dancer since the age of 9, Victoria still signs up for two-week-long classes when professional Flamenco dance academies pass through New York City.

Victoria volunteers for the Safe Passage Project offering help in both translation and working with the children. Volunteer if you know Spanish, and donate — the need is urgent. You can reach follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

What Does She Do?

While her title is Program Manager, Victoria wears several hats at Global Americans, including writing, overseeing operations and financials. Victoria recently began covering technology for the newly launched Spanish edition of Fortune magazine. Most recently, she broke down Amazon’s plans for Latin America.

“Global Americans conducts research and analysis on Latin American affairs — democracy, human rights, social inclusion, and most importantly, foreign policy and its relationship between the U.S. and the western hemisphere. We’re looking at “The Wall,” NAFTA renegotiations, the rising conflict in Nicaragua, the escalating crisis in Venezuela…”

“We also publish Op-ed style articles every day on our website and make that available via our newsletter. We hope to be a platform for up-and-coming Latin American journalists (including students). In some regions, including Venezuela and Nicaragua, (Mexico, in some cases) it’s becoming more difficult to be a journalist — as newspapers are self-censoring themselves out of fear.”

How Did She Get Into This Work?

Victoria was born in San Francisco to Mexican parents. She was six years of age when they divorced and moved with her mother and sister to Mexico where she was raised in basically an all-women household. With her dual citizenship, she experienced an upbringing that was bi-national: “I always knew that my future would be… That the rest of my life would be in the U.S. But I have a lifestyle that allows me to go back and forth.”

While Mexico was a conservative country, inside her home were #badmujeres. “Growing up, we were never taught that we had to marry or have kids. But, we did have to get an education. My grandfather was a laborer. You always have to do better than the generation before you.”

Victoria’s mother was an architect and professor of computer design at Ibero-American University and a point of inspiration:

“When I read about AI/automation – the best example I can talk about is my mother. She used to teach geometry with chalk on a greenboard and now she’s the professor of computer-aided design. Twenty-five years ago, in the afternoons, I would sit in her class and watch her teach.
She was always a step ahead; learning the new technology and teaching it.”

After studying international finance and international affairs as an undergraduate, Victoria was admitted to Columbia’s SIPA graduate program: “Prof. Chris Sabatini’s class, “The Foreign Policy Challenges of the Americas,” showed me that there was space for me to go into Latin American affairs for the U.S. audience.”

Each year Sabatini asked his class to write a 750+ word Op-ed and he’d publish the best on his website. Victoria’s op-ed on NAFTA was one of the winners and… a year later when she graduated, Sabatini invited her to join the team of Global Americans.

How Did She Come to Civic Hall?

Friend of Civic Hall Marina Spindler connected Christopher Sabatini with Jerry Weinstein on May 2017. Chris and his team of four joined the community the following month, eager to accelerate their growth as a think tank and to collaborate with our members.

What Projects Is She Working On?

Two reports a year for Global Americans on monitoring foreign policy in the Americas, tracking whether human rights commitments are met. Here’s their latest report.
Managing a working group that is developing recommendations directly to the U.S. Congress in terms of trade, narcotics, corruption, educational exchange, as well as the growing influence of Russia and China in the hemisphere.
Next, the group will focus on: (i) the effects of climate change and extreme weather in the Caribbean; (ii.) the reconstruction of Venezuela; (iii) Latin America’s role in the world as a whole.
As a prelude to a podcast, Global Americans has recently launched an interview series, beginning with Carlos Fernando Chamorro on the crisis in Nicaragua.

What is She Reading?

Andrew Selee’s Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together. He writes beautifully and intersperses the serious with fun facts. (Did you know that Caesar salad was originally created in Tijuana?) I’m also listening to the Women at Work podcast – which discusses female leadership across industries, and it has a nice person of color perspective for people like me. It inspires me to think, “I can do that some day!”’

What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?

“Civic Hall has been really great to meet new people. We’re all interested in pursuing work for the public good. I think that there would be a benefit to informally sitting down with members to chat about what everyone’s doing. Since I’m writing with Fortune on technology, I’m very interested in knowing what people are doing and what I should know.”