For empowering Latin America’s youth to upskill, reskill—and build a better world
“If we all share a purpose to genuinely create a better society, we can change the world,” says Cristhian Ortiz.
For him, that change happens through learning.
“I firmly believe that many global problems can be solved with more inclusive access to quality education,” he says. “Since I was 7 years old, education has been a catalyst in my life, from learning in schools with fervor, taking on opportunities to study abroad and now leading a company that offers free education.”
That company is Learn and Share English, a virtual English-language skills program for kids and teens in Perú and the rest of Latin America. And his vision for it relies on an innovative flipped classroom: Students learn the material on their own first through the program’s YouTube and Google Classroom. And then they gather in virtual classes run by more than 200 volunteer professionals for some IRL practice in using the new words and expressions. With more than 3,000 students engaged across 16 countries, Ortiz’s program is opening doors to professional opportunities afforded by English language skills for a new generation of people in Latin America.
That motivation to uplift others extends to Ortiz’s work as a senior consultant specializing in human capital at Deloitte Perú. “My job offers a world of possibilities to add value to the ‘human factor’ through the continuous development of employees’ skills and strengths in various organizations at all levels,” he says.
His projects also reinforce teamwork, a value Ortiz has honed since he took up chess as a 10-year-old—and eventually competed as a top junior player. “Each piece on the board has a value,” he explains. “However, it cannot achieve victory alone.”
Q&A: Cristhian Ortiz Elizarbe on upskilling and reskilling, virtual work and The Queen’s Gambit
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
My favorite aspect of my job at Deloitte Perú is contributing to human capital projects that lead to positive impacts—on the organization, collaborators and community. Having the opportunity to massively impact people through the activities you carry out is inspiring and profound.
What’s the biggest challenge facing young project leaders right now?
The challenge for young project leaders is the acquisition of new skills in a market where change is constant. We need to constantly upskill and reskill what we can offer, while identifying areas to delve deeper into.
How did the pandemic change the way you manage projects?
The pandemic has created lots of challenges in the area of people management. To respond, there have been more mindful practices to increase the visibility of our team members and each of our contributions. My project teams have spent more time collaborating in real time, but our virtual meetings have specific purposes. By avoiding unnecessary meetings, we encourage work-life balance, as the separation of personal life from work may have been blurred while working from home. Compared to pre-COVID, I also now take more time to show appreciation for each person’s contribution and celebrate achievements.
What’s one way managing projects will change over the next decade?
Virtual work is here to stay, and we need to install an organizational structure to formalize remote management. We need to develop a new set of management behaviors to guide the teams to work virtually, with more emphasis placed on setting and achieving goals.
What book, podcast, website, social media feed or movie are you obsessed with recommending right now?
As an avid chess player, The Queen’s Gambit was a miniseries I enjoyed a lot! The show demonstrated the thought processes of chess players during the games with such accuracy.