Today’s guest is one of the strongest and most positive people you will ever meet. Ana Paula Ruiz
Today’s guest studied Political Science, Languages and International Relations in Colombia. She began working with companies that helped people fulfill their dream of studying and living abroad. This is how she ended up immigrating with her husband to Australia where she has worked for Universities and Non-Profit Organisations. All of this has been achieved despite a very difficult personal story. Today’s guest is Ana Paula Ruiz.
Ana Paula and her husband arrived in Australia in 2003, ready to work and start their new life together. But this story was not so easy and it would not be possible without the support of countless good people who crossed their path.
This is a story of strength and positivism in times of adversity. When Ana Paula arrived in Australia, she started working at Macquarie University. She was in charge of the team that produced the international and also helping students from the Latin America region fulfil their dream of doing their careers and postgraduate studies in Australia.
However, her dream was to work on international development projects that would have a positive impact on developing communities. So she started working in the ‘Global Innovations Group’ that incubated innovative programs in the Australian university sector. With the leadership, vision and support of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, she created the pilot of an international volunteer program with a small team and budget. Today (10 years later), this program is one of the flagship programs of the university thanks to a team of people who support this vision. She then worked at a non-profit organization (NGO) that supports vulnerable elderly people, where she was in charge of the volunteer program which had more than 300 volunteers. Finally, in recent years, Ana Paula has managed a program of the University of Technology of Sydney (UTS) that promotes the mobility of academics and international collaboration in different areas of research.
But the story is not that easy. During that stage of her professional life, when she was fulfilled professionally, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease in the lungs, began the process of adopting a child in Colombia, had to overcome thyroid cancer and finally was able to get a lungs transplant.
In this interview Ana tells us her story, the strategies that helped her manage and deal with her condition. She teaches us how to acquire mental strength; and emphasizes the importance of the support and affection of family, friends and doctors; without which, without them, she would not be sharing her story with us today.
For her, this trajectory of strength and positivism has been a collective achievement. The source of her motivation and inner strength to overcome the obstacles and fulfil the dreams however difficult they were, has been the love, dedication and generosity that she has received from her mother (Martha), husband (Ricardo), son (Emilio), doctors, friends and family.