Patricia Llombart Cussac, Head of Delegation/EU Ambassador to Colombia
I am the Head of Delegation/EU Ambassador to Colombia. My role is to promote European values and interests in Colombia and to strengthen the relations between the European Union and Colombia.
Three things that I love in my job are, first of all, working with the government and the civil the civil society towards peace in Colombia through the implementation of the peace agreement signed with the former FARC guerrilla. We are helping the transition towards peace, and it's thrilling! Secondly, I love to bring the EU message of peace and solidarity to the very remote regions and to their warm and welcoming people. Third, I very much enjoy listening to Colombian’s women, because of their courage and their resilience. As they say here: mujeres berracas!
I am very proud of having contributed to get the voice and the action of the EU stronger in Colombia. The EU is a relevant partner for Colombia; Colombians listen to the EU Ambassador as a trusted and reliable partner, as a friend. I have played a role on that, together with the great team of the Delegation.
I believe it is my readiness to get out of my comfort zone. This has helped me to seize career opportunities and to develop new competences. I have done jobs I had never thought I would do – Director for security, infrastructures, IT and procurement in the EEAS. I have taken up challenges I had never done before – for example with social media like hosting a weekly Instagram LIVE!
Careers in the EU institutions are exciting, but also at times disappointing. You have to learn to manage setbacks. To fail and rise again. With a smile. You also need to learn to make your point, to get your voice heard, particularly important for women. And yes, as many other women with family – and fortunately now also more and more men – I have suffered from a culture of long working hours, late meetings or after-work socialisation around glasses of wine that helps build networks, but is often in competition with family time.
First, pursue your dream and belief in yourself. You can do it. Second, invest in yourself: see what the competences you have and the competences you need to develop further. Get a plan to acquire them. Third, get a mentor. For advice and support. Fourth: enjoy every step in the road.
WE must reach equal gender presence at all the hierarchical levels in our EU institutions. In Europe, we like to lead by example. So we need to walk the talk.
WE must put an end to the stereotypes. In Colombia, we have launched a very successful media campaign: the national school to un-learn machismo. We must turn machismo un-cool.
WE should never forget that gender equality is a duty for the world. The pandemic is strengthening structural gap in terms of gender violence, empowerment and equality. Our EU action in the next 10-15 years must support Generation Equality.