Staff Spotlight: Cynthia Arochi Zendejas

Costa Rica Country Director
Cynthia is a qualified Veterinarian and holds a Masters in International Environmental Science. She has been involved with Environmental conservation & education, team-building, languages and teaching fields all her life.

woman smiling on beach

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I first travelled abroad as fille au pair to France, I was so excited! I studied French and had always dreamt about Paris so it was a great opportunity for me! When I arrived everything was new to me, the culture, the languages, the food, the landscape, everything. The first days were hard, I felt homesick, I wanted to go back home but decided not to, and I am glad I didn’t as it was one of the best experiences in my life. I improved my French, I learnt to sky in snow, I learnt to drive in roads with frozen water, I visited so many cities and made long-life friendships and gained a second family, with whom I am still in touch.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that there is not only one factor that would make a company successful, I believe it is a mix of different qualities. If the company has a good product, knows the clients, caters for them and knows its needs, they can offer a product that people will want and need. This, together with a good vision, consistency, transparency, and having the employees happy with what they do, will also bring success to the company as they would be the best sellers and motivators. Finally, offering something that no one in the market can, and if the prices are kept within a reasonable range will finally add in the formula for success. If the market or the needs changes is always important to be flexible and ready to move with it and to redefine the strategy.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have grown a lot as a person and as a professional. I have learnt how to manage people, how to produce a conservation or community development project right from the beginning and how to keep it moving and making an impact. I improved my motivational skills, and how to keep partner relationships. I have also improved my creativity, organizational skills and my problem solving skills. I have developed my sensory skills as I can now say I can know how someone will be by just talking 5 minutes with the person. I have learnt that nothing is so bad as it looks like and that there is always a solution.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

It is a company out of the conventional, it really focus on people and wants to really make an impact, it is like a family. Is always wanting to improve and is wise enough to know how and when to move with people's needs (market) to keep itself alive. Is is hard to find companies that focus in the partners' needs and GVI does it, sometimes it is hard for some people to understand as sometimes it takes a long time to see the results. Thanks to the volunteers we can make long term programmes and contribute to Worldwide objectives.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team

Many moments, but the most significant ones have been whenever there have been a natural disaster GVI staff, volunteers and resources have always been there to help. For instance it happened twice in Mexico, while I was still living there that 2 hurricanes hit the Yucatan coast and destroyed it very badly. GVI was there to help cleaning, rebuilding and gather food and clothes. I felt so proud. It happen the same with Nepal earthquake and a few other natural disasters. Another great moment has been when we organize fund raising challenges to help our local partners, so we have participated in different sports and is so great to feel the vibe of all the team and finishing those challenges had been so rewarding.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

This is a Swedish doctor that every year goes to the dive expedition in Mexico to spend her holidays and help monitoring the reef. She is so nice and enjoys the beach and diving, as it is so different to her stressful life as a surgeon. Also, here in Costa Rica I have seen a few examples of people that are now working for us, that are so passionate and started as a volunteer as it marked so much their lifes that now want to make a different and motivate others as they were motivated.