On Bravery, Compassion and Kindness

Couch Chat with Valentina Velandia

Affiliation Valentina Velandia is a gender policy analyst and a proud co-founder of Capacity, a startup incubator for persons with refugee and migrant background. She is fan No.1 and friend of the founders of WeSpace.

About Valentina I’m originally from Colombia, and I was born in the middle of the jungle. My mom gave birth to me when she was going back to Bogotá from her work in the jungle, where she was trying to preserve native languages of different tribes in the country. I was born premature and, literally, on the go, and on a small canoe. She gave me the name Valentina, which means “brave”. With this, she wanted to set my life for bravery. With 16 years, I moved to the US to do my Bachelor in Communication Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. Later, I worked for the UN Women Singapore Committee on mandates that I carry close to my heart, such as human trafficking and domestic violence. From there, I moved to Geneva and worked on the Global Convention that seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. Later, I moved to Zurich and did consultancy on Global Gender Equality in the workplace and with a bit of a 'Gender burnout,' I luckily met my awesome colleagues from Capacity, the startup incubator that brought me here today.

What would you tell your 10 year old self? That everything was going to be ok and that I will get all the opportunities that I wish to have, due to the kindness of the strangers, who will support my journey.

What does the world need?

The world needs more kindness and compassion when it comes to looking at the global challenges that may not be directly related to you, or in your frame of reference. It can be anything from the environment to migration. People should look at others as being more similar, rather than different. What inspires you? People who are resilient. Where is your favorite place?

Wherever my mom is.

What is your favorite song?

A Change Is Gonna Come – Leela James

Thank you for the interview, Valentina!

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