Most young people in Mexico who have the opportunity to study, comply with the social expectations from their family. They pursue classic university programmes such as law, science and medicine. Studying art is out of the question, and only a few dares to defy their families wishes. Every day Professor Judith Cortés-Vásquez meets these students at her department of communication at the university Tecnológico de Monterrey in Querétaro, Mexico. She comes into contact with many young artists who have chosen to study communication since this is as close as they can get to a creative field and practice.
In Mexico, there are not enough public universities to enroll the number of potential students, and private schools are too expensive for the majority of the population. As a result, only three out of 10 young people between the ages of 18 and 22 have the opportunity to attend a university or institution of higher education, according to Professor Judith Cortés-Vásquez.
I have been a teacher for 25 years. I dream about creating an opportunity in which academic studies will be a source not only of knowledge and academic titles, but also for growth and a true developmental journey for the young person.
– I have been a teacher for 25 years. I dream about creating an opportunity in which academic studies will be a source not only of knowledge and academic titles, but also for growth and a true developmental journey for the young person, says professor Judith Cortés-Vásquez.
Professor Cortés-Vásquez’s curiosity, ambition and creativity have taken her to Europe to explore and learn more about successful approaches to support the cultural and creative industries. In Sweden she was introduced to The Creative Plot & Future by Lund, which is an innovation platform in the city of Lund. She became so intrigued by their methodology that she decided to stay in Lund for six months to study and learn how to best support start-ups and entrepreneurs back in Mexico. Together with Katarina Scott and Lasse Mattisson at The Creative Plot, she designed a training programme for her students at Tec de Monterrey, as the university is commonly known. The training programme was highly impactful and appreciated. One key to the success of the programme was the Point of Value methodology. Students got insights about their personal values and could then more easily express what mattered to them. They also better understood their team members and formed team values and priorities together.
This experience prompted Judith Cortés-Vásquez to learn more about values. Together with her former student, Diego Reyes, and two other colleagues, Dr Agustín Rosa Marín, director of the marketing programme at the Tec de Monterrey and Mayra R. Zamorán Tapia, consultant and teacher, they decided to become the first Value Facilitators using the Point of Value system and methodology in Latin America.
Diego Reyes is a young man who had the good fortune to be encouraged by his parents to study what interested him the most: communication. He is aware that growing up in an open-minded and encouraging family environment gives him an advantage in comparison with his peers. But it also gives him a drive and a conviction to make this possible for other young people. He is starting his career as a freelance consultant specializing in organizational development and internal communication. As a consultant he notices that the traditional structures of the university are also very common in Mexican company culture.
– In many companies there is a hierarchical management structure where only numbers count. As an individual you must become a manager during your career, otherwise you are a failure, Diego Reyes says.
This generation has started to challenge the norms. If they are not happy in the work place, they leave.
But Diego Reyes has noted a change emerging. Company leaders are beginning to ask themselves how to attract and retain millennials in the workforce. How can they create an atmosphere and work environment for a new generation that is not motivated exclusively by positions and salaries? This generation has started to challenge the norms. If they are not happy in the work place, they leave. They will not wait 10 years before they get high enough in the food chain to be treated with respect.
These signs of change in young people in Mexico encourage Diego Reyes and Judith Cortés-Vásquez. They are dedicating themselves to support and encourage personal development and growth for undergraduates. Professor Cortés-Vásquez’s mission is to support her students in appreciating who they are through values, and linking this to their educational ambitions. She is convinced that this fundamental approach and mindset will carry her students a long way into their professional life: – For me, using values in education is magic.
Judith Cortés-Vásquez, Diego Reyes, Agustín Rosa Marín and Mayra R. Zamorán Tapia are the first Certified Value Facilitators in Latin America.