Pre-departure excitement: Portrait of Vincent Castonguay

September 3, 2019

Our colleague Vincent Castonguay is preparing to leave for a 22-month engagement in Colombia as a financing advisor to entrepreneurs. As he gears up for the big departure, Vincent explains what this project means to him, and how he is preparing to tackle this major professional and personal challenge.

Vincent’s first experience with DID was an international internship while he was completing his master’s degree in finance. That six-month internship in Peru confirmed his interest in an international assignment and DID’s mission.

In November 2017, Vincent returned to the DID team as an investment advisor. “I decided that if the opportunity came along for a field assignment where I could leverage my expertise, I’d be open to that option.”

The opportunity arose as part of the Graduar PYMES project in Colombia. “The nature of this project, and the idea of assisting Colombian SMEs, supporting local financial institutions, transferring expertise and driving economic and social development: all of that is very exciting.” Vincent also sees his business advisory role as an opportunity to use his skills in a new environment.

That being said, this new engagement does come with its share of challenges. On a professional level, Vincent needs to learn all about Graduar PYMES, a rapidly evolving, large‑scale project involving a number of partners that are new to DID. He will also have to ensure that the files related to the position he is leaving are completed prior to his departure in order to maintain the business relationships with the partners concerned. On a personal level, Vincent stresses the need to rebuild a network, adapt to a new culture, find his bearings and create balance.

Vincent is convinced he will have a positive experience. “It’s a very exciting project. It will give me an opportunity to develop new expertise, have a wide range of new experiences and learn about new methodologies. I have no doubt I’ll return with a broader skill set for future projects.”

“This will be my first long-term assignment experience, but I don’t think it will be my last!” said Vincent.

To learn more about the Graduar PYMES project.