Marco Mollinedo is the General Manager of Pro Mujer in Argentina. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, he received a Bachelor’s degree from Universidad Real and a Masters in Development Sciences from Universidad Mayor de San Andres. He is married to Gabriela Salazar and they have two children, Madeline and Marco Andres, and two dogs, Boomer and Peluza.
1. Tell us a little bit about your professional background.
I am a visionary person, and I believe that I have the ability to organize dynamic teams that can adjust to changing environments. I have been working in microfinance for more than 18 years; I’ve worked in urban and rural settings, with individual and group methodologies, and have supported institutions in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Argentina.
2. What inspired you to join Pro Mujer?
In 2001, while working for Catholic Relief Services, I evaluated a project run by Pro Mujer and Gems of Hope. This was one of the first times that I completed a comprehensive evaluation (covering finance and impact), and I was so impressed by the degree to which the women were changing their lives that I told myself, “One day I’ll work at Pro Mujer.”
A microentrepreneur from Argentina, with her son and daughter
3. Do you think that women’s empowerment is only the responsibility of women?
In the age that we live in, I believe that empowerment is everyone’s job. First, it is partly women’s responsibility, because they are the ones who must believe in themselves, recognize their potential and encourage themselves to take the first step. Men have to cast aside misogynistic attitudes, and children must help by assuming more of the household responsibilities. Finally, everyone must understand that even in this day and age, we live in a male-dominated society, where we prioritize the interests of men instead of ensuring equal treatment for men and women in the workplace, salary-wise and in terms of recognizing talent.
4. Why do you think the work that we do is important?
We work in three key areas to help our clients develop. I believe that as an alternative to formal education, training helps to awaken clients’ interest to better themselves improve their quality of life. As we well know, access to health services helps our clients to have “healthy businesses”; in other words, if I feel well, I can work well, too. And finally, access to credit helps clients earn income that they can reinvest in the household and their business – this is the first step that a woman takes toward becoming economically independent.
5. What about Pro Mujer in Argentina inspires you the most? And what does the future hold?
This is my second time working in Argentina. It is a wonderful country with many macro economic challenges, but also a lot of potential. In the short term, our focus is to maintain our portfolio and client base while strengthening our processes and customer service.
I would like to conclude this interview by emphasizing that what we are doing at Pro Mujer provides women entrepreneurs with opportunities to improve their quality of life. The support that you provide, whether as a donor or a staff member, goes so far beyond making a material difference – you are helping to change lives. Thank you!