Interview with HOLA's Operations Director: Phillip Vega

             PhilLip Vega - Director of operations

             PhilLip Vega - Director of operations

Phillip graduated from the University of Colorado, Denver, with a BA in Economics and is now the Vice President/Manager for Del Nature/Natura HV Inc., which is a company that produces and sells health and beauty products.  Phillip joined HOLA merely three years ago but this is his second year as Director of Operations.  

How long have you been in HOLA? 

“I have been with HOLA for three years, but I’ve been observant of HOLA for at least five, so I’ve watched it grow before I was even in it.”

Why did you join HOLA?

"The first time I seriously considered joining HOLA, I had already been familiar with HOLA for 2 years through friends in the organization. They brought me to their fundraisers and social events and I became enticed by the idea of doing volunteer work on the side, having the opportunity to learn new skills and maybe even travel. Ultimately it was the communities and people that we serve abroad that really brought me in. Their generosity, trust, and willingness to face tremendous challenges is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.  I was proud to serve them, proud of what we had and could accomplish together. I knew then, that HOLA is where I had to be."

What do you do as Director of Operations while in Nicaragua?

“My job is to guide the logistics of the mission and keep up with the broad picture of what we do in our operations.  The other important part of my job is to be sort of an intermediary between a lot of our Nicaraguan counterparts. “

Can you give me a short summary about what exactly HOLA does in Nicaragua?

“I would say what we do is help facilitate good health care.  We also are working towards getting more of a collaboration between health groups in Nicaragua and health groups in the U.S., specifically Colorado.”

What changes are we making from last year?

“We have committees now among our general members, which is a big change from what we had before.  We are getting our general members more involved in all aspects of HOLA. 
There has also been a large expansion of public health in HOLA.  For example, A KAP Survey-which measures the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of a community- can serve as an educational diagnosis. An HOLA KAP Survey, like the one proposed by our excellent public health team this year, can show us the effects of various public health education programs on a given community and by extension give us the feedback we need in order to adapt and ensure we are providing the best possible services.
Basically, we’re identifying all of the right programs and solutions, and acting on them.  The little changes are just as important as the big changes.
We’re also returning to many communities that we haven’t been to in awhile, keeping those relationships alive and keeping continuity to the care we’re providing.”

What are you most excited about for this trip?

“I’m excited about working in new communities. Particularly Chichigalpa, where we will be starting the KAP survey.  I’m very excited because this can have very long-term effects. I think the work we are doing is starting to become part of a much larger picture; our program is much more stand-alone.
In terms of personal things, this is the first time I will be staying for a little over three weeks.  Whenever I get to stay longer, I am happy.”