Q&A with Noy Villalobos, Vice President of Operations
By Michael J. Zamba
October 29, 2021
Noy Villalobos was tapped to be Vice President of Operations at Creative after more than four successful years as the organization’s Senior Director of Field Administration. In addition, Villalobos has been active in Creative’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and its Women’s Leadership Program. The following are excerpts of a question-and-answer session with her.
Question: You have worked in headquarters and in the field. What keeps you at Creative?
Villalobos: I’ve been at Creative for almost 19 years and I am proud to be part of the team. I believe in our mission. I believe that we can make an impact on people’s lives.
I believe that part of the reason why I’ve stayed so long is because I love the people that I work with every day. We have colleagues across the organization who are passionate, and they share in the same mission and vision that I do. I especially love my operations team. They’re committed professionals who give more of themselves than they receive on a daily basis.
I’ve had many fantastic opportunities at Creative that I probably would not have had had I considered leaving. I’ve been very fortunate to forge a path for myself at Creative by having the right types of mentors, finding those opportunities for myself and taking some risk.
Question: During your 19 years at Creative, as well as your prior work with other implementers, what has been your most rewarding experience?
Villalobos: Really the most rewarding field experience for me was my work in Honduras. I loved being there. It’s such a gorgeous country and the people are fabulous. Creative entrusted me with the responsibility of trying to reduce homicide and change the perceptions of people with respect to violence. And it’s a huge task. I was so proud to be part of the program and to create a partnership with our client, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives. The proudest moment for me was finding the right team, identifying the right people that were going to be implementing the work. We were successful, not because of anything I did, but because of everything they did to reduce violence. So I think we left a little drop of good in Honduras, and it was good for our soul.
Question: As the new Vice President of Operations, how do you see the division’s role in the company?
Villalobos: Simply put, well-run operations form the backbone of any successful program. My vision for operations is that, through a strong partnership with the program teams, our operations should be nimble, flexible and responsive to field context and needs.
Question: The development landscape is shifting and placing new demands on implementers. How do you see the situation?
Villalobos: The development landscape is changing. We’re constantly facing new challenges, from global climate change to democratic backsliding. As global implementers, we must be prepared. We have to anticipate what’s coming next. To do so, we should get out of our comfort zones, re-evaluate the tools in our toolboxes and even create new and innovative tools when needed. Because the challenges will continue to come – and we have to be prepared to address them.