In the following interview, the Associate Dean of the Department of Business Administration at Universidad del Pacífico comments on her beginnings, professional career and her research and teaching work, focused on issues of social responsibility, corporate sustainability, inclusive business and social entrepreneurship.
ALUMNI UP (AUP): What motivated you to become an administrator?
MARIA ANGELA PRIALÉ (MAP): I was clear that I wanted to study a program that would allow me to be in contact with people, to give them the opportunity to grow. I remember I wanted to be a missionary or a police officer when I was a child. But in addition to that early call to serve was my background; my father was an entrepreneur and that allowed me to see firsthand the impact that a well-run business can have. It was clear then that I would study Business Administration.
AUP: What did you do when you finished your studies?
MAP: My goal was to work in the Human Resources area, in fact, I started working at Deloitte & Touche in HR consulting. But when I finished university I went to the US to study English for a few months and upon my return, Sergio Llusera, professor at UP at the time, offered me a job in the school. I thought it would be something temporary, but through teaching and research I found the opportunity to do what fulfilled me, to serve, because I feel that this is basically the task of a professor, and to have an impact on others with ideas and projects.
AUP: Which UP professors do you remember?
MAP: I was fortunate to have many inspiring professors and courses. For example, Father López-Dóriga was my philosophy professor. His mental agility kept me hooked and pushed me to strive to articulate meaningful ideas, I learned to discover fallacies with him. Another professor I remember fondly, as I later had the privilege of having him as a colleague, is Percy Cayo. I remember once I was looking for him and when I entered his office I saw that he had a map of Peru hanging on the wall upside down. Obviously, the question that came out of my mouth was why? He told me he would keep the map upside down until Peru straightened out. That answer was a trigger for me, which in my professional life would take me to corners of the country such as Cotahuasi, Nor Yauyos, Lircay, among others, to get to know their reality without the tourist's filter.
AUP: You have more than five years of international experience in social projects related to diversity management in companies. Why are they important for corporate sustainability, social responsibility, inclusive business and diversity?
MAP: I believe that at a global level we have reached a point where it is inevitable to include sustainability concerns in the agenda; it is a matter of survival. We must build a society and a system that allows everyone to meet basic social needs: water, food, energy and housing, within ecological limits. In this context, companies should ask themselves, ''How many types of value can I integrate into the design of my company to ensure the return of value to society and the environment?” Or "Why work only to reduce my negative impact on the environment, if the same effort can generate a positive impact?" But asking the question is not enough; the next step is to implement concrete actions aimed at achieving these objectives, and this is where both inclusive business and diversity management gain importance.
AUP: Are Peruvian companies on the right track, or do they still have a long way to go?
MAP: I think it is difficult to generalize and talk about Peruvian companies, because our business network is very diverse. Yes, there are companies that today have a much more integrated view of sustainability, but there are also a huge number that do not even comply with the norms. I am one of those people who prefer to see the glass half full and not half empty. And that is why, although we still have a long way to go, we should start by getting down to work.