is the creator of WINN (Women in the News Network)a network of women journalists from Latin America, which has 3,500 members and promotes digital fluency, collective intelligence and collaboration. Gabriela Olivan she speaks in a very calm tone and has an easy smile, she assumes that she has always been determined, she differs from feminism and stresses the need to put the human being at the center of projects. She is a fellow of the Eisenhower Foundation and the London School of Economics, in 2021 she published “Comunicación 5.0. From technological impact to collaboration”, a free download book. Today she is part of the board of directors of three organizations: ICANA, the Christian Association of Business Leaders and the Political Action Network.
News: How do you define yourself?
Gabriela Olivan: It is a response in permanent evolution because one is always redefining oneself. But if I look back, I think I have always tried to build bridges. We live in a world where the consensus of reality is broken. In addition to working in the corporate field, I also worked in the social sector, due to this vision of bridging bridges between people, institutions, companies, and countries. I see it more and more necessary.
News: In a globalized and interconnected society, is there more noise and the impossibility of true communication?
Olivan: Yes, like there is the technical possibility of reaching any part of the world. When I interviewed Thomas Friedman for the book, he spoke of a super-empowered human being, because never before have people had the ability to communicate with thousands of other strangers. But that’s like a fallacy, actually, we are more and more isolated, more fragmented, in worlds that are more and more polarized and with less possibility of recognizing the other. This culture of cancellation is something that crosses us, from the most philosophical to the most pragmatic, this lack of time to sit down and talk for a while without paying attention to the cell phone, prevents the connection, which is why micro-worlds are generated.
News: Could we say that the algorithms lead us to an echo, confirming what we are thinking because they bring more of the same?
Olivan: Yes, it is a dangerous game. In the networks, there is a construction, one says the politically correct thing, which will generate more clicks. In this construction these microworlds are generated. And, furthermore, all these platforms are traversed and regulated by algorithms that respond to private, commercial and political interests. This has to do with this crisis that the industry is suffering, until now the crisis of the media, today the crisis of the platforms, those algorithms are perverse. It is what comes to challenge Elon Musk a bit, in some way he wants to fight this model, we will see how genuine that search is. Why is this vital? Because communication crosses us as subjects: we find ourselves on the networks, we project ourselves financially on the networks, we build identity and self-esteem, everything happens there. Hence the importance of building bridges. I work a lot on the subject of values, also because of my Christian perspective.
News: You have said that spirituality is taboo. Is it spirituality or religiousness that appears as taboo?
Olivan: Thanks for the correction, that’s a very good point. Yes, I think it’s actually very cool to talk about spirituality. Now, recognizing yourself as a person of faith is a taboo. It is something that is not talked about, it is associated with being somewhat ignorant, with believing in something you do not see, with the lower classes. In the corporate realm or in the ABC1 class, there’s a lot of that prejudice. Personally, I always had a very strong conviction and I was able to expose it publicly, but I realize that it is difficult to talk about these issues freely. And I believe that in this world that is so digital, so technological and productive in the sense of the use of time, so efficient, there is a need to reconnect from the most natural and profound.
News: I heard her clarify that she is not a feminist. Why did she choose to create an association of women journalists?
Olivan: I believe in complementarity, in everyone’s need.
News: Do you feel that feminism denies that principle?
Olivan: Yes, in a staunch sense yes. I think in some ways it’s against each other. I chose to work with women because I think they need more support. But to build any project we need everyoneIf not, we are canceling, locking ourselves back into the microworld where we think the same thing and have the same difficulties and problems.
She is the mother of Matías (16) and Isabella (14) and has been in a relationship for 23 years with César, whom she met at a camp for Christian professionals in Uruguay. By then, she was already working in a large company and she had clear goals for herself: she wanted to get married before she was 25 years old. “The balance between the personal and the professional is also a source of pride. When I look back and see that I developed evenly in everything, I think that’s the success, ”she says.
News: Is he who he wanted to be?
Olivan: I am what I could be with intentionality. I had the intention to become this, to learn from what was happening to me and to build for the common good. It seems to me that one is doing things well and life is surprising you. I don’t know if I made it, but I am convinced that I have given the best of myself, and that also has costs.
News: Which was the strongest?
Olivan: I had to learn to recognize the other, that they have other times, that perhaps they don’t experience things with the same intensity, understand their circumstances, empathy.
News: His sister María Julia once said: “It’s a bit of an apparatus but it’s one of those who get down and go to the bus stop, without looking for shortcuts.” Is it recognized?
Olivan: That’s her look (laughs). She calls me “apparatus” because I have other ways, other more institutional processes. When I worked in Oil with the Bulgheroni, she worked with Lanata. We grew up in the southern zone, in a family with a very strong culture of work, improvement, and effort. That is our DNA.