Ronny Cabrera is the Chair of Young Professionals Affinity Group at Region 9 – Ecuador Section. He has recently received the 2020 MGA Young Professionals Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the IEEE mission through activities and programs for the benefit of Young Professionals in Ecuador and Latin America. He is also serving as the Events Committee Member at IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee and Awards & Recognition Committee Chair, IEEE Ecuador Section. Let’s learn about his wonderful experience in IEEE.
What’s your technical area/professional background?
I am an Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer; however, I have formed my professional career in project management. For example, I now work for a Toyota dealership carrying out continuous improvement projects, an area in which I have not only been able to acquire technical knowledge but have been able to establish a life philosophy of continuous improvement.
How and when did you start volunteering for IEEE?
My volunteer history begins at the University, being part of the IEEE UTPL Student Branch since 2010. I was able to get involved to volunteer for an event organized by the Student Branch: The Telecommunications Systems Conference, where I was able to collaborate in the logistics of the event. At the IEEE UTPL Student Branch, I had the opportunity to collaborate as Chair and WiE Coordinator.
Were you an IEEE member before you started volunteering?
Yes, I was an IEEE member for a few months before getting involved as a volunteer. In fact, one of the reasons why I decided to continue belonging to IEEE was to have the opportunity to volunteer while increasing my contact networks with other students and professionals.
What have you done as an IEEE volunteer that you’re most proud of?
I am very proud to have successfully implemented at least 12 technology projects for the benefit of communities. But the projects I am most proud of are those related to recreational science workshops aimed at children from vulnerable communities, throughout my volunteering we have trained more than 500 children in STEM areas. It is interesting that the children we trained are now engineering students and or already graduated.
What advice would you give to new volunteers?
My advice is that don’t stop getting involved in the volunteer activities that we have at IEEE while accepting the challenges that arise from volunteering as a student and professional. We can see volunteering as an investment of time for the development of our skills and competencies, as a great opportunity to gain experience, which is something highly valued when obtaining a job or applying to a higher study program.
How would you describe IEEE in 3 words??
Knowledge | Development | Networking
What impact have IEEE and volunteering had on your career?
I think the impact of IEEE volunteering on my career has been significant. I have managed to develop skills that are only possible through experiences in activities, programs, and projects that I have been able to carry out at IEEE, for example: leadership, teamwork, communication, and many more. These types of skills are highly valuable for employers while selecting and qualifying an employee.
I trust my experience of technical knowledge and skills that in this time of unemployment I will get a job before my colleagues.
Do you have a favorite IEEE story?
My friends told me to write a book about your stories in IEEE! There are many stories, but I will share two favorite stories of my life as a volunteer.
The first is about a land trip that I made from Ecuador to Argentina to attend the Regional Meeting of Student Branches in 2012. We missed the flight and then we decided to travel by bus which was the cheapest option for us to attend the meeting; it was 5 days to Argentina and 5 days to return by bus. Although it was very hard to travel in this way, it was an incredible experience to travel through Peru, Chile and reach San Juan in Argentina, after crossing the Andes mountain range.
The second story was from April 2016 in Ecuador when an earthquake incident happened in a workshop in Manta, the epicenter of the earthquake. We managed to get out of the building, but we had to stay in Manta for one day because the roads were destroyed, and we were not able to go to our home cities. I give more value to this experience and thanks to the teamwork that none of us had any injury, we managed a camp with the local community where they were located.
What is your life philosophy?
My philosophy in life is to become a great person and achieve professional goals. I really enjoy being an engineer and serving my community while trying to improve every day.
What do you think the future of volunteering looks like?
I think that volunteering in the future will have a greater impact on the lives of professionals and the organizations to which they belong, professionals increasingly develop greater empathy for communities that need them. Another important factor for the development of volunteering in the future is that we have technological tools that facilitate the performance of our activities in different communities, allowing online volunteering.
Given the current circumstances of the pandemic by COVID-19, I think that online volunteering will position itself in many organizations. It is a great solution that allows you to break down time and travel barriers between volunteers and their activities.
IEEE-wise, what are your goals for the future?
My main objective is to continue contributing to society through the opportunities and benefits that IEEE has. No doubt I will continue to be a member and an active volunteer, this will allow me to continue growing personally and professionally, but it will also allow me to inspire other engineers to make a difference in our society.
Career-wise, what are your goals for the future?
My professional goal for the future is to establish at least one technology company that will inspire more children in different career opportunities, mainly in STEM areas. I have other goals related to my professional development through the continuity of my studies, certifications, etc.
Which life achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud to have successfully completed at least 12 social projects in recent years. Part of this achievement is due to IEEE since they have been implemented and thanks for its funding, the support of its members and volunteers, and thanks to the communities for their involvement. Accomplishing these projects allows me to put my knowledge into practice and promote the advancement of science and technology for the benefit of humanity.
Connect with Ronny: LinkedIn | Email