I traveled this weekend to Cartagena, Colombia, to attend the 25th edition of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council CEO Retreat. Colombia’s reputation around the world is in need of repair. Friends and family always tend to react wearily when you tell them you are paying a visit, referring back to the days of drug violence in places with notorious names, like Medellin and Cali. The truth is both towns, as much of the rest of the country, is peaceful and growing rapidly.
The truth is also that Colombia, with its burgeoning population of 50 million people, several years of healthy GDP growth, low inflation, and stable government, is now Latin America’s third largest economy, surpassing Argentina. Wedged between the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and the Amazon, the country’s terrain is beautiful and varied, and it boasts an abundance of natural resources. This place has every opportunity to do well in the years ahead, and deserves to be better known.
And, its powerful story of resurgence and reinvention provides the perfect backdrop for our discussions over the next few days on the theme of leadership in the midst of disruptive change.