Landing in Panama: Daniel’s journey at the World Bank Group

March 21, 2022

By Monica de Leon, Nicole Yip, Tiyani Majoko and Angela Njeri Mureithi

Daniel Álvaro Diez recently joined the Stop-Winlock as an Operations Analyst, after 4 years working at the World Bank as an Energy Consultant. He is currently based in Panama with the Central American regional team and shares his experience transitioning between regions and roles.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Before joining the World Bank Group (WBG), I worked as an energy consultant at Deloitte in Madrid, where I focused on the renewable sector. After working for the Spanish government, I moved to Tel Aviv to continue my career as an investment and trade analyst in Israel and Palestine, which allowed me to learn about the advances of the Israeli technology sector in contrast with the development challenges in the West Bank and Gaza. This experience inspired me to focus on a career with global impact and to work for a development bank.

I started my career at the World Bank as an energy consultant-based in DC. I had the opportunity to work with great professionals in various sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable energy integration, and the electrification of transport around the world. After 4 years, the opportunity arose to join IFC in the Panama office and, although we were in the middle of the pandemic, I didn’t hesitate to leap.

I also currently serve as the Secretariat and Chair of the Steering Committee for Y2Y, along with my colleague Jose Alberto Aguilar.

Daniel Álvaro Diez, Operations Analyst, IFC's Panama office.
Daniel Álvaro Diez, Operations Analyst, Panama office. Photo courtesy: Daniel Álvaro Diez

Why did you make the move from the World Bank to IFC?

After working with the World Bank with a specific focus on energy, I wanted to expand my experience to the private sector. When I saw the position at the IFC, I leveraged my strength as a native Spanish speaker and the regional knowledge that I gained from supporting the Central America region while in the World Bank. As an energy specialist, I also knew how important the green economy is for developing economies in the region and IFC support for private sector initiatives in climate change can make a difference.

You’ve made lateral moves across the WBG and regions. In your opinion, how important is it to career growth, especially for junior staff?

In the current context of more staff being transferred to the field, I think that being able to move to different regions and across the WBG is a big value-add and gives me a unique set of experiences that can be transferred to other areas. Personally, moving to a country office was on my wish list to build more empathy for clients by understanding their challenges and providing them with optimized solutions.

How did you experience the job change and do you have advice for others in the same position?

It is difficult to transition from one region to another, especially in the middle of all the fear and uncertainty generated by the pandemic. I would advise those in this situation to maintain a forward-facing vision and to try to enjoy the process as much as possible, despite the chaos.

How do you like living in Panama?

When I got out of Panama’s Tocumen International Airport, I thought to myself "it is so hot here” ― (daily temperatures are at 30 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity). That night, I marveled over Panama's skyline and reflected on the country's impressive potential. I love traveling around the country and discovering the natural paradises that are managed by indigenous communities. I enjoy playing sports and strolling through the Old Town and the Coastal Walkway. As an amateur chef, I love trying the local food–which has significant Asian influences, such as the Chinese breakfast.

Daniel's favorite local food.
Daniel's favorite local food.
Photo courtesy: Daniel Álvaro Diez

What goals do you have within IFC and the World Bank Group?

I would like to continue growing and learning every day from my team and help to further grow our program in Central America. In terms of my career, I want to become an Investment Officer at IFC. In the long term, I would like to start my own business because the many skills I gained here can translate into entrepreneurship.

Published in March 2022