Authored by: Julie Hentz

Please meet Nathaly Aya Pastrana, a 4+ year volunteer for the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA), from Cali, Colombia. Over the years, she has served as editor for the bi-monthly iSMA newsletter, gathering and creating valuable content for our member base, and providing ideas and direction for all other content channels. Nathaly is a valued member of our Communication Team and through her work to organize the Latin American Social Marketing Association and her broad scope of interest in Central and South America, she ensures that the region’s social marketing activities and needs are represented in the iSMA conversation.

Although Nathaly’s developing years in Colombia, Buenaventura and later Cali, were a paradise of beautiful sounds, tastes, and experiences, she also witnessed extreme economic injustice that made a profound impact on her conscience, which proved a powerful motivator to identify tools through which she could work to improve the lot of those in her country and elsewhere. Of her experience in Buenaventura, Nathaly says, “the local context was so tough that it marked my soul. This and other socio-political situations that have impacted my family history are the main motivators to work for the development of my country and to help other people/settings with similar situations, improve their conditions.”

In her undergraduate work in Business, Nathaly discovered the power of marketing and the concept of harnessing that power for social change objectives. “I believe in the power of marketing to generate change and I know there are many people who still do not know social marketing exists.” Nathaly is currently completing her work for a PhD at Universita della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. Her research focuses in the use of social marketing, having intersectional gender as a crosscutting theme to inform the development of the Community Health System Innovation (COHESION) Project interventions (which intends to strengthen health systems in Mozambique, Nepal, and Peru using non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as tracer conditions). Other studies include an analysis of the communication channels used in rural communities of northern Peru to receive health information, and a content analysis of communication material at PHC level in those communities to assess how they integrate gender elements.

Nathaly has traveled extensively for her work to the countries involved in the COHESION Project and beyond. She was honored with the recognition of best PhD paper at the World Social Marketing Conference in 2017, and received the international ABERJE award for best paper on South American public relations and corporate communications at the 17th International Public Relations Research Conference in 2014. Nathaly was also featured in a review by Javeriana University as outstanding alumni. Her work has also been highlighted by Colombian national media as in 2017, when the radio network RCN interviewed her on the program “Perfiles RCN” (RCN Profiles) that recognizes Colombians abroad.

After completion of her PhD, Nathaly has targeted international development, particularly in rural populations in low and middle income countries to work to generate opportunities in socio-economic development and health. She is also interested in using her experience and knowledge base in the areas of education, health, gender equality, and transition to peace in post-conflict environments.

Nathaly is just beginning to make her mark on the world, using her social marketing expertise to positively impact the lives of so many people. For now, we are thankful to call her our team member and friend.