Marion Sanchez, 41 years old, was born and raised in Perpignan. With her husband, she has lived in Paris, New-York, Washington DC and Dubai. Coming from Perpignan, Barcelona has always been in the back of their mind and the COVID crisis accelerated their move to the city, where they landed with their three kids at the beginning of the year. Marion has worked in public affairs (Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) for more than 15 years as a manager and advisor. She decided to gear her professional path towards the impact investing sector and, thanks to the networking effectiveness of Barcelona Global, quickly joined Ship2B Foundation.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
We chose Barcelona essentially for family reasons. After several years of moving abroad, we wanted to settle with our kids and give them stability at least until the end of high school. Coming from Perpignan with my husband, Barcelona was a city we had in mind as a good place to evolve as a family, as it provides both the amazing quality of life we enjoyed as kids while being an international city and an economic center.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
Beyond the quality of life linked with the location of Barcelona, I like the energy of the city. It’s vibrant both socially, culturally and professionally. The communities, both international and local, have also been very welcoming. I really appreciate this dynamism, multiculturality and easy access to people.
What aspects of the city must be improved?
I feel that the administrative processes are more burdensome than in other places, in particular the technical parts of it. Adding to the fact that the use of English is not widespread among public and private services, formalities can be really time and energy consuming. Also, but with more limited experience, the salaries don’t seem to fit the evolution of the cost of living.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
The situation of Barcelona (mountain, sea, sunlight) linked with a greater focus of people on their quality of life should have even more value with the COVID crisis. Also, the high-quality level of key infrastructures (health, transport, education) have and should continue to help the city weather the crisis.
What challenges do you think the city will face once the health emergency has subsided?
Once the health crisis will be curbed, the economic challenges, that are already there, should become more apparent, exacerbated inequalities being a worrying issue. A rapid public-private strategy to accelerate the transformation of Barcelona into a business and knowledge hub would help.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
I think that Barcelona could be a great sustainability leader. The situation of Barcelona makes it particularly vulnerable to climate change issues (rising waters, wildfire). That should increase the willingness of both public and private actors to be at the forefront of environment preservation and innovations.
Which city do you feel most at home in? What do you miss the most?
Difficult question. I have to admit that I have felt well in the US, both New-York and Washington, but when you look back it’s always easy to remember the good feelings. And I think that the things I liked in the US (energy and outdoors), I find them in Barcelona while being closer to my roots. So Barcelona looks like a good candidate!
Read the interview in El Periódico.
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